Jerry Myers, Volunteer’s first-year coach, is looking for a different outcome tonight in the Volunteer Classic semifinals.
His Lady Falcons were impressive Thursday night, pulling out of a halftime tie to defeat Gate City 61-39.
Elizabethton beat Sullivan South 47-33 as 6-foot-3 Mariah Pietrowski barely missed a shot with a 23-point performance.
Asked what it would take to limit Pietrowski’s scoring, Myers shrugged his shoulders and replied: “I wish I knew.’’
However, he did point out that Laiken Gilliam did a commendable job guarding her in the November matchup.
Myers explained there was no magic in his halftime chat with the Lady Falcons.
“We just got more aggressive and attacked the basket,’’ he said. “We hit the offensive board and that got us to the foul line. We only shot two free throws in the first half.
“I don’t think we could play any worse than we did in the opening half or any better than we did in the second. We’ve played in spurts all year. We’re shooting better now.’’
Gilliam led the Volunteer scoring with 13 points and Mykala Porter added 11.
“A lot of other people contributed,’’ Myers said.
Kelly Houseright, the Gate City coach, was encouraged by her team’s first-half effort.
“That’s the best we’ve played all year, but we’ve got to play all four quarters,’’ she said.
Houseright attributed turnovers to the Lady Devils’ demise after the break.
“We had seven in the first half and 17 in the second,” the Gate City coach noted. “We stopped attacking the basket and they started doing to us what we’d been doing to them. We let Volunteer have too many second chances.’’
Tia Vermillion led Gate City with 17 points.
Pietrowski, who has had five double-doubles in the last six games, hit 10 of 13 field goal attempts and pulled down seven rebounds against the Lady Rebels. Kristin Powell dished out eight assists.
South could do little to stop her moves around the baseline.
“She’s one of the premier post players around,’’ Elizabethton coach Len Dugger said. “Mariah has improved her game on both ends of the floor. She can move out and shoot from 16-18 feet.’’
Makensey Campbell managed 10 points but South never got untracked.
“I was real concerned after South beat Central,’’ Dugger said. “They are big and have a good shooting ballclub.’’
Josh Tate, South’s coach, felt his team shot too poorly.
“We could never get any kind of momentum,” Tate said. “Against a team with a dominant post player you have to hit outside shots. We missed a lot. They started putting the ball inside and we had no answer. There’s no shame in losing to a good team but we want to play better than that.’’
Morristown East faces Johnson County at 7 p.m. in the first semifinal. Volunteer will take on Elizabethton in the 8:30 feature.
It will be Crockett vs. Boone at 4 p.m. and South vs. Gate City at 5:30 in consolation bracket action.