Sullivan Central beats Science Hill 56-46 to capture district crown

Dave Ongie • Feb 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — With Sullivan Central’s leading scorer on crutches and the District 1-AAA girls basketball title on the line, Erika Blizard and Breean Sabo were there to pick up the slack for the Lady Cougars.

Blizard and Sabo combined to score 40 points as Whitney Moody looked on with a torn ACL, and Central beat Science Hill 56-46 to capture the district crown Monday night at the Buck Van Huss Dome.

“There probably wasn’t a handful of people in the gym other than us that thought we could do this after (Moody’s injury) Friday night, but we knew we could,” Central coach Gary Surcey said. “Everybody stepped it up a little.”

Blizard scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the third quarter, sparking a 12-3 Central run that put the Lady Cougars in control.

Johneshia Good hit a 3-pointer with 3:08 remaining in the third to put Science Hill ahead 33-30 before Blizard scored seven points in a row to give Central a 37-33 lead.

“Since Whitney couldn’t play, I knew I had to step it up,” Blizard said. “Everybody stepped it up and we came together — it’s just an incredible feeling.”

Sabo hit a pair of foul shots early in the fourth quarter to cap the 12-3 run and give Central a 42-36 advantage. The senior went on to score 11 of her 19 points in that period to help her team win the district title.

“We knew we could do it — we just had to play hard,” Sabo said. “We lost Whitney and that’s real tough, but we came out here and won it for her.”

As eighth-graders, Sabo and Moody were part of a middle school squad that won a conference championship. Sabo said Monday’s victory helped the senior class deliver on a promise made five years ago.

“After we won it, we said we were going to win a district in high school,” Sabo said. “That’s what we’ve been working for for four years now.”

Brittany Fields added 10 points for the Lady Cougars while Blizard pulled down eight rebounds.

Science Hill struggled to find its shooting touch all night. The Lady Hilltoppers were 3-for-13 from the floor in the first quarter and never seemed to find a comfort zone.

“This time of the year you’ve got to put the ball in the basket,” Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and they (did).

“I give them all the credit — they came out with a good game plan and they executed it well.”

Science Hill hung close for most of the fourth quarter before the Lady Hilltoppers (16-14) were forced to start fouling. Central (22-8) went 10-for-11 from the foul line in the final frame to put the game out of reach.

Jaimee Hill led Science Hill with 12 points while Haley Hensley added 11 and Christy Goodman scored 10.

Even though Moody’s injury left the Lady Cougars without their top scorer, Barnwell said he knew that Central was going to be a tough out.

“When we found out Whitney wasn’t going to be playing, I told our kids, ‘They’re going to play even harder now,’” he said. “They came at us and took it at us hard.”

Central will host Jefferson County on Friday at 7 p.m. Lady Patriots lost to Greeneville 61-51 on Monday, which means the Lady Greene Devils will travel to Johnson City to play Science Hill on Friday.

Tennessee High won the consolation game 67-37 over Sullivan South.

Cheyenne Thornsberry and Kimberly Wood scored 12 points each to pace the Lady Vikings (25-3) while Danielle Montgomery added 10.

Makensey Campbell and Abbey Fletcher scored seven each to lead South (9-19). The Lady Rebels will hit the road on Friday to face Morristown West at 7.

The Lady Trojans beat Cocke County 66-50 in the District 2-AAA title game, sending Tennessee High on the road to face Cocke County on Friday.

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