A plausible, well-executed defensive game plan shortly came to nought as top-ranked Morristown West rolled to a 57-28 win over Tennessee High in the Region 1-AAA girls finals at Dobyns-Bennett Wednesday night.
The Lady Vikings did a solid job denying the Lady Trojans the ball in the post from the outset. Morristown West (30-1) simply made use of the breathing room beyond the arc. The IMAC champs hit five 3-pointers on their way to a 26-16 halftime lead.
West’s pressure created some opportunities late in the first quarter, but the Lady Trojans failed to convert on all of them. Tennessee High had increasing success fighting its way up the floor only to miss 11 first-half layups.
“Tennessee High runs that really good guard game. We had to settle down and close out and run the floor,” said tournament MVP Sidney Goins, who finished with 21 points.
“We like to start inside-out, but tonight they noticed our post game was strong and they closed it in on our post game. But we did very well in the first half shooting.”
The Lady Vikings (27-4) did a much better job defending the perimeter in the second half, but by then it was time for Tennessee Class AAA Miss Basketball finalist Taylor Hall to shine — with help from point guard Megan Fanney.
“Them hitting those big shots in the first half definitely opened up the inside. That made a lot of easier shots available,” Hall said.
The 6-foot-1 junior scored 10 of her 14 total points in the second half. Fanney, who collected eight assists, spread the floor and fed Hall and the high-leaping Goins in the post.
“They’re going to take away the inside or take away the outside. It’s hard to take away everything,” said Morristown West coach Johnny Galyon, who leads the Lady Trojans to the TSSAA sectionals for the second season in a row. “We’ve got all the pieces. I’ve said that since day one.”
Goins sat out the final five minutes of the third quarter in foul trouble, but Tennessee High was unable to capitalize on her absence. By the time the Lady Trojans got a little transition going in the fourth quarter, the Lady Vikings were worn out.
Kelly Smith, another all-tournament pick, had nine points for West while Hall had eight rebounds and three assists and Goins had nine rebounds. The 5-4 Fanney boxed out for five boards.
Kimberly Wood had nine points for Tennessee High, which earned its first-ever sectional appearance. Wood, Danielle Montgomery and Blakely Burleson all were named to the all-tournamen roster.
Tennessee High will travel to Bearden for Saturday’s sectional game, while Powell faces the Lady Trojans in Morristown at Walters State Community College. Bearden defeated Powell 49-33 in Wednesday’s Region 2-AAA title game.
“We thought it was going to be a matchup problem for us, and sure enough, it was,” Tennessee High coach Barry Wade said. “I’m not sure how many more matchup problems we can face down the road. I’m not sure how many better teams than that bunch we’re going to see.”