Barnard’s basket as time expired rallied the Lady Trailblazers for a 37-35 win over Gate City in the opening game of the Dairy Cup/Domino’s Pizza Volunteer Classic on Thursday.
Boone (5-4) advances to meet Sullivan South (4-3) tonight at 7 o’clock in the first semifinal. The Lady Rebels cruised to a 75-40 victory over Johnson County in the day’s second contest.
In a defensive struggle, the Lady ’Blazers forced a crucial turnover with 13.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 35.
“The ball was suppose to go to Natalie Sheffey,’’ said Barnard of her game-winning shot. “But she was covered so the ball ended up in my hands. When I let it go I knew it was good.’’
Barnard finished with a game-high 14 points — none bigger than the final two.
“I told them to run the clock down to six seconds and then go one-on-one,’’ Boone head coach Tim Campbell said. “Brooke stepped up and took the shot. She played hard the whole game and just seemed to will us to the win.’’
Using a patient offensive approach, Gate City took a 23-20 lead at the half. A pair of free throws by Taylor Evans put the Lady Blue Devils (1-6) up 34-28 with six minutes left in the contest.
The Lady Trailblazers clawed their way back into the game with tenacious defense and tied the score at 35 on the strength of a 10-footer by Jordan Bacon with 1:13 to go.
Holding the ball for just the right shot, Gate City’s Autumn Richards drove to the basket with under 20 seconds to go and saw her layup roll across the rim and back into play.
“We had the shot we wanted,’’ said Gate City head coach Kelli Houseright. “We’ve just got to learn to finish. The girls have played hard the last two games and come up short.’’
Sheffey added 10 points for Boone while Richards led the Lady Blue Devils with 11. Megan Starnes had 10 for Gate City.
Johnson County (2-9) hit a 3-pointer to open the game against South. It went downhill from there.
The Lady Rebels raced to a 21-7 lead by the end of the first period and never looked back.
Abbey Fletcher had 20 points to lead South while Kim Johnson added 13 and Makensey Campbell 11. Mandy Hill had 12 points and Lindsey Campbell 11 for the Lady Longhorns.