GREENEVILLE - Maybe Greeneville should honor Nicole Dickson before every game.
Dickson, recognized before Friday's Region 1-AAA quarterfinal for reaching the 1,000-point plateau, scored a game-high 23 points in a decisive 60-38 win over Sullivan South at Hal Henard Elementary School.
"I had a talk with her yesterday and told her that, with her talent and ability, she should come out and dominate," Greeneville coach Stacia Crumbley said. "I thought she made an effort to do that tonight."
Only a sophomore, Dickson had already accumulated 1,037 career points. She notched No. 1,000 during Monday's District 2 tournament final - a 42-27 decision against Morristown West.
"I just wanted to get a win so we could move on," said Dickson, who is already garnering attention from Southeastern Conference schools Louisiana State and Vanderbilt. "Coach talked to me about stepping up and I guess I stepped up tonight."
On Friday, she and fellow post Ashley Deans proved a 1-2 punch the Lady Rebels simply could not handle. Deans, with 18, and Dickson combined for 41 of the Lady Greene Devils' 60 points.
"Deans, she just gives 100 percent all the time and when you add Nicole to that it's a hard thing to stop," Crumbley said.
South coach Josh Tate agreed: "Their two post players could play. I don't think there are two post players in our conference that play as well as they do."
Greeneville (29-3), which advances to face Daniel Boone - a 59-46 winner over Cocke County on Friday - in Monday's semifinal round at Sullivan South, reeled off 18 unanswered points in the second quarter to build a comfortable advantage.
The Lady Greene Devils then absorbed a small push from South (16-15) on each side of halftime before unleashing a 14-0 run to close the third period - and effectively close out the contest.
"Eighteen unanswered against anybody is impressive," Tate said. "At the beginning of the third quarter, though, I thought we had an opportunity to get close. But they made another run and that was pretty much the game.
"I'm proud of the girls," Tate added. "They've fought hard all year."
During the Lady Devils' final surge, point guard Whitney Carter broke the school's all-time assist record, notching her 472nd midway through the third. Megan Lyons previously held the record, set two years ago.
Defensively, Greeneville employed a stiff man-to-man that steadily improved as the game progressed. South produced a fairly effective opening quarter, but regressed from there.
"Our focus all year has been our defense," Crumbley said. "That's been our identity all year. I told them after the first quarter to remember what we are, a defensive team. We refocused and we pushed on from there."
The Lady Rebels' main offensive options, Natalie Pickwell and Samantha Williams, managed just 10 and six points, respectively.
"That happens when you play a really good team," Tate said. "A lot of that is on them. They did a good job defensively, stymieing our best players.
"It was a good season for us," he added. "We made it to this point, which we haven't the past two years, and hopefully next year we can build off this."
Greeneville is looking to build off Friday's result, but Crumbley is not overlooking Daniel Boone, which is experiencing a postseason renaissance of sorts.
"They are playing a lot better than they were at the beginning of the season," Crumbley said. "It's going to be a tough game for us.
"Coach (Tim) Campbell does a great job and they're peaking at the right time."