KINGSPORT - What kryptonite is to Superman, Nicole Dickson was to Daniel Boone.
Dickson poured in 24 points and calmly knocked down a pair of foul shots with 7.3 seconds left to lift Greeneville to a 53-52 victory over the Lady Trailblazers in the semifinals of the Region 1-AAA basketball tournament at Sullivan South on Monday.
Greeneville advances to face Science Hill in the Region 1-AAA championship Wednesday night. The Lady Hilltoppers downed Tennessee High 55-39 in the other semifinal contest.
After a mild-mannered season, the Lady Trailblazers jumped into a phone booth before tournament time and emerged able to leap teams in a single bound.
But the green-clad Dickson stopped Boone in its tracks down the stretch and helped the Lady Greene Devils survive.
Greeneville coach Stacia Crumbley said her team, the top-ranked squad in the state, did a good job staying calm down the stretch and picking up a hard-fought win against a physical Boone squad.
"They came ready to play and took us out of our game," she said. "Sometimes they feel a lot of pressure on their shoulders, but they did a good job of leaving that behind and surviving."
After trailing by eight in the first half, Boone stormed back to tie the game at the end of the third period.
The Lady Trailblazers then built a five-point lead with five minutes left in the game before Greeneville hit the comeback trail.
"I thought when it was 40-35 they might crumble a little bit, but they are the top team in the state for a reason," Boone coach Tim Campbell said.
Whitney Carter hit a pair of foul shots at the 3:37 mark to put Greeneville back in front, and although Boone managed a tie with less than two minutes left, the Lady Greene Devils never trailed again.
Carter and Dickson took turns making foul shots down the stretch for Greeneville.
Autumn Gillis hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, but it left Boone one point short of advancing to the regional finals and securing a sectional berth.
"One point - one foul shot, one turnover," Gillis said, sizing up the final deficit.
Although the loss was disappointing, Gillis was proud of the way her team responded in the tournament.
"We knew we had to put it all together and play as a team, and we did," she said.
Gillis ended up with 20 points and four assists for Boone (18-17) while Holly Nickels had 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Carter capped a career night with 15 points for Greeneville (30-3), which needed every one of those as star forward Ashley Deans was held to just five.
Greeneville also hit 17 of 20 foul shots, a gaudy percentage for a team that shot around 60 percent for the season.
"We're not a very good foul shooting team," Crumbley said. "But it's tournament time, and everyone stepped up."
Science Hill also stepped up in a do-or-die situation against Tennessee High, earning the school's first sectional berth since 1991.
The Lady Hilltoppers used an active 2-3 zone to keep the Lady Vikings from picking up easy baskets, and the plan worked to perfection even though nothing else seemed to go as planned for Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell.
"I talked about two things - taking care of the ball and rebounding," Barnwell said of his game plan. "We didn't do either of those things, so somebody's watching out for us."
Jordan Douglas, Jaimee Hill and Emma McMillan led Science Hill (27-8) with 11 points each.
The Lady Vikings fell just one win short of the sectionals for the sixth consecutive year.
"I don't want to focus on losing because my team has come a long way," Tennessee High coach Kim Bright said.
Danielle Montgomery paced the Lady Vikings (28-6) with 17 points. Nikita Jones added 10.