BRISTOL, Tenn. — Moments after Tennessee High’s convincing 61-47 victory over Sullivan South, Lady Vikings coach Kim Bright was quick to shut down any Big 9 Conference title talk.
“It’s still early,” Bright said. “We still have a lot of big games left on the schedule.”
A long journey may lie ahead, but after beating the Lady Rebels in a battle for first place, the Lady Vikings are starting that journey in the driver’s seat.
Danielle Montgomery scored 25 points for Tennessee High and teamed with backcourt mate Kendra Snapp to hold South’s duo of Natalie Pickwell and Samantha Williams in check.
It was a sharp departure from the first time the eams met this season — Pickwell torched the Lady Vikings for 21 points and South won 52-45.
“Last time we played, Pickwell went off,” Montgomery said. “We wanted to make sure we contained those two this time.”
South coach Josh Tate said his team knew the Lady Vikings would be motivated after the loss back in December.
“I thought they were a lot more aggressive here, and we knew they would be,” Tate said.
South was able to match Tennessee High’s aggression for the most part, but the Lady Rebels struggled to get the ball in the basket.
Snapp and Montgomery held Pickwell and Williams to a combined six points in the first half. Meanwhile, Tennessee High used a 10-0 run in the second quarter to build a 27-15 halftime advantage.
A Montgomery 3-pointer extended the lead to 36-19 midway through the third quarter, but South responded with a 13-0 run to pull within four in the closing moments of the third period.
With the Lady Rebels poised to complete the comeback, Tennessee High responded with a backbreaking 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Bright said her players played like they had something to prove against the Lady Rebels.
“That’s the best we’ve played all year,” she said. “At their place, they took a little bit of our pride.”
Nikita Jones added 11 points for Tennessee High while Snapp chipped in 10.
Pickwell led South with 13 points while Williams added 12, leaving Bright happy about the way Snapp and Montgomery handled the explosive duo.
“Those two played a great defensive game,” Bright said. “They’re my best defenders.”
Tate said even though his team was disappointed after fully expecting to beat the Lady Vikings, the goal now is to prepare for Daniel Boone on Tuesday.
“There’s one thing I’ve learned,” he said. “You don’t get too high on a win and you don’t get too low on a loss.”