GRAY — The higher seeds struggled to get going in the first round of the District 1-AAA girls basketball tournament Tuesday at Daniel Boone.
No. 2 seed Tennessee High fought through the malaise to claim a 63-45 victory over seventh-seeded Sullivan Central, but No. 3 Dobyns-Bennett wasn’t nearly as fortunate. The Lady Indians fell behind early and never recovered as No. 6 Volunteer held on for a 55-43 victory.
The Lady Falcons outscored D-B 21-11 in the third quarter and entered the final period with a 48-29 lead.
Volunteer coach Jerry Myers admitted that his team struggled at times while playing keepaway as the final minutes melted off the clock.
“That’s something we’ve not been in that situation this year to do,” Myers said. “We’ve held the ball in the last minute, but we were up 14, 15 (points) with four minutes, and I thought, ‘Why get in a hurry?’”
It wasn’t pretty, but the Lady Falcons went 5-for-8 from the foul line down the stretch to advance to the semifinals and reserve a spot in next week’s Region 1-AAA tournament.
On the flip side, nothing came easy for the Lady Indians, and Volunteer had plenty to do with that. The Lady Falcons played solid halfcourt defense and didn’t give the Tribe many opportunities to score in transition.
“We worked on that in practice. We worked on getting back to limit their fast-break chances,” Myers said. “But we played pretty good defense in the halfcourt. That won it for us, I thought.
“We were just able to dig deep and push ourselves.”
While Volunteer dug deep, D-B coach Roger France was left wondering where his team’s fire was with its season hanging in the balance.
“I just thought they came and played really hard, and we didn’t,” France said. “We just didn’t play very well.
“Give credit. They beat us, they deserved to win, but I didn’t think it was a very good effort on our part.”
Lindsey Overbey scored 16 points to pace Volunteer. Teammates Deanna Way and Savannah Felgemacher added 12 apiece, and Emily Armstrong had 11 points.
Felgemacher also pulled down 11 rebounds to record a double-double.
Sasha Morrisette led all scorers with 20 points and Alex Anderson added 10 for the Lady Indians.
The Lady Vikings also look sluggish at times against Central, but a big effort by Ashlee Mitchell helped Tennessee High get over the hump and advance to the regional tournament for the 13th straight year.
Mitchell finished with 19 points for the Lady Vikings, who didn’t score many style points, but did manage to fulfill their primary objective.
“Just survive and advance,” Tennessee High coach Barry Wade said. “To me, it seemed like a typical first-round district tournament game. We were a little sluggish coming out, but we’ll be all right.”
Central had a tough time keeping up with the fleet-footed Lady Vikings, but nailed nine 3-pointers to keep things interesting. Sydney Norwood scored 16 points to lead the Lady Cougars.
Volunteer and Tennessee High will square off in the semifinals on Friday night at Daniel Boone. Science Hill and Boone will play in the other semifinal.