GATE CITY — It is the meeting everyone expected would take place.
Gate City and Wise Central will clash in the Clinch Mountain Conference 40 girls championship game.
On Thursday, the Lady Blue Devils fought off a determined effort by Lebanon to beat the Lady Pioneers 56-40 while the Lady Warriors put down pesky John Battle 59-41.
Gate City (20-2) will take on Wise Central (20-4) at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Gate City Middle School.
The Lady Blue Devils have won the previous two meeting between themselves and the Lady Warriors this season. Both were close, hard-fought battles.
Morgan Gose and Jordan Gose combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Lady Blue Devils against Battle. Morgan had 13 points and eight boards while Jordan added 11 points and seven boards.
The Lady Blue Devils led by as many as 11 points early in the second quarter but could not shake the Lady Pioneers (16-8).
Lebanon pulled to within four points at 35-31 with 7:11 to go in the contest. But a 7-0 run by Gate City put the Lady Blue Devils back on top 42-31 and they remained in control the rest of the game.
Hannah Cox had a game-high 26 points to lead Lebanon. She also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Logan Reynolds had 15 points and Kayla Mulkey added 11 as Wise Central subdued the Lady Trojans (15-6).
Employing a slow down tactic early, Battle attempted to keep the pace of play from getting out of hand. It worked, for a while. Wise Central led just 13-9 after the opening period of play.
But the Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Trojans 20-9 in the second stanza and blew the game open.
The Lady Warriors had 13 of their 14 players who entered the game get in the scoring column. Central got 24 points from its bench.
Brooke Rutherford had 19 points for John Battle with Chloe Harris chipping in 11.