Saturday, March 7, 2015

Craigmont girls eliminated in state tournament quarterfinals

image and story from Commercial Appeal

The Craigmont girls basketball team did so many things right Friday at the Murphy Center.

The Chiefs shot well (48.7 percent) and battled McMinn Central to a standstill on the boards (33 each). But turnovers did them in as they lost to the Chargerettes 57-48 in the quarterfinals of the BlueCross AA state tournament.

Craigmont, which was making its second appearance at state and first since 2004, turned the ball over 29 times against ferocious McMinn Central pressure.

"We turned it over 18 times in the first half and we only had 14 shots while they had 36," said Chiefs coach Tim Anderson. "We did what we wanted to do, but we gave them too many opportunities."
Despite blazing away at 57 percent over the opening two quarters, the Chiefs (27-7) were trailing 29-24 because of the miscues.

"I'll take most of the blame." said Chiefs standout Danielle Conley. "As a guard, it's my job to get the ball to the right people and know when to pass and when not to."

Added Daja Scurlock, "I know at least for me, I was nervous. We tried to get the nerves out, but then when it came down to the nitty-gritty, we didn't execute."

The effort on defense was something Chargerettes coach Johnny Morgan has come to expect from his team, which will take on Grainger in a 7:30 p.m. semifinal today.

"We play the same way all the time," he said. "If we're up 30 we don't think we're good, and if we're down 30 we don't give up. And we've played man-to-man for 37 years.

"An old coach once told me that basketball is a game of runs. You just want to have the most runs or the last one."

Craigmont went on a good run of its own, outscoring the Chargerettes 10-0 in the opening moments of the third quarter to take a 34-29 lead.

"We knew we had a run in us," said Anderson. "We just wanted to be a little more aggressive and look for mismatches and try to beat them down the floor. But it may have taken something out of us."
McMinn Central (29-5) closed to 38-37 at the end of the third, then went on an 11-1 run late in the fourth to finally finish Craigmont off.

Jacobi Lynn scored 19 to lead the Chargerettes, with several buckets coming on and-one mix tape-style drives to the basket. Ally Coleman chipped in with 15 points and nine boards.

Conley scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half to lead the Chiefs, and Scurlock had 13. Kiara Caswell finished with 11 points; Morgan Morris had a game-high 11 rebounds.

All but Caswell from that group will be back next season; Craigmont returns nine of 11 players.
"We'll be back next year," said Scurlock. "And we're going to make it farther."

Craigmont (48) — Kiara Caswell 11, Danielle Conley 14, Keveana Fayne 4, Morgan Morris 6, Daja Scurlock 13.
McMinn Central (57) — J. Lynn 19, J. Wright 3, E. Trentham 8, K. Myers 2, J. Truelove 10, A. Coleman 15.
Craigmont 16 8 14 10—48
McMinn Central 13 16 8 20—57
Records — Craigmont 27-7, McMinn Central 29-5.

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