Thursday, March 5, 2015

Oakland eliminates Bartlett girls in state basketball quarterfinals

image and article from Commercial Appeal 

It's not hard to find an explanation for Murfreesboro Oakland's victory over Bartlett in the quarterfinals of the BlueCross AAA girls state basketball tournament Wednesday.

It was an inside job.

Oakland's post tandem of Shelby Gibson and Abby Wright each scored 19 points to lead the Patriots to a 59-31 victory over the Panthers. Bartlett, which was making its first appearance at state since 2008, ends the year with a 22-11 mark.

And it was undoubtedly one of the most frustrating losses of the year as the Panthers simply just couldn't match up with Gibson and Wright, a pair of skilled six-footers.

Gibson, who went 8 of 8 from the floor, scored her team's first eight points. Oakland then moved Wright down on the low block as well, which eventually opened up the Patriots' outside game.
Oakland ended the game shooting 59.5 percent from the floor (25 of 42).

"I don't think we were prepared for that," said Panthers junior standout Charity Savage. "Usually we play teams that go hard on the inside or shoot (well) from the outside. We're not used to a team that does both."

Added Panthers coach Lynn Whitfield, "When you have that balance, it's tough. And we didn't see that balance from them on tape."

Patriots coach Jennifer Grandstaff could find little to fault with her team, which will take on Knoxville Bearden in the semifinals Friday at 10 a.m.

"I think we did a good job of taking care of the ball and executing on offense," she said. "We wanted to get the ball inside and Shelby is tough to guard."

Bartlett also hurt its own cause with some poor shooting. The Panthers ended the game at 29.7 percent (11 of 37) and only managed 19 points over the final 24 minutes of the game after trailing just 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Jessica Jackson scored 15 points to lead Bartlett, connecting on three 3-pointers. Savage — who scored 29 points in her team's sub-state victory against Overton on Monday — was held to just six on 2 of 10 shooting

Four of the five players who started for Bartlett Wednesday — including Jackson and Savage — will return next year.

"I think we had a great season," said Jackson. "We beat a lot of big teams and accomplished a lot. It was a great experience."

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