Saturday, March 1, 2014

Northpoint falls to Knoxville Webb in D2-A girls title game

From Commercial Appeal

NASHVILLE — Northpoint’s girls basketball team spent all afternoon Saturday playing catch-up against Knoxville Webb in the BlueCross Division 2-A state championship game. But the Spartans refused to be caught.

Webb won its fourth championship overall and second in the last three seasons, turning back the Trojans, 58-40, at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena.

The Trojans, who won the West Region championship, finished 30-4.

“They’re a really good team,” said Barry Gray, who has coached the Trojans to a 55-12 record and two state tournament trips over the last two seasons.

“I think they’re one of the best private schools in Tennessee. But I’m extremely proud of our team and they way they represented the school and the Lord. We were in the semifinals last year and the championship game this year ... Our program took another step.”

The Trojans never led but never looked completely out of it until the Spartans began to pull away in the closing minutes. Northpoint got as close as four midway through the third quarter but couldn’t get over the hump.

And Webb got the big shots it needed, thanks to Dasia Maxwell (team-high 13 points) and tournament Most Valuable Player Micah Sheetz (12).

“I think we got down a little early,” said Northpoint’s Kimberlee Keltner, who was named to the all-tournament team. “We should have started out with a little more intensity.”

Said Gray, “We missed four layups and four free throws in a quarter-and-a-half. But we played really well for two quarters.”

Freshman guard Ashtyn Baker was excellent for the Trojans, scoring 20 points on a variety of acrobatic drives and pulling down seven rebounds. Keltner, a 5-8 guard who has drawn interest from Blue Mountain College and Mississippi College, finished with 11 points and eight rebounds in her final high school game.

Northpoint’s 3-point shooting, which was extremely effective in Friday’s semifinal victory over University School of Nashville, was nonexistent in the final. The Trojans were 0 of 6 from beyond the arc.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Baker, who will be one of several key players returning next year. “(The upperclassmen) have been a great influence.”

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