Monday, March 7, 2016

Northpoint Girls win First State Championship

image and article from Commercial Appeal

NASHVILLE - Barry Gray's prayers were answered Saturday.

"My prayer for them today was to have calmness and determination," he said. "Just those two things."

The Northpoint girls had plenty of both at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena as they played confidently from start to finish while dismantling Knoxville Webb, 63-42, in the TSSAA Division 2-A state championship game.

It's the first title in school history for the Lady Trojans, who finish the year with a stellar 31-2 record. Webb had won the previous two championships, including a victory over Northpoint in the final in 2014.

"Unreal," said Lauren Gross.

"Amazing," said Ashtyn Baker.

It was both of those and then some.

Making its fourth straight appearance in the final four, Northpoint played like a team that had something to prove. The Trojans dominated from the opening whistle and never trailed.

Northpoint shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half and led 33-18 at the break.
"Very efficient shooting," said Gray. "I told them if we could take control on the offensive end ... that we could control our own destiny."

And just to make sure the Spartans didn't even think about getting back into the game, Northpoint opened the third quarter on an 11-0 run to build a 26-point advantage. Baker highlighted that burst with a pair of spectacular driving layups.

The 5-6 junior — who will be one of the three finalists when the Miss Basketball awards are handed out Tuesday in Murfreesboro — was named tournament MVP after 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
"I wouldn't be where I am without these three girls," said Baker.

She was referring to Jade Wells, Lauren Gross and Lindsey Whiteside, who joined her on the all-tournament team. Wells was a huge presence in the paint, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Gross knocked down a pair of long 3-pointers while finishing with 10 points.

But the Trojans wouldn't have made it over the finish line without Whiteside, who scored 13 points but made her biggest contribution on defense as she locked down Webb's Miss Basketball finalist, Micah Scheetz.
Scheetz managed just four points on 2-of-12 shooting before fouling out on a questionable charge call midway though the fourth.

"She's a great player, but I just focused," said Whiteside, who will be returning next season along with Baker, Gross, Wells and the other starter, Hannah Shafer.

"I knew this team would be special in the summer," said Gray. "We played everybody; we played teams from four different states and we only lost one game.

"The players just understand how to get the most out of each other perfectly. The pieces just fit so well together."

Box Score

Northpoint (63) — Ashtyn Baker 22, Lauren Gross 10, Hannah Shafer 2, Jade Wells 16, Lindsey Whiteside 13.
Knoxville Webb (42) — Casey Collier 4, Kayleight Hames 11, Haylee Luttrell 8, Reagan Munday 1, Every Satterfield 9, Micah Scheetz 4, Kinley Green 5.
Northpoint 16 17 14 16—63
Knoxville Webb 9 9 10 14—42
Records — Northpoint 31-2.

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