In the District 7-AAA tournament, the teams have played each other twice already during the regular season, and they’re looking for an X-factor or a new wrinkle which will give them an advantage.
The Smyrna Lady Bulldogs found that X-factor in the first round against Siegel in post player Allie Bolton. She was the difference as the Lady Bulldogs defeated the Siegel Lady Stars 64-41 Friday night at Harry Gill Jr. Gymnasium.
The Lady Stars, playing without two starters, had no answer for Bolton. She was a force in the paint, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds. She scored six second-quarter points to help give Smyrna a lead it never relinquished.
“Allie was a beast the whole game,” said Smyrna coach Shawn Middleton. “We knew they didn’t have a post player. We got the ball to her down low, she rebounded, and that was the difference in the game.”
Bolton scored six consecutive points at the end of the second quarter when Smyrna went on a 10-2 run to take a 28-18 halftime lead. She scored in the paint on three straight possessions.
“(Coach Middleton) told me to play my game, and we would win and go to the region,” she said.
Up until Bolton’s strong effort in the paint, both teams had relied on the 3-point shot to get their offense going. The Lady Bulldogs connected on seven 3-pointers in the game, five in the first half. Kayla Hunt had three 3-pointers, Savannah McIntyre and Treasure Hunt had two each.
“We shot it well tonight,” said Middleton.
The Lady Stars also shot the ball well from 3-point range in the early going. They also had seven 3-pointers, four in the first half.
Erica Roberts connected on four of the 3-pointers, Paris Lawson had two and Morgan Clemmer had one.
“Early on, I thought we were OK,” said Siegel coach Alan Bush. “We shot the ball pretty well. We let the game get away from us.”
The teams exchanged baskets in the first quarter. The score was tied three times, and Smyrna had a 13-11 lead at the end of the quarter.
Smyrna scored five straight to open the second quarter and go up 18-11, but Siegel scored five straight to match that and cut the gap back to two, 18-16.
Then Smyrna’s 10-2 run, capped by Bolton’s six points, gave the Lady Bulldogs the 10-point halftime lead. Siegel could never get closer than eight the rest of the game.
The Lady Bulldogs (9-19) will go up against top-seeded Riverdale in the semi-finals Saturday. They have guaranteed themselves a spot in the region tournament, which will be next week at Oakland.
The Lady Stars finished their season at 15-12.
Smyrna 13 15 23 13 — 64
Siegel 11 7 16 7 — 41
Smyrna – Allie Bolton 15, Jasmine Neal 12, Kayla Hunt 11, Savannah McIntyre 10, T. Hunt 6, Blanchard 6, Harris 4.
Siegel – Erica Roberts 16, Paris Lawson 12, Francescan 6, Clemmer 5, Phillips 2.
La Vergne 24
Oakland (22-4) jumped out to an early 23-11 first-quarter lead and never trailed.
The Lady Patriots’ full-court pressure defense gave the Lady Wolverines (2-22) problems. La Vergne turned the ball over several times in the first half, and the turnovers lead to fast break opportunities and layups for the Lady Patriots.
The Lady Patriots earned a spot in the Region 4-AAA tournament, which will be held at Oakland High School next week.
Oakland was led in scoring by Shelby Gibson with 19 points, while Ellen Riggins had 11.
La Vergne 11 6 4 3 — 24
Oakland 23 21 20 6 — 70
La Vergne – Smith 9, Reynolds 5, Darby 5, Freeman 3, Baugh 2.
Oakland – Shelby Gibson 19, Ellen Riggins 11, Howse 8, King 8, Barnes 6, Patterson 6, Oliver 4, E. Eubank 2, A. Eubank 2, Eaglen 2, Caine 2.
Cannon Co. 54
Cory Henley poured in 27 points for the Lions, who advanced to the semifinals of the 8-AA tourney where they’ll face Smith Co. tonight.
Franklin Classical 66
Ethan Hennis scored 21 for Providence Christian, and Payton Thomas netted 20.