Survival the goal in region

Survival the goal in region

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Survival the goal in region

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MURFREESBORO

Five area girls basketball teams enter today’s regional quarterfinals with one goal: Survive and advance.

Blackman, Oakland, Riverdale and Smyrna all will compete in the quarterfinals of the Region 4-AAA tournament. Cannon County is in Region 4-AA tournament.

All games tipoff at 7 p.m.

All must win today and Monday to keep their goal alive of playing in a state tournament.

Fourth-ranked Blackman (24-3) hosts Lincoln County (22-10). Eighth-ranked Oakland (22-5) plays at Franklin County. Top-ranked Riverdale (28-0) hosts Shelbyville and Smyrna (9-21) plays at fourth-ranked Columbia (25-3) in Region 4-AAA quarterfinal contests. Sixth-ranked Cannon County (25-5) hosts Chattanooga Christian (19-12) in a Region 4-AA quarterfinal.

“This is the first time we ever played them,” Cannon County coach Michael Dodgen said. “We scouted them a couple time when they were playing a common opponent.”

Two-time Miss Basketball finalist Abbey Sissom leads the Lionettes. Sissom led the area with 21 points a game. Teammate Abby Jakes averages 11.2 points a game.

Oakland has played Franklin County twice this season, beating the Rebelettes 46-26 on Nov. 30 and 59-19 on Dec. 11. Smyrna fell to Columbia 66-43 in its season opener.

Oakland senior Ellen Riggins, a Samford signee, and junior point guard Emily Eubank lead the Lady Patriots. Freshman post Shelby Gibson has steadily improved since coming back in recent weeks from a foot injury that sidelined her the bulk of the season. Riggins averages 12.9 points. Gibson averages 11.3 points and Eubank averages 10.5 points.

Smyrna is led by senior point guard Kayla Hunt (13.0 ppg).

Riverdale hasn’t played Shelbyville this season, but the Lady Warriors defeated the Eaglettes 76-16 in the 2012 Region 4-AAA quarterfinals. Shelbyville is the last team to beat the Lady Warriors at Riverdale’s Johnny Parsley Memorial Gymnasium. Riverdale, which has won 50 straight games, has won 65 consecutive at home.

Riverdale junior and Miss Basketball finalist Alexa Middleton averages 15.9 points a game. Teammate Tyisha Petty averages 15.5 points and Miss Basketball finalist Olivia Jones averages 14.3 points.

“Right now, you just have to take it one step at a time,” Riverdale coach Cory Barrett said. “You have to worry about your team first. You can do a little scouting. We’ve played (Shelbyville) in the past.

“They are a four seed, but you have to be ready to go because it could potentially be your last home game. You hope its not.”

Blackman hasn’t played Lincoln County since the 2010 Region 4-AAA quarterfinals, a 64-51 Blackman win. The Lady Blaze were upset a year ago at Franklin County in last year’s region quarterfinals. This year’s Lady Blaze are led by freshman Crystal Dangerfield (14.6 ppg) and sophomore Alex Johnson (13.4 ppg).

Blackman girls coach Chad Hibdon said his team has adopted the motto of “focus forward.” The Lady Blaze are not looking back at their last game or previous seasons. Nor, are they looking past the Lady Falcons.

“Last year and our last game doesn’t matter,” Hibdon said. “You simply have to focus forward.”

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