MURFREESBORO – MTCS third-year girls basketball coach Lynn Burkey recently began asking his team to begin finding ways to get to the free throw line.
Wilkerson, a junior guard, took the instruction to heart.
Wilkerson helped lead the Lady Cougars to a 66-43 rout of East Robertson on Saturday during MTCS’ homecoming. Wilkerson hit 15 of 17 free throws and finished with a game-high 26 points.
“We’ve been trying to focus a little bit on getting in there and how we can draw fouls,” Burkey said. “We’ve been talking that teams are going to overplay and deny you the ball. So when you get, how can you get to the free-throw line where no one is guarding you?
Wilkerson, who went over the 1,000-point mark for her career earlier this season, scored all but two of her points in the first three quarters.
“We’ve been working on getting to the free-throw line a lot,” Wilkerson said. “I think it’s just all about focus. I know I’ve got to take it in and draw the foul.”
Teammate Abby Buckner added 17 and hit three 3-pointers for MTCS (17-2). Erin Mullins had 12 points. Seven different players scored in the game and the entire varsity roster played.
Tamalee Stradtner and Gabby Zizzi scored nine points each to lead East Robertson (7-7). Shae Dunn added eight.
MTCS scored 13 unanswered after East Robertson’s Clara Adams opened the game with a 3-pointer to take control of the game. The lead never dipped below seven.
East Robertson 59, MTCS 30: East Robertson (5-9) held the Cougars to a season-low in points, including just 13 in the opening half.
Barr Ellenburg led MTCS (8-11) with nine points. Joseph Peck tallied eight.
“They were more aggressive,” MTCS coach Jason Piercey tonight. “They limited us to one shot. They took away the middle and that’s where we wanted to go.
“They did a great job. And they were patient on offense.”
Seth Stroud led East Robertson (5-9) with a game-high 22 points. Teammate Isaac Howeth added 11 and Rob Patterson had nine.
Ellenburg and teammate Luke Howell have been an offensive emphasis in the paint during the season for the Cougars. Once the Indians had MTCS’ post game in check, the Cougars strugglied to find offense from the perimeter.
“We always want to open up the outside with the inside,” Piercey said. “We were struggling with both. They were puttting bodies on us, and we weren’t finishing plays. And we weren’t getting second shots.”
The game was a rematch of last year’s Region 5-A quarterfinal, which the Indians won 75-65.
“They are a good school to have as far as camaraderie,” East Robertson coach Neil Murphy said. “We don’t mind coming here.”
The two teams meet again in Cross Plains on Feb. 6 to finish the regular season.
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.
MTCS 66, East Robertson 43
East Robertson 12 8 14 9 – 43
MTCS 19 16 17 14 – 66
East Robertson: Clara Adams 5, Shae Dunn 8, Tamalee Stradtner 9, Sierra Tomblin 5, Gabby Zizzi 9, Lexi Young, Ashtyn Blair 5.
MTCS: Josie Spivey 3, Erin Mullins 12, Camden Adams 4, Abby Buckner 17, Ashlynd Wilkerson 26, Mary Claire Dutton 2, Sarah Cox 2.
East Robertson 59, MTCS 30
East Robertson 12 9 18 20 – 59
MTCS 9 4 7 10 – 30
East Robertson: Seth Stroud 22, Matthew Wix 1, Luke Murphy 3, Isaac Howeth 11, Rob Patterson 9, Seth Remo 7, Lane Eden 5, B.J. Vaughn 1.
MTCS: Justin Winn 2, Tyler Lamb 4, Joseph Peck 8, Trey Hicky 3, Barr Ellenburg 9, Luke Howell 3, Gavin Burgess 1.