By Collin Brooks
Morristown West punched Daniel Boone early and laid it to them late as the Lady Trojans took home the Region 1-AAA Championship with a 61-44 win at Science Hill.
The Lady Trojans — who took the 2-1 series between the teams on the season — opened the contest with a 17-4 first quarter. The Lady Blazers were able cut their opponents lead to eight headed into the final quarter — and miss multiple opportunities to cut it closer— but they would never get any closer.
“When we got down by so much we had to try and get back in it somehow. We cut it to eight and had some life, but then we couldn’t get one to fall and their lanes opened back up,” Daniel Boone coach Travis Mains said. “And Sydney Newsome, she did just about anything that she wanted to. She’s a good player.”
Newsome was crowned the Region 1-AAA MVP with her 21 point performance. Blayre Shultz finished with 14 points, while Caroline Harville finished with 10.
The Lady Blazers were led Bayleigh Carmichel with 12 points, while Macie Culbertson — who sat out a few practices this week due to knee stiffness — finished with nine points. Emily Sizemore and Sydney Pearce finished with eight each.
Daniel Boone was able to score the first bucket of the contest when Culbertson was able to finish a lay-up when she was fouled. But she would miss the free throw and the Lady Blazers were only able to score one more bucket the entire quarter with two free throws by Pearce with three minutes left. The Lady Trojans, on the other hand, didn’t have trouble finding the basket. Connecting on 17 points in the quarter with six of those coming from mid-range jumpers from Harville.
Daniel Boone was able to find a little bit more rhythm in the second period, with the sharpshooting of Sizemore and Carmichel. Sizemore connected on two 3-pointers, while Carmichel connected on a trey and one free throw. Daniel Boone was able to cut the score to 11 after Carmichel’s trey, but the Lady Trojans closed out the quarter with a 6-1 run to take a 37-21 lead into the locker room.
The Lady Blazers were finally able to get closer to striking distance after Carmichel and Sizemore knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and made the score 43-31 in West’s favor.
The Lady Blazers would continue to chip away at the score, getting the contest within single digits for the first time since the end of the first quarter, as Culbertson closed out the final two minutes with a 5-0 run to make the score 46-38 going into the fourth.
“We were right there and the crowd was awesome, we just didn’t have it tonight,” Mains said. “We got behind and we just didn’t have it tonight, man. On the way over here, it just seemed different, the kids were a little different.”
For the Blazers, their hopes of Murfreesboro and the TSSAA State Championship are still alive, but they will need to knock off state-runnier up Oak Ridge in order to make that a reality.
“This game was for seeding purposes to me, if you want to get to the state tournament, you have to beat quality teams and why not go play the runner-up for last year,” Mains said. “We will see what we are made of.”