By Collin Brooks
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Blazers and Lady Toppers were all even at 36. In the end, it was the point of being present that helped Daniel Boone claim a 57-52 victory and claim the District 1-AAA Tournament Championship.
“I think our kids just wanted it a little bit more,” Daniel Boone coach Travis Mains said. “They executed offensively better, we started making layups and we knocked down a bunch of free throws and timely 3-point shots. The seniors stepped up.”
The Lady Blazers had three players score in double figures with Bayleigh Carmichel leading the way with 16 points. The sophomore also took home tournament MVP honors. Macie Culbertson scored 15 points in the contest, while Sydney Pearce finished the night with 12 points.
Heading into the final period with the contest tied seemed to open the eyes of the Lady Blazers according to Culbertson.
“I think we just started realizing that we had it and that we were just eight minutes away,” said Culbertson, who was also named the Big 7 Conference Player of the Year. “We just stepped on the gas and we finished.”
The Lady Toppers were led by Samantha Fugate, who netted 11 points. Blair Henry finished with nine points, while Maddie Ratner and Alashia Smith each finished with eight.
“I thought our kids really grew up a lot from last night to tonight,” Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley said. “They weren’t overwhelmed by the moment. They came out and really got on us and we actually answered the bell.”
Both teams will host opponents on Friday with Science Hill welcoming Jefferson County and Daniel Boone hosting Cherokee.
Besides bragging right, both teams knew that tonight didn’t necessarily earn them anything.
“This is awesome for us, but it’s just the beginning of what we want to do,” Carmichel said.
Her coach agreed.
For Science Hill, they will have the tougher road, having to cross paths with Jefferson County and Morristown West before a possible Region Championship contest, but Whaley said all of the goals his team wants to attain are still ahead of them.
“As important as this is, it matters a whole lot more come Friday night,” Whaley said. “You know, Daniel Boone is one of the top five or six teams in the state and we are two or three possessions away from them.
“Like I told our kids, all of our goals are still in front of us.”