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Lady Vikings ambush Falcons in district tourney opener

By Jeff Birchfield • Feb 12, 2019 at 1:10 AM

CHURCH HILL — It had been a tough season in Tennessee High girls basketball coach Kim Bright’s return to the sideline.

Her season got a little better Monday night when the No. 7-seeded Lady Vikings defeated homestanding Volunteer 46-42 in the opening game of the District 1-AAA tournament. Annie Hayes had a game-high 13 points, including three shots behind the 3-point arc, and post player Kenzie Nickels scored a dozen.

Down by two at the half, the Lady Vikings (8-20) dominated the final two quarters. They will face Daniel Boone in the district quarterfinals.

“We had some supporting cast step up for us, particularly in the second half,” Bright said. “Our defensive intensity was also better than it’s been the last two games.

“We’re a young team starting three sophomores. We talked about execution and focus and they really believed what we were telling them and they executed well.”

Aliyah Crawley scored 10 points and Kenady Knittel finished with nine to pace Volunteer (7-22). Chloe Salyer contributed eight points for the Lady Falcons and Bryna Minton had seven. Those two seniors along with Allie Parsons, Emma Bice, Kierstan Trent, Tieran Whalen and Autumn Deal played their last game for Volunteer.

“There were some great seniors and losing seven seniors is tough,” Volunteer coach Tyrone Smith said. “It hurts me more than anything because I know what these girls have put into the program for a long time. It hurts to lose this game, but at the same time, it’s a game and they will go on and be successful in real-life situations.

“They didn’t complain about anything. They always went into it giving it their all and I’m proud of them.”

Volunteer pulled out to a 10-5 lead in the first quarter only to see Tennessee High respond with eight straight points. The Lady Falcons pushed back ahead and led 22-20 at halftime.

Tennessee High doubled up Volunteer in the third quarter for a 34-29 lead heading into the final period. The Lady Vikings held on from there, letting the Lady Falcons close to just a single bucket five times in the final eight minutes.

Tennessee High’s lone senior, LynLeigh Rhodes, was one of three Lady Vikings to score six points. The others were Riley Fritts and Annessa Pennington, who came up with a pair of big buckets in the fourth quarter.

Tori Ryans didn’t score, but grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds for Tennessee High. The Lady Vikings’ advantage on the boards was what Smith felt cost the Lady Falcons the game.

“What killed us was turnovers and offensive rebounds,” Smith said. “When you give up 20 offensive rebounds, that’s bad. We were back and forth with them the first half. You have to get stops. They scored off 10 of those offensive rebounds.

“But I don’t want to take anything away from my girls. They played hard and proved that Volunteer is coming on the rise.”

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