©2012 NPT PHOTO BY SETH BUTLER Cocke County's Hayley Miller drives through the court against the defense of Oakland's Ellen Riggins in Wednesday afternoon's opening round of the Ladies' Classic at Hal Henard Gymnasium in Greeneville.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-12-27 16:00:36)
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

GREENEVILLE-A pivotal 17-0 run in the opening six minutes of the fourth quarter proved to be enough for Oakland High School to prevail over the Lady Red in the opening round of the LandAir Ladies' Classic on Wednesday afternoon.

Oakland's scoring barrage allowed the Lady Patriots to break open a 10-point game and remain unbeaten with a 66-42 victory.

Oakland advanced to a  semifinal at 8:30 p.m. tonight against South Greene. Cocke County meanwhile faced off with Shelbyville Central in a 10 a.m. semifinal this morning.

Cocke County's effort through three quarters had them fighting to attempt to be the first TSSAA team to play within single digits of the Lady Patriots.

“I was real proud of my girls for their effort,” Cocke County coach Jeremy Byrd said. “They could've laid down about four or five times, but they kept fighting and that's what I expect them to do each and every time we're on the floor.”

Cocke County (7-6) played evenly with Oakland (12-0) for a majority of the game, before succumbing over the final eight minutes. The Lady Patriots owned a 21-3 advantage in points off of turnovers and a 20-9 margin in second chance points.

“I was pretty positive (in the locker room) as far as effort goes and shot selection and things like that,” Byrd said. “I was a little negative when it came toward being disciplined on defense and giving them so many chances.

“Effort wise I wasn't concerned with our defense at all, but length wise on that end of the floor it was hard on us,” Byrd said. “We got tired and we didn't limit their second, third and fourth chances - and I thought that was the biggest difference in the game.

“When you give a good team like that many chances, they'll make you pay and they did in the fourth quarter,” Byrd said.

During their pivotal run in the fourth quarter, the Lady Patriots corralled four of their 15 offensive rebounds and translated them into points. Oakland also was a force in the paint with an already thin Cocke County roster suffering from the loss of senior forward Alison Atha (foot). Playing a mixture of man and zone defense, Oakland got a number of open looks at the basket in the final quarter.

“We were playing so hard, we were a little undisciplined at times,” Byrd said. “They drew us out away from the rim and isolated our posts a lot.

“I wasn't really happy with our zone defense because we weren't covering the shots,” Byrd said. “I attribute a lot of to Oakland because they did an excellent job of moving the ball around and getting the shots that they wanted.”

Despite the difference in the score, Cocke County held Oakland to a shooting percentage in the mid-30s the entire game and kept themselves in the game with a strong effort in a man-to-man defense.

“Our ball pressure was really good,” Byrd said. “We're used to forcing 20 turnovers and we only forced seven and that's where we get a lot of our points.”

Oakland jumped out to an early 10-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game, but Cocke County responded by cutting the lead to 15-8 at the end of the opening quarter. The Lady Red continued their momentum, cutting the lead to two at one point, before Oakland ended the half on a 15-6 run over the final 5:40 of the half.

Cocke County had the lead cut to single digits, before Randi Bivens hit a buzzer beating three-point basket to make the lead 30-19 at halftime.

In the third period the two teams battled, as Cocke County remained within striking distance. A three-point shot by Sharina Cofield cut the lead to 42-31 with 1:56 left in the quarter. Hannah Miller, who led the Lady Red with 16 points off the bench, cut the lead to eight with 41 seconds left.

However Ellen Riggins, who led all scorers with 24 points, buried a jumper just outside the paint in the final seconds of quarter to up the lead to 47-37.

OAKLAND (66): Ellen Riggins 24, Emily Eubank 19, Kaitlin Oliver 8, Kiara Howse 6, Ansley Eubank 6, Randi Bivens 3. 26/59 FG (44.1%), 4/16 3-PT FG (25.0%), 10/13 FT (76.9%), 39 RBS (15 OFF)

COCKE COUNTY (42): Hannah Miller 16, Allison Ball 9, Sharina Cofield 6, Mika Wester 6, Hayley Miller 4, Delessa Stewart 1. 13/41 FG (31.7%), 5/10 3-PT FG (50.0%), 11/15 FT (73.3%), 27 RBS (8 OFF).

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