©2013 NPT PHOTO BY CHRIS TAYLOR CCHS junior Allison Ball fires a first half jumper in Monday’s win over Morristown West. Ball fired in 14 points to help the Lady Red claim sole possession of first place with the win. For more photos, see Page 14 in today’s edition.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-01-29 16:05:56)
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-The biggest showdown in District 2-AAA thus far this season went to the Cocke County High School Lady Red.

Cocke County knocked off Morristown West by a 45-42 score on Monday night to claim sole possession of first place in the district. The Lady Red earned the key win over their rivals behind a strong effort from junior guard Allison Ball.

Ball scored 14 points to lead the Lady Red to their first win over Morristown West since January 15, 2008, which snapped an 11-game losing skid the Lady Trojans and vaulted her team into first place in the process.

“I just can’t express how proud I am at this point of the team and us,” Lady Red first-year coach Jeremy Byrd said. “I know several girls stepped up and others fought through adversity.

“That kind of characterizes the kind of team we are,” Byrd said. “We’re not going to give up, you’re going to have to beat us for four quarters.”

Cocke County (14-9, 9-1) never trailed in the matchup of the two teams tied for first place entering Monday’s game. The Lady Red scored the game’s first seven points, all from Ball, to grab early momentum just minutes into the contest.

The quick 7-0 lead set the tone of the contest and forced the Lady Trojans to burn an early timeout.

“I’ve dreamed of a lot of starts and this wasn’t in any of my dreams,” Byrd said. “Allison set this thing off right and the start was probably the difference in the game.”

Morristown West (15-8, 9-2) committed seven first quarter turnovers, which veteran coach Johnny Galyon said was uncharacteristic of his team.

“We haven’t been playing like that,” Galyon said. “Give (Cocke County) a lot of credit, they bothered us out top with our young guards.

“I thought (Cocke County) wanted it a little bit more - they got after it, hit the big shots, we had the same opportunities but we didn’t make the shots and turned it over way too much,” Galyon said.

CCHS used the hot start to earn a 10-4 lead after a quarter, which eventually grew into a 20-11 edge with 2:51 to play before halftime. However, Morristown West closed the half by scored four straight points to close the gap to five points at halftime.

Morristown West tied the game with 3:17 to play in the third period, but CCHS battled back on consecutive three-point shots by Jordan Ray to take a 34-31 lead headed to the fourth quarter. Ray had a 10-point night off the bench for the Lady Red, including her acrobatic shot to beat the third quarter horn that bounced off the rim, off the backboard and through the basket.

Cocke County took a five-point edge early in the fourth quarter on a Hannah Miller jumper and the Lady Red never allowed the Lady Trojans to climb closer than two points to the lead.

Big baskets by junior post player Kaitlyn Martin highlighted the period, one of which gave the Lady Red a 45-40 lead with 2:50 to play. Martin and senior post Alison Atha were also a big presence on the boards combining for 12 rebounds against an imposing front line for Morristown West.

After Abbie Craine hit a shot to cut the lead to 45-42 with 2:31 to play, Cocke County then held the ball for the next 1:55, as Morristown West had to commit six fouls to send the Lady Red to the
free-throw line.

Ray missed the front-end of a bonus free-throw and Morristown West appeared to be poised to tie the game when they found an open Jenna Potts in the corner for an open three-point look. However Ball blocked the shot and thwarted the attempt.

“(Morristown West) did what they wanted to do - they got the shot they wanted,” Byrd said. “Allison just hustled out there and I don’t even know that (Potts) knew that (Ball) was there.

“That was huge and that saved the game,” Byrd said. “That shot probably would’ve went in.”

Cocke County missed another pair of front end of bonus free-throws, but Morristown West had three looks at shots in the final 15 seconds but none would fall.

“I thought we did the right things and had opportunities at the end, we just couldn’t make the big shots,” Galyon said. “We’ll come back, I think we’re in good position to make some things happen.

“I think we have the right play, we just have to execute it a little bit better,” Galyon said.

Meanwhile, Cocke County will have to put their first place ranking on the line when they host Sevier County tonight (6:30 p.m.). The game is a key game, as the Lady Red need to win two of their final four games to clinch a critical top two-seeding in the upcoming District 2-AAA tournament. CCHS can clinch a tie for second place with one more win on their schedule.

The tournament’s top two seeds receive a bye to the semifinal round and automatically qualify for the regional tournament.

“Tomorrow night is a scary game for me - win or lose (Monday night),” Byrd said. “As quickly as we gained (first place), it can be taken away.

“I’m preaching to the girls not to have any let downs, they’ve got a firm hold on it and we have to come out and play just like we did tonight,” Byrd said.

COCKE COUNTY (45): Allison Ball 6-13 0-0 14; Jordan Ray 4-12 0-2 10; Mika Wester 2-5 3-4 7; Kaitlyn Martin 2-5 2-3 6; Sharina Cofield 1-5 0-0 2; Delessa Stewart 1-3 0-0 2; Hannah Miller 1-3 0-0 2; Alison Atha 1-1 0-0 2; Hayley Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-47 5-9 45.

MORRISTOWN WEST (42): Jecca Simerly 6-6 1-3 13; Christina Zimmerman 3-10 2-4 8; Abbie Craine 3-7 1-4 7; Kelsey Lawson 2-4 0-0 6; Jenna Potts 2-9 0-0 6; Tia Dailey 1-3 0-0 2; Haylee Seals 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 4-11 42.

3-point goals--Morristown West 4-17 (Kelsey Lawson 2-4; Jenna Potts 2-7; Abbie Craine 0-1; Tia Dailey 0-2; Haylee Seals 0-3), Cocke County 4-16 (Allison Ball 2-4; Jordan Ray 2-5; Sharina Cofield 0-4; Hannah Miller 0-2; Mika Wester 0-1). Fouled out--Morristown West-None, Cocke County-None. Rebounds--Morristown West 33 (Jecca Simerly 7), Cocke County 28 (Kaitlyn Martin 7). Assists--Morristown West 11 (Abbie Craine 4; Haylee Seals 4), Cocke County 7 (Allison Ball 2). Total fouls--Morristown West 16, Cocke County 10. Technical fouls--Morristown West-None, Cocke County-None.

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