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Lady Red force three-way tie for first place

Lady Red sophomore post Hannah Ward looks to make a move in the paint in the second half of Cocke County's district vicotry over Seymour High.
Published: 7:19 PM, 01/06/2013 Last updated: 7:30 PM, 01/06/2013

Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-The Cocke County Lady Red continue to buy into head coach Jeremy Byrd's system, and it's continuing to translate into wins on the floor.

The Lady Red took down unbeaten Seymour on Friday evening, 52-42, and are now in a three-way tie atop the District 2-AAA standings.

The willingness of the Lady Red to commit themselves to a 'team-first' mentality has made all of the difference in the world for this basketball squad.

"I'm at a loss for words," Byrd said. "The girls have bought in and so far it's worked. I think the ability has always been there. It has nothing to do with their ability or me giving them a gift because they already had the gift."

"I think discipline was a lot of the problem and they've come a long way with that. I think organization and maybe just a little mental weakness (was a problem), but we've turned that around. That's probably the difference in my opinion, because the ability has been there. That's a good group of girls in that locker room. I was just there to let them know that they do have talent and to give them a little confidence," Byrd said.

Cocke County (9-8, 5-1) didn't take control until early in the fourth quarter, but once they jumped out to a double digit lead, the Lady Eagles had a difficult time working their way back into the game.
Being tied for first place is certainly huge for the Lady Red and it was a preseason goal. But while they took advantage of this opportunity, they still have a ton of games ahead of them.

"It makes us feel good. That was our goal," Byrd said. "I told them after the first of the week. I said girls if we win Friday we're tied for first. It's there. The opportunity's there, but we have to take advantage of all of the opportunities that we get because they don't come around often. They took advantage of this one."

"Tomorrow we're back to the drawing board. We gave (Seymour) a lot of chances there late, and I think they were tired probably coming off of that break. They missed a few free throws, a few opportunities and I credit my girls for that because we made it hard on (Seymour)."

"We play that team again down there and that's going to be a different story. They'll have their legs under them and they'll make those big shots. So we're going to prepare for them. We're going to prepare," Byrd said.

The first quarter was sloppy on both sides as Seymour led, 11-10. Cocke County grabbed the lead by halftime, 22-20, thanks to a pair of Mika Wester free throws.

The Lady Red also led 36-29 at the end of the third and stretched the lead out to as many as 11 points in the fourth after an Allison Ball basket.

Ball led the Lady Red with 13. Hannah Miller added 11 in the victory.

Seymour (12-7, 5-1) chipped the lead to six but the Lady Red quickly pushed the lead back out on free throws from Ball, Sharina Cofield and Hannah Ward.

"We took advantage of our opportunities. The first half we didn't," Byrd said. "We had layup after layup and blew it. I was getting the right combination of girls in there and we finally started taking advantage of what we created for ourself."

Cocke County will try and keep the momentum going once again as they host Morristown East on Tuesday. The Lady Red won the season's earlier scheduled meeting by three points in early December and then won another battle in a consolation game at the LandAir Ladies' Classic.

"We'll celebrate this win tonight and go back to the drawing board tomorrow," Byrd said. "We can't sleep on Morristown East. They have some young talent, they've got playmakers and they have an
excellent coach. She'll have them ready to play."

The Lady Red also hope to have point guard Jordan Ray back soon (foot injury). There's a chance she could be cleared for Tuesday's matchup with the Lady 'Canes.

CCHS (52): Allison Ball 13, Hannah Miller 11, Hannah Ward 9, Sharina Cofield 7, Mika Wester 6, Hayley Miller 3, Delessa Stewart 3.

Seymour (42): Kasey Norman 13, Lexie Justus 11, Mariah Flynn 7, Mikayla Harris 3, Hannah Schrimpter 2, Caroline Ford 2, Victoria Nelson 2, Payton King 2.

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