It was a moment most people will quickly forget in the early stages of a basketball blowout, but it says a lot about the goals of the GPS team.
Ahead 11-2 in what would become a 70-33 win over Chattanooga Christian in the Times Free Press Best of Preps Tournament on Thursday at Arts & Sciences, the Bruisers committed a turnover that led to a CCS basket. Coach Susan Crownover jumped to her feet, called time out and proceeded to tell her defending state champions that such play was unacceptable.
The Bruisers then embarked on a 24-0 run that left little doubt Crownover's message was received.
"It was one of those things that -- and we thought it might be a game we could win big -- I wanted them to remain focused on what we wanted to accomplish, and that was not being sloppy and getting good execution," Crownover said.
With star guard Chadarryl Clay leading the way with 18 points, four steals and several "Did she just do that?" passes, the Bruisers (12-1) excelled in every phase of the game and spread the wealth around in reaching tonight's championship game. Simone Busby added 14 points and Brianna Farris and Jeneh Perry scored 13 each. Perry led with six rebounds, and Farris had five steals.
"We played well as a group at times in the first half and we put four people in double figures, so that's always a positive," Crownover said. "Winning's great, and playing a lot of people is good. Getting the girls that don't get to play varsity much some playing time is always useful, and we hope experience like this will help them contribute down the road."
The tournament atmosphere brought out the best in the Bruisers, noted senior post Perry, who also blocked three shots. It's also experience she hopes will lead to repeat BOP and state tournament titles.
"We usually start off really slow, so it's really good that we got a big lead tonight," Perry said. "Usually we let teams play with us until the second half. That shows progress in our team. We want to get back to state. It's something we talk about all the time, and we can't wait to get back there and try to win it again."
Mary Catherine McEwen topped the Lady Chargers (3-7) with 14 points.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...