COALMONT, Tenn.—With her teammate, and Grundy County's leading scorer, double-teamed most of the night, Haley Coffelt knew somebody had to take on the additional offensive burden against Sequatchie County.
The junior post filled that role every time the Lady Yellow Jackets needed a big basket, scoring 11 of her game-high 19 points in the third quarter to lead a 54-36 victory to open the District 7-AA tournament.
The teams had split the regular-season series, and after it appeared Grundy County was in control, the Lady Indians rallied to within nine twice in the second half. But with leading scorer Chelsey Wiseman's every step shadowed by two defenders, Coffelt made sure the visitors never got closer, answering each time at least four consecutive points.
"Coach told me I needed to rebound more and hustle more to score, and that's what I tried to do in the second half," Coffelt said. "We just got after it more, and we really, really wanted to win this game."
After Sequatchie opened with the game's first five points, back-to-back 3-pointers by Courtney Stiefel put Grundy ahead. Stiefel's treys were the first points of a 21-1 run that covered more than seven minutes of the first half.
The Lady Indians went the final four minutes of the first quarter without a field goal and didn't score another until 3:33 remained in the second quarter.
Coffelt had just one basket in the first half but scored two in less than a minute in the third quarter, then reeled off the final seven points of the period.
"So long as they were going to double Wiseman, we knew that Coffelt would be left pretty much open," Grundy County coach Leon Woodlee said. "We knew we had to pound it inside on them, and if Coffelt is on like that, we can play with anybody in the state."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...