MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Johnny Morgan first tipped his hat to McMinn Central’s opponent, then claimed foul.
“The team that beat us was better than us today, the Chargerette coach said after ninth-ranked Chargerettes’ bid to repeat as the Class 2A state champion was halted by No. 3 Obion Central in a 69-60 loss in Wednesday’s tournament quarterfinals.
“I’ve never said this before. But you know what I think the difference was? The officiating. I’ve never said that in the 15 years I’ve been over here. They didn’t call it the same on both ends. That’s what I think the difference was.”
The final stats gave some credibility to Morgan’s belief as OC shot 39 free throws (23 made) to just 13 attempted (7 made) for McMinn Central. The Chargerettes were called for 27 fouls and had three players — Miss Basketball finalist Elizabeth Masengil, Kelsey Young and Peyton Williams — foul out in the fourth quarter.
Obion Central’s Brandi Goodman scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out and dominated play in the post as the Lady Rebels pulled away over the final either minutes after entering the stretch run with a slim 40-39 edge.
The 6-2 Goodman, who sank a halfcourt heave at the end of the opening quarter for her first 3-pointer of the season, but then sat the final four minutes of the first half with her third personal, also finished with 13 rebounds before fouling out herself with 1:34 to play.
McMinn Central (25-8), which was seeking its third consecutive trip to the state finals, set a tournament record with 34 3-pointers attempted, but made just nine — including a 4-for-20 effort in the first half.
Masengil spent most of the game frustrated by Obion Central’s box-in-one defense that limited her touches.
She finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, but attempted just eight field goals.
Young led McMinn Central with 16 points, while Elizabeth Trentham gave the team a trio of double-figure scorers with 10.
Obion Central (34-2) will play Stone Memorial (23-12) in the second of Friday’s two semifinal games after No. 1 Livingston Academy (33-3) battles unranked CPA (34-3) in noon tip-off.