published Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

East Hamilton returns to final

EAST HAMILTON 54, TYNER 39

Tyner 7 13 10 9 — 39

East Hamilton 11 14 15 14 — 54

Tyner (39) -- Mia Smith 11, Montgomery 7, Turner 6, McElvain 2, Parks 7, Hines 6, Roberts, West, Hudgins.

East Hamilton (54) -- Jessica Caudle 17, Juliette Harp 11, Woods 1, K. Caudle 4, Zackery 9, Moon 6, Wood 6.

3-point goals: Tyner 1 (Smith); East Hamilton 1 (Zackery). Records: East Hamilton 25-8; Tyner 11-17.

ATHENS, Tenn. — It took a while for East Hamilton senior Jessica Caudle to embrace being a leader of the Lady Hurricanes basketball team, yet graduation last spring and defections before this season gave her little choice.

And when the time has come for somebody to lead, she's had no problem being at the forefront.

Caudle scored 17 points as the Lady Hurricanes advanced to the Region 3-AA championship game with a 54-39 victory Monday against Tyner at McMinn County. The Lady Hurricanes (25-8) will face McMinn Central at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in a rematch of the past two region finals.

"Shots weren't falling for us tonight, so we had to depend on our defense, and our defense was able to turn into offense," Caudle said.

"We always thought deep down that we could make it back [to the region championship], but it had to be more of a team aspect this year. We have the same amount of talent, but we had to find a way to play with it."

The teams traded leads in the first half, with the Lady Hurricanes taking a 25-20 lead into the locker room. They stretched that margin to double digits in the third quarter.

"We just had to put the ball into the hands of the person that got us here," East Hamilton coach Derek Morris said about Caudle. "I wouldn't have put us back here after the first couple of games, but I'm extremely proud of this group. They've had very little drama and have come together as a team."

Juliette Harp added 11 points for the Lady Hurricanes.

The Lady Rams (11-17) were without Kennedi Speight, who had to miss the game. They were led by Mia Smith's 11 points.

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