SILVERDALE BAPTIST 62, SALE CREEK 58
Sale Creek 16 9 23 10 -- 58
Silverdale 11 11 22 18 -- 62
Sale Creek (58) -- Welch, Storey 4, Erin Hill 13, Alexis Wolff 18, Krissy Hodge 10, Barnette, Hixson 3, May, Mikayla Crowder 10.
Silverdale Baptist Academy (62) -- Alosi 2, Mariah Massengill 26, Sloane Woodard 14, Redmond 3, Skelton 3, Megan Lewis 14, Sims.
3-point goals: Sale Creek 8 (Wolff 6, Hill, Hixson); Silverdale 6 (Lewis 4, Woodard, Massengill). Records: Silverdale 20-8; Sale Creek 22-6.
Silverdale Baptist Academy sat back in a zone defense throughout its girls' Region 3-A high school basketball semifinal Monday, waiting on Sale Creek to start missing some outside shots. And it looked as though time might run out on the Lady Seahawks' strategy -- until the last half of the fourth quarter.
The Lady Panthers' shooting went ice cold down the stretch and they did not score in the final 4:40, and Silverdale was able to overtake them for a 62-58 victory at Sale Creek.
Silverdale (20-8) will play Whitwell (25-8) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Sale Creek for the region championship. Both of those teams will move on to state sectionals Saturday.
The Lady Panthers led all through the game with the exceptions of ties at 7 and 35. When Megan Storey connected on a two-point jump shot from the top of the key with 4:42 remaining, they matched their largest lead at 58-49.
But the Lady Seahawks scored the game's final 13 points, taking the lead on Mariah Massengill's three-point play with 1:43 remaining.
Silverdale coach David Massengill said a slight tweak defensively made a big difference.
"I had us in a 2-3 zone and changed defenses to a 3-2," the coach said. "I thought that's what helped get us back in the game. We had to get some stops. This game is all about getting stops and making some plays."
His daughter is used to making plays, but she was limited to two points in the first half. Her dad said she's been battling a virus, as well as having a cut on a finger on her shooting hand, but the Eastern Kentucky signee came out and produced 24 points in the second half.
"My Division I point guard didn't play well in the first half," Coach Massengill said. "We talked at halftime. I don't know what was wrong. I just looked at her and she said, 'I'll be there.' She showed up in the second half and attacked the rim more with her speed."
Megan Lewis, who made four 3s, and Sloane Woodard scored 14 points each for Silverdale.
Lady Panthers Krissy Hodge and Mikayla Crowder worked the inside for 10 points apiece, and Alexis Wolff answered the challenge against the zone by making six 3-point shots. Erin Hill had a 3-pointer among her 13 points, but she nor Wolff nor Hodge scored in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't attack it like we wanted to, and especially right there at the end we weren't able to," Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill said. "Their game plan was good. They knew what was going to be our strength."
Sale Creek ended its season 22-6.
"We're proud of them," said an emotional Coach Hill, whose daughter is a senior. "They came a long way."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.