ENGLEWOOD, Tenn. — The difference Saturday evening between the fourth-ranked McMinn Central girls' basketball team and Meigs County came in the second quarter of their District 5-AA game, when the Chargerettes outscored the Lady Tigers by 19 points on the way to a 74-35 victory.
It could have been because of the three starters the visitors didn't have in that span, but a little credit also should be paid to one the hosts did have: Elizabeth Masengil.
The 5-foot-11 senior finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and four steals -- becoming the program's all-time leading scorer in the process -- as the Chargerettes improved to 20-3 for the season with a 74-35 spanking of the Lady Tigers. It was a far cry from the teams' first meeting, a two-point McMinn Central victory.
Masengil had 17 points in the second period, when she hit nine of 10 free throws. The quarter started with two early 3-pointers by Peyton Williams. Meigs starters Taylor Boggess, Brandi Kilpatrick and Emileigh Swafford spent most of the period on the bench with three fouls each.
"We started to hit shots," McMinn Central coach Johnny Morgan said, "and I think Meigs had to work so hard that when they missed, it snowballed in their mind. We were scoring every time downcourt, and if you're hitting shots, it helps your confidence."
The margin was 40-17 at halftime and never dropped below 20 the rest of the way.
Meigs took a chance leaving the Chargerettes' Kelsey Young open, and she made them pay by hitting three 3s and scoring 19 points in the Chargerettes' seventh straight win after consecutive losses during Christmas break.
Swafford finished with 10 points to lead Meigs (18-5, 3-3), followed by Madison Hampton's nine points and four assists.
"I just think we're more experienced now," Masengil said. "We've had some players step up and find their place because they really want to help this team go far. We're playing together; we're playing better as a team."