published Friday, March 7th, 2014

Swafford leads Meigs past Clarkrange

Cookeville Herald-Citizen

Class A Girls' State Quarterfinal

MEIGS COUNTY 67, CLARKRANGE 65

Meigs County 21 14 13 19 -- 67

Clarkrange 13 17 10 25 -- 65

Meigs County (67) -- Emileigh Swafford 30, Brandi Kilpatrick 18, Taylor Boggess 10, Hampton 5, Davis 4.

Clarkrange (65) -- Brittany Cooper 24, Kara Meadows 22, Shaver 9, Van Ruden 5, Smith 3, Daily 2.

3-point goals: Meigs 3 (Boggess 2, Swafford); Clarkrange 4 (Cooper, Shaver, Smith, Van Ruden). Other highlights: Swafford 7 r, 3 s (MC); Cooper 14 r; Meadows 9 r; Tesia Daily 9 a (C). Records: Meigs County 32-4; Clarkrange 32-4.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The Meigs County girls made good use of their free-throw shooting practice Thursday in the Class A state basketball quarterfinals.

The No. 3-ranked Lady Tigers shot 34-of-41 at the free-throw stripe -- compared to 15-of-19 for Clarkrange -- and edged the No. 2 Lady Buffaloes 67-65 at Middle Tennessee State's Murphy Center.

"It's just awesome for the seniors in their first trip here, with the bright lights and everything, to go out like that," Meigs coach Jason Powell said.

Meigs County got a huge game from Lee University signee Emileigh Swafford, who poured in 30 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. She made 19 of 21 free throws.

"I honestly didn't know [how big a game I'd had] at first, but I knew my team was ready to play," Swafford said. "We had worked so hard to get here. I just thought we all played like a team, and we played as hard as we could."

The Lady Tigers (32-4) will face top-ranked Union City in the semifinals today at 4:45 p.m. EST.

Brandi Kilpatrick added 18 points for Meigs and made all 10 of her free throws, while Taylor Boggess chipped in 10 points.

Meigs appeared to be cruising to the finish line, up 67-59 after Swafford's pair of free throws with 25 seconds left. But Brittany Cooper buried a 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining, and Swafford was called for an offensive foul on the inbound pass.

Cooper missed a quick 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, but Kara Meadows grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled while making the basket and sank the resulting free throw to cut the deficit to 67-65 with six seconds left.

On the other end of the floor, Boggess missed a pair of free throws to give the Lady Buffaloes another chance, but Lexi Smith's desperation 3-pointer fell short as time expired.

Cooper led Clarkrange (32-4) with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Meadows added 22 points and nine rebounds. However, three lineup regulars fouled out and the Lady Buffaloes were whistled for 27 fouls compared to 15 for the Lady Tigers.

Clarkrange coach Lamar Rogers called it "the most one-sided officiated game we've had all year."

Rogers added, "This was outlandish from the get-go. I've watched games down here for two days; then I couldn't run two offenses because every time we tried to, they said we were setting a moving pick. We needed to play better, but you can't give up 41 free throws and us shoot 19 and be successful against a good team."

Clarkrange seemingly took the momentum at the start of the third quarter, scoring the first six points and going ahead 36-35 on Cooper's putback with 5:10 left that capped an 11-0 run.

But the Lady Tigers answered with back-to-back 3-pointers from Boggess and Swafford.

"We pretty much live and die [from long range]," Powell said. "That's what we try to do is space the floor against man [defense] and dribble-kick. Against zone it's the same thing -- get in the gaps. We shot pretty well yesterday in the walk-through at UTC. That was a little bit of a concern of mine, coming from a small gym to the Big Apple, per se."

Meigs County came to play, trading baskets with Clarkrange from the start until Boggess' midrange jump shot gave the Lady Tigers an 11-10 lead with 3:10 left in the first quarter.

That score sparked a 10-1 run that gave Meigs County a 19-11 advantage, one that held steady until late in the second quarter. Swafford's driving layup with 1:13 left made it 35-25, but Clarkrange grabbed some momentum in the final moments, as Cooper made an inside basket with 52 seconds remaining.

After a Faith Van Ruden steal, Cheyenne Shaver drained a 3-pointer from way beyond the arc with 13 seconds remaining to make it a 35-30 game at halftime.

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