PIKEVILLE, Tenn. - If McMinn Central coach Johnny Morgan has a gripe about his girls' basketball team, it's that the Chargerettes sometimes have a "Jekyll and Hyde" type complex.
Tuesday night against Bledsoe County, Hyde might have made a brief appearance, but Jekyll soon took over.
Kelsey Myers, Elizabeth Masengil and Elizabeth Trentham combined for 60 points, and the Chargerettes forced 29 turnovers in a 73-57 victory over the Lady Warriors.
Myers got a bevy of open looks from about 10 feet out as the Lady Warriors went to a box-and-one from the start on Masengil. The adjustment phase took a while for the Chargerettes, but they got going by forcing turnovers on the defensive end and converting on offense.
"I thought we played pretty well at times, but early on I could tell we were scared," Morgan said. "There's a difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. Early on we were playing not to lose. I just encourage the girls to go out and play and not think things out so much. They're in a zone, and I'm having to instruct girls as to where to go in our offense.
"It's just mental."
Bledsoe County jumped to a 17-7 lead, breaking the McMinn Central press for wide-open layups. The Chargerettes closed the deficit to four points going into the second quarter and took a 21-18 lead on 3s by Caitlyn Casteel and Masengil. Bledsoe responded with an 8-0 run, but McMinn Central countered with a 12-3 spurt to lead by four going into halftime.
A three-point play by Destanie Smith cut an eight-point Chargerettes lead to 39-34 two minutes into the third quarter, but the Lady Warriors suffered a blow with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter when senior Alyssa Rackley hit the floor face-first. She had to be escorted out of the game and was being transported to an orthodontist.
"Losing her really hurt us. She's a senior and has been our leader all year long," Bledsoe coach Susan Warden said.
Rackley had nine rebounds and five blocks when she was injured.
"We started well tonight, and I'm proud of our effort," Warden said. "I believe that our ability to play with them at times tonight gave us confidence, and it'll motivate us to see that we played well against them."
With their top inside presence out, the Lady Warriors had no answer for the Chargerettes' trio of posts. Myers eclipsed her career high of 18 points in the third quarter and finished with 29, while Masengil scored 23 points despite hitting only 2-for-13 at the foul line. She added 10 rebounds and seven steals.
"I just tell the girls to throw the ball to the open person," Morgan said. "If you have two players that average 30 points a night, it's going to be hard for teams to run a box-and-one against us."
Halei LeQuire finished with five 3s and 19 points for Bledsoe (9-6). Smith added 17 and four assists.