WHITWELL, Tenn. - Trailing throughout, the Whitwell Lady Tigers continually tried to make runs against Van Buren County in their District 6-A basketball game Monday. Every time, though, the Lady Eagles seemed to have an answer.
The difference was that the Lady Tigers never could find an answer for Van Buren freshman Lakelyn Bouldin.
The 5-foot-8 guard/forward had 24 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists as Van Buren pulled even in the loss column with Whitwell and Sale Creek with a 59-51 victory Monday in Van Hooser Gymnasium.
While the Lady Tigers (20-6, 10-2) are done with their district schedule, Van Buren (14-8, 7-2) and Sale Creek still have games remaining. Lady Eagles coach Amy Russell said a point system will be used to determine the champion in the event of a tie.
Although Whitwell was never completely out of the game Monday, it couldn't string together the type of run needed to pull out the win. Van Buren had seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter, taking a 14-8 lead in the process.
A Shelene Hitchcock layup pushed the lead to 29-21 late in the second quarter, and then in the third two free throws by Bouldin made it 37-27.
Whitwell responded with a 10-0 surge to tie the game, but Bouldin scored seven points in a 9-1 burst that put the Spencer team up 46-38 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Tigers made one final push, trimming the deficit to 50-47 on a Kelsey Kilgore 3-pointer with 2:18 remaining. They forced a steal, but after a missed shot the Lady Eagles scored six consecutive points.
"We had to come out and be aggressive," Russell said. "We had to play four quarters of aggressive basketball. We knew Whitwell would pressure from beginning to end, and if we made mental errors, we'd be in trouble. We got to that point in the third quarter and had to refocus and regroup."
Kilgore led the Lady Tigers with 17 points, while Paige Carter added 14. Both battled foul trouble throughout. Tanika Gholston scored 11.
"Van Buren outworked us," Whitwell coach Eric Zensen said. "All night it seemed that they had two and three opportunities while we were getting one shot.
"We had a couple of mental lapses and lost track of our man in the third quarter, and every time we made a run they had an answer. All the credit goes to them."