McMinn Central stays home by staying inside

McMinn Central stays home by staying inside

February 28th, 2013 by Gene Henley in Sports - Preps

McMinn Central's Bailey Gray goes past East Hamilton's Juliette Harp Wednesday at McMinn County High School.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Region 3-AA Championship

MCMINN CENTRAL 68, EAST HAMILTON 46

East Hamilton 13 8 17 8 -- 46

McMinn Central 24 15 19 10 -- 68

East Hamilton (46) -- Jessica Caudle 22, Petitt, Harp 9, Stovall, Woods, K. Caudle 2, McCullum, Zackery 9, Moon 4, Wood.

McMinn Central (68) -- Tillman 2, Morrow 4, S. Williams 8, Truelove, P. Williams 6, J. Young, K. Young 7, Coleman, Elizabeth Masengil 25, Elizabeth Trentham 14, Casteel, Atkins, Gray 2.

3-point goals: East Hamilton none; McMinn Central 2 (Morrow, S. Williams). Records: McMinn Central 29-3; East Hamilton 25-9.

ATHENS, Tenn. - McMinn Central High School basketball coach Johnny Morgan looked at simple mathematics prior to his team's Region 3-AA championship game against East Hamilton on Wednesday. He had three forwards that could bang inside; the Lady Hurricanes had one primary post option in junior Juliette Harp.

Elizabeth Masengil, Elizabeth Trentham and Bailey Gray combined for 41 points and 16 rebounds Wednesday, and the Chargerettes were able to claim their third consecutive region championship with a 68-46 victory over the Lady Hurricanes at McMinn County.

The Chargerettes (29-3) will host the loser of the Region 4-AA championship game against Livingston Academy and Cannon County on Saturday, while East Hamilton will travel for the third consecutive season.

"If we have outside shots, we're going to take them, but I'd rather take easy shots inside," Morgan said. "All three of them played well; East Hamilton has one [inside] girl, and we're throwing different players in at her all game.

"We felt we could score inside with the people we had, and we did."

The physical, chippy contest included 42 fouls called. East Hamilton guard Jessica Caudle alone was 14-for-23 at the foul line, with the Lady Hurricanes shooting 16-for-27 as a team. The Chargerettes were 14-for-28, but continued to pound the ball inside to their trio of bigs.

"The physical games are the best," said Trentham, who had 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks. "It's hard to play in them at times because there are so many fouls called, and it took us a while to get in the flow, but we were good once we were able to get there.

"I'm proud of the girls, that we were able to win and get the sub-state game at home."

McMinn Central (29-3) jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. It was 39-21 at the half, and the lead had reached 20 by the end of the third quarter.

Caudle finished with 22 points to lead the Lady Hurricanes (25-9). Harp added nine points and eight rebounds.

"We played hard and didn't quit," East Hamilton coach Derek Morris said. "We got frustrated and had to work through it, but we played our guts out.

"We've been down this road, but this group has been resilient all year, and we've bounced back after losses. Hopefully we can be competitive on Saturday and see what happens from there."