Clarkrange 15 6 13 14 -- 48
Whitwell 13 8 6 13 -- 40
Clarkrange (48) -- Cheyenne Shaver 10, Rains 4, Lindsey Crabtree 16, Dailey, Owens, Brittany Cooper 18.
Whitwell (40) -- Gholston 4, Bennington 6, Atterton, Coppinger 9, Paige Carter 10, Kilgore 9, Hedrick 2.
3-point goals: Clarkrange 2 (Crabtree 2); Whitwell 2 (Coppinger, Carter). Records: Clarkrange 26-8; Whitwell 26-9.
WHITWELL, Tenn. - Having already fought its way out of an early deficit, Whitwell simply couldn't dig its way out of another one late.
The Lady Tigers rallied from an 11-point first-quarter deficit to tie the game at halftime, but fourth-ranked Clarkrange opened the second half with a 9-1 run and maintained the lead the rest of the way for a 48-40 Class A sectional win Saturday night.
"Our kids fought all night, so I can't fault the effort," Whitwell coach Eric Zensen said. "They left it all out there, but once you dig yourself into a hole like we did against a good team, it's hard to come back late."
Paige Carter led Whitwell (26-9) with 10 points.
The Lady Tigers survived a disastrous start as six turnovers in the first six minutes led to a 13-2 deficit. But once they adjusted to Clarkrange's full-court pressure, the turnovers stopped and easy scoring chances opened, allowing them to close the first quarter on a 11-2 run. Whitwell also began to press, helping to hold the Lady Buffaloes scoreless for nearly six minutes.
Whitwell, which lost last year's sectional by 21 to eventual state champion Clay County, tied Saturday's game on Alyssa Coppinger's layup with 6:32 remaining in the second quarter, and the teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter, going into halftime tied at 21.
The Lady Buffaloes (26-8) got seven quick points in less than two minutes to start the third period, beginning with a 3-pointer by Lindsey Crabtree and followed by layups by Crabtree and Brittany Cooper for an eight-point advantage. Whitwell answered with a 5-0 spurt and got within 36-34 midway through the fourth quarter. But Clarkrange closed out the game by making 10 of 11 free throws.
"The reason we play a really tough schedule is to prepare us for the postseason," said Clarkrange coach Lamar Rogers, whose team's losses have come to Region 4-A champion Jackson County, 4-AAA runner-up White County, 4-AA champion Livingston Academy and Division II-AA state champion Ensworth.
"Our girls were ready when they made their run to get back in it, and I think a lot of the reason they handled coming into a tough road game is the experience they have from earlier this season. That run to open the third quarter was huge for us. They had already shown they could come back from being down, so we needed to get a quick start to the second half."
* Jackson County 87, Silverdale 50: Jackson County limited the Lady Seahawks to 12 second-half points in advancing to the Class A state tournament.
"We were in it until the third quarter," Silverdale Baptist Academy coach David Massengill said. "That's when we lost our legs."
Mariah Massengill scored 25 points in her last game for the Lady Seahawks (20-10). Junior Jaycee Coe, a University of Kentucky commitment, had 43 points for Jackson County.