MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Jason Powell understated the obvious after his Meigs County girls' basketball team had its season ended by top-ranked and unbeaten Union City on Friday.
"There's a reason why they're 36-0. It's just so hard to simulate their size and physicality," Powell said after the third-ranked Lady Tigers lost 50-41 in the semifinals of the Class A state tournament.
Union City used both those attributes in racing to a 21-5 first-quarter lead.
The Lady Tornadoes pounded the post on the offensive end with Tamara Nettles scoring eight of her 12 points in the first six minutes and also harassed Meigs County with their physical defense into just one made field goal in the first eight minutes.
The Lady Tigers committed nine of their 14 turnovers in the first half and hit just five of 20 shots from the field during that time.
For the game, Meigs shot just 12-of-39 (30.8 percent) and hit just one of its 13 3-point tries.
"We had some good looks early, and if we could've made a couple, maybe it'd have been different," Powell added.
Meigs County, which finished an otherwise stellar year at 32-5, trailed by 17 in the second quarter and by as many as 19 in the third before whittling the difference under double figures with gritty play to the final horn.
Lee University signee Emileigh Swafford, who hit 19 of 21 free throws in a quarterfinal victory over second-ranked Clarkrange, was perfect on all 11 of her tries against Union City and finished with a team-best 17 points.
"These girls gave everything they had to get to this point," Powell said. "They've given our freshmen and other kids someone to look up to and something to build on."
Amber Fair, bound for Union University, posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds for Union City.