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Lady Indians go cold late, fall in regional quarterfinals

Jeff Birchfield • Feb 28, 2020 at 11:37 PM

SEVIERVILLE — Like the weather outside Friday night, the Dobyns-Bennett girls basketball team went ice cold in the fourth quarter of a season-ending loss at Sevier County.

The Lady Indians didn’t score over the game’s final 7½ minutes, and the Bearettes closed out the Region 1-AAA quarterfinal game on a 15-0 run to take a 42-27 win.

Both teams employed a zone defense, making points hard to come by.

“I was concerned about our man defense, even though it’s usually good,” D-B coach Bill Francis. “We never see the dribble-drive and the triangle (offense). We simulated some of that in practice, but I thought if we had to play man, we would be at a disadvantage.

“Bottom line, we’re hanging on for dear life and I think if we can just make a shot ... we just couldn’t get one to go. That’s been our Achilles’ heel all season: our ability to score. We got good looks, the right shots, but we just don’t knock them down consistently.”

Down 11-5 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Indians (23-12) fought back to take the lead 15-14 on a Caitlyn Wallace basket in the final minute. Sevier County held for the last shot and went into the halftime break on top after Shilah Whaley’s 3-point shot bounced off the rim twice before dropping in.

D-B trailed 27-24 heading into the fourth quarter. Megan Ayers hit a game-tying 3-pointer, but the Lady Indians didn’t score again.

“When we took over six years ago, the culture I wanted to build, Megan Ayers represents,” Francis noted. “I’ve known her since middle school and you want to see kids grow up like her. She represents our program on and off the court so great. I just hate it had to end so quick for her tonight.”

Olivia Doran was tops for the Tribe with nine points. Jabrea Johnson scored eight and Ayers had six.

McKenna Loveday led the Bearettes (18-12) with 16 points. Whaley, the freshman post, scored a dozen.

Despite the loss, Francis was pleased with the season the Lady Indians put together after losing the school’s all-time leading scorer Courtney Whitson to graduation.

“We played a lot of close games, a lot of good teams. I like how they jelled together this year,” he said. “To lose a superstar like Courtney and three other starters, these players came in and put it on their shoulders. We won by committee and lost by committee, but they’re only going to get better.”

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