Jaycie Jenkins totaled 44 points, seven rebounds, six steals, five 3-pointers and two assists, but her efforts wouldn’t have been enough to carry Daniel Boone to the victory without the buzzer-beating shots of Kayla Gibson and Savannah Jessee.
In a stunning back-and-forth, thrill-a-minute contest, the Lady Trailblazers emerged with a 74-68 triple- overtime upset of Jefferson County in the Region 1-AAA basketball semifinals Monday night at Morristown East.
“We talked about three things: take care of the ball, rebound and the last thing we talk about all the time is mental toughness,” said Boone coach Beau Hauldren. “Our girls were dead, their girls were dead. We were fortunate to come out on top.”
Boone (20-11) earned a berth in Wednesday’s region championship game, which will be moved to Science Hill after the Lady Hilltoppers stopped a determined Sevier County team 52-47 in Monday’s other semifinal.
Science Hill (26-7) will host Boone on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at The New Gym. Both teams also earned berths in Saturday’s sectional round, where a berth in the state tournament will be at stake.
FIGHT TO THE FINISH
Jenkins played all but 1½ minutes of the 44-minute contest.
“I was pretty tired,” she said. “There at the end I was getting cramps in my calves, but I pushed through it.”
Jenkins made 13 of 24 shots, 5 of 9 from behind the arc, and hit 13 of 17 free throws. Boone was 10-for- 20 from the line heading into the overtime periods but made 13 of its last 14 attempts.
Boone appeared to be done in regulation after missing a shot with under 30 seconds to go and Jeff County getting the rebound. But the Lady Patriots, leading 49-46, turned it over. With the clock ticking under five seconds, Jenkins found Gibson in the corner and she drained a 3-pointer to force overtime.
Gibson finished with 10 points and was the only other Boone player in double figures.
Denton paced the Lady Patriots (24-6) with 24 points. Makayla Alvey added 16 points and Kali McMahan had 14 and Alex Gramann contributed 10 for the District 2 champions.
Jefferson County battled back from a five-point deficit and tied the game at 56. In the final 12.5 seconds, there were two turnovers and almost a third.
Jefferson County took a 64-62 lead with 30 seconds left on a wing trey from Madee Denton. With the clock ticking under five seconds, Jenkins tried to get off a shot in traffic but it was blocked. Jessee picked up the loose ball in the lane and banked in a shot before the buzzer.
Jenkins said the shots by Gibson and Jessee, “gave us all the hope and energy we needed.”
The bucket served as Jessee’s only points of the game.
“Savannah didn’t have the best game tonight,” Hauldren said, “but obviously that was a great shot.”
Jefferson County was down three of its top players because of fouls and Jenkins salted away the win by knocking down free throws. Jenkins also hit a 3 and scored seven of Boone’s 10 points in the third overtime.
LADY HILLTOPPERS PREVAIL
Sevier County was a pesky bunch. The Lady Hilltoppers tried to pull away several time only to see the Lady Bears answer.
Science Hill finally capped it in the final minute of the game. Her team leading 47-44, Alasia Smith came up with a steal and raced down for a layup with 45 seconds to go.
“Our kids have been through it,” said Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley. “I think our schedule helped us get to this point. Defense and rebounding. It always travels. Sevier County played great.”
Smith totaled 31 points and close to 20 rebounds, most on the offensive end.
“I felt like a rebound queen,” she said with a smile and a laugh. “I had a good rebounding night. Rebounding wins big games. I had to do what I had to do.”
Jasmin Myers added eight points for Science Hill.
Amanda Clabo had 14 and McKenna Loveday totaled 12 for Sevier County (18-13).