MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Unbeaten Riverdale had no trouble dispensing of Brentwood in the opening game of the 2013 TSSAA girls state basketball tournament on Wednesday.
And former East Hamilton standout Tiffany Lewis played a big part in the Lady Warriors’ 83-37 rout of the outclassed Lady Bruins at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center.
Lewis, a 5-foot-8-inch senior shooting guard, scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. She made 4-of-7 3-pointers and helped the Lady Warriors set a tournament single-game record with 12 3s. They were 12-of-30 for the game.
The old mark was 10 held by nine teams, including Bradley Central versus Sullivan East in 2000.
“I’m happy,” Lewis said in a postgame interview.
Lewis’ 23 points were about 15 points higher than her season per-game average coming into Wednesday’s tournament-opening game.
Lewis has remained in touch with former Lady Hurricanes teammates, but is thrilled now that she was able to transfer to Riverdale, the state’s top-ranked team and rated No. 5 nationally by USA Today.
The Lady Warriors are 33-0 after Wednesday’ run-away victory.
When her mother telephoned her with the news she was ready to relocate to a new job in Rutherford County, Lewis was at first tentative about making the move.
Then, her mother asked her one important question: Would you like to play basketball at Riverdale?
“I said yes,” Lewis said a few minutes after the Lady Warriors’ 56th consecutive win.
Lewis went from an East Hamilton team that breezed through the District 6-AA regular season undefeated, won the tournament and lost to McMinn Central, 68-46, in the Region 3-AAA tournament.
East Hamilton was eliminated from the postseason with a 72-54 loss to Livingston Academy in the sub-state round.
“I stay in touch with some of the girls at East Hamilton,” Lewis said. “I know they had a real good season.”
It didn’t take Lewis long to adapt to her new surroundings at Riverdale, making its sixth appearance in the state tournament.
“About a week,” she said. “I’ve known Tyisha (Petty) and Olivia (Jones) a long time. It’s been great here.”
Jones scored 20 points in Wednesday’s game and Petty had 10. Alexa Middleton was the fourth Lady Warriors player in double figures with 13.
The Lady Warriors advanced to the semifinals with the easy win over Bearden and will play Memphis Central (26-5) on Friday at 10 a.m. Central time. Memphis Central beat Knoxxville Bearden, 62-43, in the tournament’s second game.
Riverdale won its third championship in 2012 when they beat Science Hill of Johnson City, 70-55, finishing the season 34-3.
Riverdale was the 2011 state runner-up, losing Memphis Central, 68-59, and wound up 34-2.
On Wednesday, the Lady Warriors built 39-19 halftime lead and were up 62-33 after three periods. Early in the fourth quarter the lead had swelled to 35 points and the game finished under the TSSAA mercy rule.
Note: Chattanooga official Greg Bartley, the Tennessee Temple University baseball coach, worked the Riverdale-Brentwood game.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)