Sometimes coaching basketball isn't brain surgery. It's not even calculus.
Tuesday night at Notre Dame High School, Tennessee Girls All-Star coach Wes Moore made it as simple as three plus two. It added up to a winning combination as the Tennessee All-Stars defeated Georgia 66-57 in the 11th annual game, sponsored by Stump on Sports.
Both Moore and his opposite number, Georgia coach Mike Durham, spent much of the first half subbing five girls at a time. But as halftime rolled around and Tennessee trailing 36-28, Moore's plan took shape.
"All we have a guards, but my girls assured me they were in shape because most of them were getting read for their new college programs," said Moore, who coaches the Notre Dame girls during the prep season. "My two quickest girls were obvious, and so was putting them with the three McMinn Central girls, who you knew were in shape."
Tennessee's roster included two girls who play basketball at a different pace than most girls their age in GPS' Brianna Farris and Silverdale's Mariah Massengill, both of whom are headed to solid college programs.
"We started pushing the ball," said Massengill. "We found another gear that they weren't expecting, but my AAU team and Eastern Kentucky, where I'm going, push the ball even more than this. Up tempo is my game."
Massengill finished the night with 12 points, seven assists and three steals, but she admitted her priority in the third quarter was "distributing the ball."
Tennessee began the second half on an 11-2 run, with McMinn Central's Hayley Morrow hitting a pair of 3-point shots. But Georgia's not-so-secret weapon this night was Southeast Whitfield's Megan Collins. The only true post player on either team, she had a remarkable first half with19 points and seven rebounds -- then promptly finished second in the 3-point shooting contest.
Collins, playing one final game for her prep coach, was less dominant in the second half, but she and Northwest Whitfield's Kaitlin Wade combined to keep things close. In fact, Georgia held a 48-46 lead before Cleveland's Sydnie Anderson converted a three-point play to retake the lead.
Three Collilns free throws tied the game at 53 with 6:00 to play, but those her final points of the night. Still, she tied a Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Game record with 24 points, adding 15 rebounds for good measure. But Tennessee answered with an 8-0 run with Massengill and McMinn Central's Kelsey Young each hitting a pair of field goals to put Tennessee up for keeps.
Any chance Georgia had of closing ground was wasted as the team hit only one of eight free throws over the final minute.
"We wanted to play a transition game, and it paid off in the second half," said Moore. "Mariah is so quick and so good off the dribble, it's doubly tough trying to guard her," Moore said.
The Georgia MVP Collins, has played her last competitive basketball game, it seems.
"She's going to Jacksonville University to major in microbiology," said Durham. "She's already earned some college credits -- she came here after being in class this morning. "She was a joy to coach, but she's said she's tired of it."
Balanced Tennessee was led by Farris' 14 points, followed by Massengill and Morrow with 12 apiece and Anderson with 10. Besides Collins' 25 points, no Georgian scored more than seven.
Farris was the winner of the 3-point shooting contest held at halftime. Collins, one of only two Georgia all-stars opting to participate, finished second.
GEORGIA (57) -- Curtis 2, Thomas 7, Woodfin 6, Suttles 2, Blackwell 7, Hunter 2, T> Parris, Wade 7, Megan Collins 24. 3-point goals:4 (Collins 2, Blackwell, Thomas).
TENNESSEE (66) -- Williams, Caudle 5, Sydnie Anderson 10, Young 4, Mariah Massengill 12, LeQuire , Hayley Morrow 12, Brianna Farris 14, Towery 4, Withrow 3.
3-point goals: 10 (Morrow 4, Farris 2, Anderson, Caudle, Massengill, Withrow.)
Georgia 15 21 12 9 -- 57
Tennessee 14 14 23 15 -- 66