Signal Mountain and Red Bank are the top two girls teams in District 6-AA as the Lady Eagles were in first place before Tuesday night’s rematch at Red Bank.
The Lady Eagles were 9-0 in district play and Red Bank second at 9-1 with Red Bank’s only loss being an embarrassing 64-35 loss at Signal Mountain on December 8.
They played again at Red Bank’s Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium and the results were similar as the Lady Eagles stayed in first place with an impressive 60-40 victory.
Both teams are missing key players from the first game as Signal’s Mia Rackel has since graduated and already enrolled at UTC. Red Bank was missing Mya Kennebrew, who is out with an illness, but is expected back soon.
Both coaches – Signal Mountain’s Kendra Bell and Red Bank’s Bailey McGinnis – are former Red Bank graduates and both were outstanding basketball players before Bell went to UTC and McGinnis to Tennessee Wesleyan. Both are really good coaches and fiery competitors, but Bell was the only one smiling when Tuesday’s game ended.
“We’ll take it,” Bell said after her team improved to 14-11 overall and a perfect 10-0 in District 6-AA.
“We battled really hard, so I’m really happy with the effort. We wanted to bring a lot of intensity as we like to play an up-tempo kind of game. I think we did a pretty good job of that, but we showed a lot of heart and pride in the game.
“We still have three district games left, so our goal is to stay focused and just move forward. I’m sure we might get to play them again,” Bell smiled.
Red Bank’s McGinnis could only shake her head when the final horn sounded.
“It was the same story, just a different verse,” she said after her team dropped to 20-4 overall and 9-2 in 6-AA.
“I thought our effort was there, but they out-rebounded us a lot and they wanted to get us in a running game. That’s not our style, but they had us right where they wanted us at the half. It’s all about how we finish rather than how we start, but all of this is just preparation for the district tournament.
“I try to find positives in game like this, but I can’t coach heart and desire. I hope we get another chance with them,” she concluded.
The Lady Eagles bolted to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes and had a 10-5 lead when the first quarter ended.
Julie McGann scored on a layup with 6:15 left in the second to give the Lady Eagles a 15-8 lead before the Lionettes went on an 11-2 run for a 19-17 lead following a layup by Layla Babb three minutes.
Bell called a timeout and got her girls to regroup and they responded with nine straight points. They finished the half on a 16-3 run for a 33-22 lead at the break after Kendall Davis hit a long 3 right before the buzzer.
It never got much closer as that 11-point lead stretched to 19 at 49-30 with one quarter remaining. The biggest lead of 20 points came in the final minute when Mary Witherspoon sank two free throws with 41.6 seconds to give her team a 59-39 lead.
Babb and McGann both hit a free throw for their teams after that for the final 20-point victory.
Olivia Koontz and Witherspoon both scored 13 points as the Lady Eagles had four girls in double figures.
Davis was next with a dozen while McGann finished with 11.
Bailey Lee was the leading scorer for Red Bank with 20 points. Babb was next with eight.
Signal Mountain also had an unofficial 43-32 rebounding edge as Jayla Hardy grabbed 12 for the Lady Eagles and Koontz snagged 11. Lanaja Bowens and Lee both claimed nine each for Red Bank.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN BOYS 54, RED BANK 41: Lucas Brown had a steal and layup with 1:37 to play to get Red Bank within 45-41, but the Eagles sank seven of eight free throws the rest of the way and finished on a 9-0 run to win going away.
Jarren Rodden had 17 points for the Eagles, now 15-11 overall and 7-4 in district play. K.T. Webb and Owen Honroth were next with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Jamel Davis scored 10 points to lead the Lions while Calvin Jackson finished with nine and Will Thomas eight.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 10 23 16 11 -- 60
RED BANK 5 17 8 10 -- 40
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN (60) – Davis 12, Hardy 5, Sitton 2, McGann 11, Witherspoon 13, Hansen 4, Koontz 13.
RED BANK (40) – Roberts, Babb 8, Pratt 1, Romans 5, Ware, Claiborne 4, Bowen 2, Lee 20.
3-POINT GOALS: Signal Mountain 5 (Davis 3, Witherspoon, Koontz); Red Bank none.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 11 8 13 22 -- 54
RED BANK 9 11 8 13 -- 41
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN (54) – Howley 3, Allen 4, Sylvestro 5, Webb 14, Honroth 11, Rodden 17.
RED BANK (41) – Brown 7, Jones 5, Thomas 8, Jackson 9, Porter, Young 2, Davis 10.
3-POINT GOALS: Signal Mountain 2 (Sylvestro, Honroth); Red Bank 1 (Thomas).
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)