Score one for the underdog.
The No. 4-seeded Centertown Lady Warriors defeated Eastside and Dibrell to advance to the championship game against the No. 2-seeded WCMS Lady Pioneers. Centertown fell behind early and trailed at the half, 13-9.
But the Lady Warriors came out in the third quarter on the warpath and outscored WCMS 11-8. Centertown held on and edged the Lady Pioneers, 28-24, to win the 5-6 grade county championship Friday night.
Centertown was led by Madison Hollis, who scored a game-high 11 points. Hollis shot 7-8 from the free-throw line and knocked down a pair of shots deep in the paint in the second quarter for her 11-point total.
It was close down the stretch and the Lady Warrior lead looked like it might have been in jeopardy late. WCMS was forced to foul to save the clock, but to no avail.
Tournament MVP Katy Mae Cantrell helped cement the win with two of her eight points in the final period. Jaden Smartt made her way around the Lady Pioneer defense to score in close. Smartt also shot five free throws and connected on two of them. Hollis was 2-of-2 in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Lady Pioneers were not in sync the final period. They were sporadic in their pursuit of the ball and once they had control, they could not convert turnovers into points. Ena Yasungar led the Lad Pioneers in the final period with four points.
Much of the defensive attention by Centertown was focused on Katie Toney, who led WCMS with eight. Toney could not find her rhythm or her range in the second half due to an aggressive defense by the Lady Warriors.
Centertown was able to maintain its lead through the final period and knocked off the heavily favored Lady Warriors by a final score of 28-24.
From the opening quarter, Centertown looked out of sync. In just the first period WCMS had built a 6-1 lead over Centertown. Toney had worked her way inside and converted two layups in close. Halo Armstrong also shared the offensive load.
The Lady Pioneer defense attacked the Lady Warriors and left them stunned after only one period. Hollis was the Lady Warrior to score, and she earned the point at the free-throw line.
The second was somewhat closer as the Lady Warriors settled in and started to find better shot selection. Hollis and Cantrell went to work inside and outrebounded WCMS in the second.
Bella Cantrell knocked down an open jump-shot for her only two points of the game and Marli McBride was perfect from the charity stripe. Centertown gained some ground on the Lady Pioneers and trailed 13-9 at the half.
The Lady Pioneers turned the tables on WCMS and the Lady Warriors went on the attack. Centertown played totally different than its previous two quarters. The Lady Warriors dominated the game on both ends of the floor. Hollis went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line as she worked inside and drew the contact.
Jaden Smartt got her first three points and Alyssa Mosley added her first and only two points of the game.
Once the Lady Warriors held the lead, they never looked back although the Lady Pioneers got close on occasion. The Lady Warriors persevered and defeated Lady Pioneers in the 5-6 girls championship game, 28-24.
LADY WARRIOR SCORING – Madison Hollis 11, Katy Mae Cantrell 8, Jaden Smartt 7, Alyssa Mosley 2
LADY PIONEER SCORING – Katie Toney 8, Ena Yasungar 6, Halo Armstrong 4, Marli McBride 2, Bella Cantrell 2, Ebonie Ross 2