Bearettes beat the buzzer vs. South-Doyle
With roughly four minutes left in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s District 2-AAA Tournament opener, it looked as though the Sevier County Bearettes’ season was headed for an abrupt ending.
The sixth-seeded Bearettes (14-15, 6-8 in regular-season district play) trailed eight-seed South-Doyle (4-19, 1-13) by eight points, and nothing was seeming to go right for the Purple and White.
“I knew it was going to be tough (to come back),” SCHS coach Stacy Marine said. “We were down eight, and I felt like (South-Doyle) was playing really well. They were knocking down shots.
“(And Lady Cherokee Erin Ketron) banks in that three to go up eight, and you’re going, ‘man, it’s just their night.’”
Slowly but surely Marine’s Bearettes battled back, though, and an improbable 18-foot desperation jumper at the buzzer from senior Taylor Chapman kept the team’s postseason hopes alive, 48-46.
Down 42-34 with half of the final quarter already behind them, the Bearettes made their move.
“We go out and pressured and got some steals, knocked down a couple shots, put together a couple of rebounds, made some free throws and fought our way back in the game,” Marine said.
Five-straight points from senior Kelsey Wypych narrowed the gap to three, 42-39, in just seconds.
Big play down low from Brittany Tarr helped the Bearettes close to within two minutes later, when the sophomore hit a tightly-contested bucket inside, which made the score 46-43.
Then, with 1:36 on the clock, sophomore Katlyn Davis buried a 3-pointer from the left side to knot the score at 46-46.
“Once it was 46-46 I thought we looked like we had it,” Marine said.
After a key defensive stop on the Lady Cherokees’ end, Marine called for one final shot for his Bearettes.
As the clock moved to within 10 seconds, the SCHS squad looked for Chapman, but the ball was tipped and didn’t transfer to her cleanly.
“I got really lucky to catch it, I had looked up at the clock and had two-point-something seconds left,” Chapman said.
She handled the situation like a senior, however, corraling the ball and firing away on a deep jumper for the win.
Moments later, the Bearettes’ fans erupted with the thrill of victory as Chapman’s ball fell through the net and time expired.
“I shot, and luckily, it went in,” Chapman said. “I was speechless right after it happened, everyone was so happy for me.”
“It was a dog-fight all night,” Marine said. “South-Doyle probably played one of their best games of the year. They played really well, and I knew they were going to be a reckon with. They play hard, they didn’t have anything to lose, and I knew they were going to give it their best.”
Chapman and Tarr each finished the game with 11 points, while Wypych led the Bearettes with 14 points. Davis, who made a trio of 3-pointers, finished the night with 10.
“(South-Doyle) did a great job of making it hard for us to get the ball in to Brittney and forcing us to shoot outside,” Marine said.
Freshman Brooklyn Fox was the only other Bearette to score. She finished with two.
South-Doyle’s Erin Ketron was a thorn in the Bearettes’ sides all night for the Lady Cherokees. She finished with 18 points and four 3-pointers for S-D, including the banked 3-pointer that put the Lady ‘Kees up by eight in the fourth.
Karen Donehew was also vital for South-Doyle. She scored 14.
The Bearettes will survive to play Jefferson County at 6 p.m. Wednesday night at Seymour. The victor of that contest will move on to play top-seeded Cocke County in the 2-AAA semifinal Friday night.
“We’ve got a tough one Wednesday night with Jeff County,” Marine said. “We split with them in the regular season, both games pretty close. We’ve got to come out and be ready to play.”