Bearettes bow out with loss to Lady Toppers
JOHNSON CITY — With his team’s season on the line, Sevier County coach Stacy Marine made the trip up Interstate 81 with a game plan in mind to try and contain the Science Hill juggernaut.
Control the pace. Minimize possessions. Keep the game close until the final minutes. And it worked.
For about a quarter.
A spate of turnovers proved to be the Lady Bears’ undoing, as Sevier County lost a 55-33 decision at Science Hill in the Region 1-AAA quarterfinals.
The Lady Hilltoppers (35-2), the Class AAA state runners-up last season, roll into the Region 1 semifinals that take place Monday at Daniel Boone High School. Sevier County (15-18), meanwhile, saw a second consecutive season end with a region quarterfinal loss at Science Hill.
Sevier County got the majority of its output from two sources. Brittany Tarr scored 12 points and Kelsey Campbell added 11 in her final high-school hoops game.
“I thought our kids gave a valiant effort tonight. We worked our game plan,” Marine said. “The only thing you couldn’t control in the game plan was turnovers, and we turned it over too many times in the press.”
Even then, the turnovers didn’t start occurring in bunches until Science Hill made a defensive switch. Sevier County did an admirable job breaking the Lady Hilltoppers’ full-court press despite Science Hill having superior depth, speed and athleticism. But coach Darrell Barnwell had the Toppers switch to a half-court trap, which forced Sevier County to push the pace just to cross half court and also forced the Lady Bears into more mistakes.
Sevier County committed 21 total miscues, 14 of which came in the middle periods. Science Hill went on a 15-0 run in the first half that bridged the quarter break, and built a 20-7 advantage. That was part of a 30-14 advantage in the Hilltoppers’ favor in the second and third stanzas, and the outcome was basically guaranteed by the time the fourth quarter began with the Lady Hilltoppers leading by a 42-25 margin.
“We missed three layups that were huge in the second quarter,” Marine said. “We should have been down six at halftime. Instead, we missed three layups and we’re down 13.”
Enjelica Reid led all scorers with 18 points for Science Hill.
She also had five assists and a couple of steals. Gabby Lyon, Morgan Knack and Tianna Tarter added 10 points apiece for the ‘Toppers.
“Fortunately, she was knocking down some shots today,” Barnwell said of Reid. “We had to do that.”
Barnwell pointed to Sevier County running a triangle-and-2 to take away his team’s two best outside shooters in Knack and Shy Copney, who has signed with Middle Tennessee.
“That gave Enjelica and Gabby some opportunities around the basket,” Barnwell noted.
Marine took time to reflect on what he described as “a great team.” Sevier County qualified for the region after finishing fifth in District 2 in the regular season.
“We’re 15-18 now, but I looked back the other day, we lost 10 games by four or less. It could’ve very easily been a whole different record,” Marine said.
Sevier County must replace three seniors: point guard Kelsey Wypych, Chapman and Emily Campbell.
“Definitely Taylor and Kelsey, that’s our two guards, our point and 3 guard, they’re definitely going to be hard to replace,” Marine said. “That’s what you’ve got the summer for.”