Hurricanes wreck Lady Eagles
The third-seeded Seymour Lady Eagles were stunned 57-40 Wednesday night by the sixth-seeded Morristown East Lady Hurricanes (10-18 overall) in the quarterfinals of the District 2-AAA Tournament.
The Lady ’Canes used an incredible 27-9 run, which stretched into the game’s second quarter, to set the tone for the win-or-go-home matchup.
The Lady Eagles (16-14 overall) could never quite recover from the awful opening, although they did momentarily cut the lead back to single-digits in the second half.
“I really thought we were better prepared and ready to play,” an obviously distraught head coach Brandi Stallings said following the game.
“But it was like the door was shut in our face.”
With senior Kasey Norman battling a broken thumb on her shooting hand — which came in the Lady Eagles’ final regular season game — Seymour struggled to find a rhythm offensively all night.
In the meantime, East, led by talented scorer Jordan Hayes and post Lauren Blaylock, were hitting almost at will — especially in the early going.
Hayes and Blaylock both hit 3-pointers early in the second quarter to help the Lady Hurricanes extend a 13-2 first-quarter lead to 27-9 with 2:32 to go in the half.
But Lady Eagles freshman Hannah Schrimpsher made a couple of key baskets in a 7-0 Seymour run to end the quarter, drawing the lead down to 27-16 by intermission.
Two early baskets from Seymour cut the lead to seven in the opening moments of the third, but then — behind more buckets from Blaylock — East went on another run, this time 14-2 to extend the lead back to 15 at 39-22.
The closest Seymour would get the rest of the way was 13, and Tracy Cloninger’s Lady Hurricanes — last year’s district champs — cruised to the 17-point win.
“Every time we cut it they had an answer,” Stallings said. “We just couldn’t get (a break).”
In spite of the loss, Stallings didn’t have anything but positives to say about her players.
“They played hard,” she said. “They left it all out there and fought to the end. I’m proud of them.
“We dug ourselves too big a hole. When you get down that big it’s hard to recover from.”
Even with the broken thumb, Norman, the team’s only senior, led the Lady Eagles with 13 points.
East’s Hayes netted 26 to lead all scorers, while Blaylock added 13 more for the Lady ’Canes.
“I’m really proud of her,” Stallings said. “It was painful to catch, painful to dribble. (But) she was a trooper. She showed courage and leadership tonight.
“(The tape and bandages) were big and bulky and on her shooting hand, but as the game went on she got better. We just didn’t have the time to get back in it.”
The loss ends the Lady Eagles’ season.
East will move on to face Morristown West in the semifinals on Friday.