DECATUR â€” The defense was there all night for Tellico Plainsâ€™ girls, but their shots took an entire quarter off.
And thatâ€™s all Meigs County needed to get the regular season sweep of the Lady Bears.
Tellico Plains could only hit one bucket in the entire second quarter, and the Lady Tigersâ€™ 12-2 advantage in that stanza gave them the cushion they rode toward handing the Lady Bears the 43-31 loss Thursday at Meigs County High School.
With the win, Meigs â€” ranked No. 3 in the Class A Associated Press poll â€” assumed control of the District 3-A top seed, leaving everyone else, Tellico included, to fight for second place.
Trying to avenge a 74-34 blowout from before the winter break, the Lady Bears (15-4, 7-2 District 3-A) pressured the perimeter and limited the Lady Tigersâ€™ open looks all night, a huge difference from the first meeting at Tellico.
But Meigs (20-2, 6-0) hit enough of its shots â€” and Tellico missed enough of them â€” to take a 21-7 lead into the halftime break. The Lady Bearsâ€™ lone bucket in the second quarter was a runout by Valerie Cheek early.
â€śThe whole first half, we didnâ€™t finish off the looks we created,â€ť said Tellico coach Gary Tucker. â€śItâ€™s disappointing, but itâ€™s a better effort than the first time we played them.â€ť
The Lady Tigersâ€™ full-court press in the first half also harassed Tellico into eight first-half turnovers â€” six in that second quarter.
Emileigh Swafford, known more for her scoring prowess, led Meigsâ€™ shutdown efforts on defense with four blocks. Her 14 points for the game also meant 2,000 for her career.
While the Lady Bears got more buckets in the second half, the Lady Tigers grinded their lead out to as much as 21 points early in the fourth quarter.
But Tellico found something on offense, with a Jasmine Harris 3-pointer before the 4-minute mark in the last quarter starting a 12-3 run for the Lady Bears that proved too little, too late, but threatened to make the game a little too close for comfort for Meigs.
â€śI thought defensively we were fine, but those last few minutes there we were tired,â€ť said Meigs coach Jason Powell. â€śIt was a grind-it-out type game, and Iâ€™ll take take it any way I can get them.â€ť
MEIGS COUNTY 90, BEARS 51: The Tigers closed the first half with a 19-2 run and never looked back.
After letting Meigs score the first seven points, Tellico Plains (8-10, 3-6 District 3-A) stayed within striking distance in the second quarter. Colton Carter hit 5-of-6 foul shots from being fouled on two 3-point attempts. A transition hoop by Bryan Cook and a Carter jumper got the Bears as close as 30-21 before the Tigers blew the game open.
Walker Moore hit two open treys from the corner to grow Meigsâ€™ lead to 38-21 and take all the momentum for his team. The Tigers led 49-23 at the break.
The Bears are now in the middle of a four-game losing streak, all in district play.
Tellicoâ€™s squads next travel Tuesday to Polk County to face the District 5-AA school for the third time this season.
ROCKWOOD 48, BEARS 45 â€” Tuesday: Tellico Plainsâ€™ boys were not going to go away against Rockwood this time.
Playing the Tigers (10-5, 4-2) for the second time in four days, the Bears fought back from a 14-point third-quarter deficit and even took the lead several times in the fourth quarter before giving way to the series sweep and their third straight loss.
Rockwood had won by 17 points in the teamsâ€™ first meeting last Friday, and for the first half it looked like a repeat of that result was in order. The Tigers led by as many as 12 in the first half and took a 27-17 lead into the lockers at halftime.
The Bears were down 33-19 in the third before a Ryan Bookout bucket ignited a 12-2 run to close the quarter. Colton Carter heated up from downtown, with two straight 3-pointers closing the Bears to single digits.
Carter hit both shots of a 1-and-1 to bring Tellico to 35-30. The Bears wouldâ€™ve bit into Rockwoodâ€™s lead even more if Bryan Cook could have hit more than one of his three foul shots with a minute left after being fouled behind the arc.
But the Bears scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to take a 37-35 lead â€” even while missing two chances to convert on a 3-point play.
Four ties and three lead changes happened in the fourth. Devin Collier hit 1-of-2 foul shots to give Tellico a 43-42 lead late, but a bucket by Jay Tilley gave Rockwood back the lead.
With a minute left, Tilley struck again with a fade on the baseline to increase Rockwoodâ€™s lead to 46-43. Carter drove to the hoop to close Tellico to a point with 30 seconds left, but the Tigersâ€™ Hunter Grant responded on the other end, forcing the Bears to set up a 3-point attempt from Dakota Rinehart that bounced off the front of the iron.
LADY BEARS 54, ROCKWOOD 45 â€” Tuesday: Tellicoâ€™s girls had to fend off a stern challenge from Rockwood before their rematch with Meigs County.
Playing this group of Lady Tigers (9-6, 2-4 District 3-A) for the second time in four days, the Lady Bears pulled away late to survive the trap game scenario.
Rockwood, trying to avenge the 17-point loss the Lady Bears dealt it last Friday, closed the first half on an 11-3 run and took a 29-26 lead early in the third on a 3-point play in transition.
Valerie Cheek hit four free throws on Tellicoâ€™s next two offensive possessions to give the lead back to the Lady Bears. They managed to hold on to the advantage the rest of the game but could never rest easy until the last minute.
Jade Napierâ€™s steal and deuce closed Rockwood to a 47-44 deficit at 2:56 left in the game, but a foul away from the ball on Rockwood after the bucket gave Brittany Kirkland two foul shots to push the Lady Bearsâ€™ lead back to five points.
Jasmine Harris made a steal with 26.4 seconds left, with Tellico up 50-45, to stop Rockwoodâ€™s possession. Rachel Sutton took Harrisâ€™ pass and got fouled, but she missed two foul shots. However, Bailey Hunt got the rebound and putback to seal the win.
MEIGS COUNTY 43,
TELLICO PLAINS 31
TP 5 2 11 13 â€” 31
MC 9 12 15 7 â€” 43
Meigs County (43): Emileigh Swafford 14, Taylor Boggess 13, Brandi Kilpatrick 10, Alyson Crowder 4, Megan Lewis 2
Tellico Plains (31): Valerie Cheek 14, McKinley Dalton 8, Jasmine Harris 5, Brittany Kirkland 2, Bailey Hunt 2
3-pointers: Meigs County 3 (Boggess 2, Swafford 1); Tellico Plains 1 (Harris 1)
MEIGS COUNTY 90,
TELLICO PLAINS 51
TP 8 15 15 13 â€” 51
MC 18 31 20 21 â€” 90
Meigs County (90): Levi Woods 20, Bryson Baker 17, Walker Moore 13, Matthew Meadows 10, Zy Moore 8, Cam Harris 6, Jesse Rayl 3, Wriley Smith 3, Justus Palko 3, Derek Letner 2, Kiefer Swanson 2, Jordan Branham 1
Tellico Plains (51): Colton Carter 15, Bryan Cook 10, Devin Collier 6, Chris Emerson 6, Ryan Bookout 5, Austyn Balcom 3, Blake Hunt 2, Dakota Rinehart 2, Cody Murphy 2
3-pointers: Meigs County 10 (Malone 3, Baker 2, Woods 2, Rayl 1, Palko 1, Smith 1); Tellico Plains 2 (Carter 2)
TELLICO PLAINS 54,
RW 13 13 8 11 â€” 45
TP 18 8 11 17 â€” 54
Tellico Plains (54): Jasmine Harris 14, Valerie Cheek 12, Brittany Kirkland 12, Bailey Hunt 8, McKinkley Dalton 4, Rachel Sutton 2, Brayden Garren 2
Rockwood (45): Chelsea Cheek 10, D. Cates 10, Becca Farmer 8, McKenzie Lee 8, Jade Napier 4, Carson Evans 4, Sam Freels 1
3-pointers: Tellico Plains 4 (Kirkland 2, Harris 1, Cheek 1); Rockwood 1 (Cheek 1)
TELLICO PLAINS 45
RW 11 16 8 13 â€” 48
TP 4 13 14 14 â€” 45
Rockwood (48): Malcolm Springs 14, Hunter Grant 14, Jordan Breazeale 7, Jay Tilley 6, Jared Malicoat 4, Jarrod Neerman 2, Case Miller 1
Tellico Plains (45): Colton Carter 18, Devin Collier 10, Ryan Bookout 6, Bryan Cook 5, Dakota Rinehart 3, Cody Murphy 3
3-pointers: Rockwood 0; Tellico Plains 2 (Carter 2)