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Lady Panthers’ first loss means West Tennessee runner-up finish

Lady Panthers’ first loss means West Tennessee runner-up finish
Lady Panthers' first loss means West Tennessee runner-up finish | Martin Middle School Lady Panthers basketball, West Tennessee TMSAA State Tournament, Lake County Middle School Lady Falcons

Runner-Up — The Martin Middle School Lady Panthers basketball team finished the season as the West Tennessee TMSAA State Tournament runner-up after a 39-25 loss to Lake County in the finals. Photo courtesy Christie’s Photography
By Rob Beam
Special to The Press
When two teams come undefeated to a tournament championship game, only one squad can have the storybook ending.
The Lake County Middle School Lady Falcons came in at 25-0 to play the host Martin Middle School Lady Panthers, who were perfect at 22-0.
Lake County used a big second quarter to open a lead on the way to a 39-25 victory in the championship of the West Tennessee TMSAA State Tournament on Friday night in Martin.
To start the game, Lake County jumped into a fullcourt press after MMS grabbed its first rebound off a Lady Falcon miss. The Lady Panthers turned the ball over against the 2-2-1 press, giving Lake County an easy layup for an early 2-0 lead.
The Lady Panthers then settled down and started to pass over the press. Once it got into the halfcourt set, Martin found chances to score. The Lady Panthers went on an 8-2 run led by a 3-pointer from Teddy Vincent and held an 8-4 lead after one quarter.
With four minutes remaining until halftime, two free throws from Taylor Swaim gave MMS a 10-8 lead. Then the floodgate opened up, as the Lady Falcons enjoyed a 16-0 run in the final minutes of the second period. Pressure defense by Lake County caused five turnovers leading to four Lady Falcon layups. When forced into a halfcourt set, Lake County found holes in the MMS zone for some easy buckets as well, leading to a big 24-10 halftime lead for the Lady Falcons.
The second half saw Martin not give up to the visitors as the Lady Panthers came out aggressive in the third frame. Martin’s aggressiveness was out-matched by the team speed of Lake County. The Lady Falcons used their quickness in the halfcourt offense to penetrate the Martin zone and make some easy 6-foot jumpers.
While Lake County was scoring regularly, MMS was still having trouble getting the ball in the hole. The Lady Panthers got some good looks, however the ball just didn’t bounce their way on this evening. Hitting for only 21 percent of their shots for the game, Martin scored just four points in the third quarter. Lake County extended its lead to 34-14 after a 10-4 scoring advantage in the third.
The fourth quarter saw the Lady Panthers still trying to claw at their opponent. MMS had its best period of the game, out-scoring the Lady Falcons 11-5 for the final frame. However, the deficit was too much to overcome for Martin, losing 39-25, as Bryelle White hit the final bucket of the game for Martin.
Lake County (26-0) won the championship led by TaKaya Flowers with 16 points. Martin (22-1) finished an excellent season with a runner-up trophy led by Taylor Swaim’s 10 points and Caitlin Campbell’s five points.

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