Zoned out Devilettes felled

Zoned out Devilettes felled
Zoned out Devilettes felled
The South Fulton girls got “zoned out” in the Area 5 Tournament championship game on Thursday evening.
The Devilettes had trouble getting to the basket and scoring inside during a 29-28 defeat to Martin — mentored by Obion Central alum Bethany Palmer and the winners of back-to-back Area 5 crowns.
“It was typical middle school basketball strategy where you zone out the opponent inside because they can’t shoot well from outside,” SF girls’ coach Curt Lee said after the defeat that snapped his team’s 12-game winning streak. “We didn’t shoot the ball or defend very well tonight. Those two shortcomings determined our destiny.
“We also missed a lot of free throws and couldn’t keep our hands on the ball. Our execution was also off. I drew up a couple plays in timeouts and we didn’t come close to doing what was planned. That disappoints me.”
All totaled, South Fulton was 3-for-10 from the free throw line during Thursday’s one-point downfall.
However, the Devilettes — defeated for the first time since Nov. 18 — will live to play another day.
South Fulton is scheduled to take on Three Oaks in the opening round of the TMSAA Small School West Sectional at 11 a.m. Saturday. The West Sectional is to be played at Memphis Bellevue.
On Thursday, the Devilettes appeared to be in control midway through the third canto.
South Fulton (18-2) was up by as many as seven points (21-14) just moments prior to a Tiffany Rechis 3-pointer with 2:37 remaining in the quarter.
Rechis went on to hit another bucket in the third, while Sierra Coley dropped in a deuce for SF right before the quarter’s buzzer to give the host team a 23-19 advantage with one period remaining.
In the fourth quarter, it was all Martin (14-5).
For the first four-plus minutes, South Fulton was both unable to find the net and also unsuccessful on numerous possessions in just getting the ball down the floor.
Meanwhile, the Lady Panthers embarked on a 10-2 run, swinging a four-point deficit (23-19) into a four-point lead (29-25).
The Devilettes’ lone two points during the MMS spurt came at the charity stripe as Sierra Coley bottomed two free throws.
Finally with just over 90 seconds remaining, Carmen Hutchins put in what turned out to be the lone SF bucket of the fourth frame to pull the host team to within a basket.
The rest of the way a Coley free throw was all the Devilettes could muster.
Likewise, Martin was unable to score in the last 1:30 as it missed both of its free throw attempts.
Coley had a team-best seven points for South Fulton, while Maddie Kate Coffey offered six and Sydney Easterwood totaled five.
All three of those Devilettes were members of the All-Tournament team.
Rechis paced the Lady Panthers with a game-high 16 points, while Katie Vincent added seven.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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