Perfect Jr. Lady Jackets rally for TNT title
Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 12:02 am
By: Stephanie Sturgis – Weakley County Press Sports Editor
TNT State champion — The Greenfield Junior High Lady Yellowjackets finished the season with a perfect 20-0 record after winning the Class 2-A division of the TNT State Tournament on Feb. 19 in Springfield. Members of the championship team include (front, from left) Chloe Moore, Liz Smith, Hope Radford, Kinleigh Harris, Bentley Gordon, Makayla Little, Hannah Trimble, Anna Dale Wright, Tess Darby; (middle, from left) Kyndal Wiley, Matti Sellers, Kinley Moore, Kinleigh Goodlow, Carly Archie, Savannah Hodges, Morgan Simmons, Cadie McAlister, Sarah Bodkins, Tyona Clemons, (back, from left) Coach Tony McNeil, Melissa Williams, Alle Dees, Brittany Peoples, Amy Claire Wright, Shaynece Clemons, Chasity McMullen, Madison Scarbrough, Ashley Tucker, Coach John Liggett and Coach Tori Liggett. Photo submitted
It took a pair of rallies and clutch late free throws for the Greenfield Junior High Lady Yellowjackets to claim the TNT State Tournament championship.
Greenfield fought back to erase a fourth-quarter deficit and earn a 38-34 triumph over Collinwood in the Class 2-A semifinals on Feb. 18 at Springfield. The Lady Jackets then repeated the rally process in the title game on Feb. 19, downing Van Buren, 35-31, to bring the championship trophy home to Greenfield.
“I am very proud of the girls and appreciate all the hard work they put into our basketball program,” Greenfield head coach Tori Liggett said. “We had great leadership on our team this year from our eighth-graders. They pushed each other and always found a way to win.”
The twin victories in the semifinals and championship game closed out a perfect 20-0 season for the Lady Jackets. In addition to their TNT title, the Greenfield girls also claimed the Weakley County Tournament championship hardware in December.
The Lady Jackets and their many fans braved the rainy weather to make the drive to Springfield. Once in the gym, the game provided the thrills. Down late in the fourth quarter against Collinwood, the Lady Jackets refused to allow their season come to an end. Greenfield stormed back into the lead and relied on a pair of clutch free throws by eighth-grade forward Brittany Peoples to seal the semifinal win, 38-34.
In addition to her two key free throws, Peoples tallied 13 other points for a team-high 15 points. One other Lady Jacket scored in double digits as Shaynece Clemons pitched in with 10 points. Chasity McMullen finished with 8 points. Alle Dees drilled a 3-pointer, while Amy Claire Wright added 2 points.
With less than 24 hours before their next tipoff time, the Lady Jackets focused on their next task at hand — defeating Van Buren to claim the TNT state title.
Again, the Lady Jackets lagged behind. Greenfield trailed 19-14 as the horn sounded the halftime intermission.
Scoring was even slower for the Lady Jackets in the third quarter with only four points added to their side of the scoreboard. Heading into the decisive fourth frame, the Greenfield girls trailed 22-18.
With the game on the line, the Lady Jacket offense picked up the pace. After scoring 18 points in the first three quarters combined, Greenfield went on a tear in the fourth quarter, pouring in 17 points. The orange-and-black defense did its part too, holding Van Buren to nine points in the final frame.
Greenfield finally clawed its way into the lead with about two minutes remaining in the championship game. Once in front, the Lady Jackets’ practice at the free-throw line paid off. Greenfield nailed the clinching free throws to earn the 35-31 victory.
In the final, Clemons was the top Greenfield scorer with 15 points. Peoples and McMullen each contributed 8 points. Dees and Wright both pitched in 2 points.
The Lady Jackets had two players named to the TNT Honorable Mention All-State team — Alle Dees and Amy Claire Wright. Three Lady Yellowjackets — Brittany Peoples, Shaynece Clemons and Chasity McMullen — played their way onto the TNT All-State squad.