Lady Panthers back in title game
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
For the second year in row, the Martin Middle School girls’ basketball team will be playing in the finals of the West Tennessee Sectional Tournament.
The Lady Panthers took care of Vance Middle School 57-23 in the semifinals Wedneday night at Martin, using a defense that would not let the Lady Eagles breathe.
Martin rolled to a 15-0 first period lead behind 14 first period Vance turnovers. Lydia Pritchett scored nine of her game-high 14 points in the first period — including six straight to close out the period.
The Lady Panthers did not stop there as they continued their scoring spree to begin the second. Martin ended up with a 23-point run before Vance’s Carnessia Griggs ended the madness on a layup with 4:02 to play in the half.
Martin went on an eight-point run to end the first half for a 33-8 lead.
Vance came into the game with a 16-3 record and finished as runner-up in the Memphis City tournament. Martin head coach Paige McMillan admitted that she was nervous.
“I was nervous before that game because they are very athletic and quick,” McMillan said. “We made them turn the ball over and created turnovers that they were not use to.”
The Lady Panthers could have had an even bigger lead at the half, but the Martin girls failed to convert on several transition plays.
“We would steal it a lot and miss a lot of shots,” the Martin head coach said. “I think the girls were nervous with this being the semifinals.”
The Lady Panthers turned their late second half eight-point run into a 15-point run in the third period.
The Lady Panthers still held a 42-21 advantage at the end of the third period and held the Lady Eagles to a mere two points in the final frame.
Four Martin players scored in double-figures, with Pritchett scoring 14 while Heidi Craddock, Jordyn Greene and Jones tallied 10 points each.
Jones had 13 steals, eight tips and seven assists. Pritchett had seven rebounds and five steals. Ross grabbed six rebounds and stole the ball seven times. Martin stole the ball 30 times as a team and had 19 deflections.
The Lady Panthers will enter the championship game with a 15-5 record an play Bolivar 6 p.m. Friday. Bolivar won its semifinal game on Thursday, knocking out Inman 38-20.
Published in The Press 2.7.13