BY DARREN REESE
SUN SPORTS EDITOR
GREENEVILLE - Mother nature did Holy Name no favors Wednesday night. Neither did the Greeneville defense.
The Green Wave arrived almost an hour late for their 5:30 p.m. scheduled tip-off against GHS in the opening round of the Landair Ladies Classic, due to a snow storm and mechanical issues with their bus.
Their fortunes weren't any better on the court. Greeneville junior Madison Shipley scored 16 points and the Lady Devils forced 21 turnovers en route to a 49-39 victory at Hal Henard Gym. Greeneville will take on Morristown West at 5:30 p.m. this evening, while Holy Name drops to the losers' bracket to face Mt. Juliet at 1 p.m.
The win was much needed for a young Greeneville squad that struggled to a 4-8 record through the first half of the regular season.
"As a young team, we tend to get really down on ourselves sometime," Shipley said. "So tonight's win really helped build our confidence."
"We didn't know much about (Holy Name) but we played hard. I was really proud of the way we came out in the second half and stepped it up."
Greeneville trailed for all but a couple minutes of the first half, but a 9-0 run in the middle of the second half put the host team in front for good.
Shipley's basket with 45 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Lady Devils their first lead (32-31) since the 7:15 mark of the first. Mindy Nease then added a steal-and-score to end the frame.
After a Shipley put-back to start the fourth, Lorena Leon fired in a three-pointer to put momentum entirely in Greeneville's corner. The Lady Devils led 39-31 and the margin wouldn't get any closer than six the rest of the way.
"We kept up pressure most of the game, and I think the combination of them having a long ride - they probably weren't as ready to play as we were - along with our defense pressure, forced them out of what they wanted to do," Greeneville head coach Lesley Murray explained.
"We were able to force some bad shots and turnovers there at the end and that really made the difference."
Kim Cook score 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting for Holy Name (3-5 overall), and Erica Davis added 12 points.
The rest of the Green Wave offense was non-existent, though, as the other players combined to shoot 3-of-19 from the field.
Cook had five straight points midway through the first half to give Holy Name a 13-6 lead. A basket by Reagan Lowery with less than a minute left in the second quarter pulled the Lady Devils within 21-17 at the break.
Neither team took care of the ball particularly well in the first half. Holy Name committed 14 turnovers while GHS had 13.
Greeneville out-scored the Green Wave 17-10 in the third quarter.
"We are a young team and when things go in our favor we usually can get the momentum and go with it," Murray said. "I think that's what happened in the second half. We started playing good defense and were able to go on a run to take the lead."
Despite being at a size disadvantage, Greeneville finished with a 30-26 lead in rebounds for the game. Melissa Scott and Mindy Neas each pulled down five boards.
"We have very capable post players when they play hard," Murray noted. "We were able to rotate some people in and stay fresh."