BY ADAM GREENE
ROGERSVILLE -- Greeneville mounted a furious comeback, but in the end it wasn't enough to beat the Cherokee girls basketball team on their own floor. The Lady Chiefs got the job done at the foul line to cut the Lady Greene Devils rally short, winning 40-35 at Cherokee High School Tuesday night.
Greeneville (7-16) has lost five consecutive games, but the hard-fought battle with the Lady Chiefs (8-17) was markedly different than their previous contests. The Lady Devils had been outscored by an average of nearly 30 points in the first three losses of the streak, but two straight five-point losses, including a 53-48 loss to North Greene, show that Greeneville has improved and now needs to learn to close out in the fourth quarter.
"I can't help but be proud of our effort to fight back," Greeneville coach Lesley Murray said. "When you've got young kids fighting as hard as they can, it feels good. I wish we could have made a couple more free throws and taken the lead. The opportunity was there."
The Lady Devils weren't helped by early foul calls in the first period. Standout post Madison Shipley played only a few minutes before heading to the bench with two fouls. Shipley re-entered the game in the second period, but with long stretches on the bench the rest of the game, Greeneville's interior scoring was limited. Shipley finished with seven points.
"Any time she (Shipley) is not in it's hard for us to get into an offensive flow," Murray said. "She's a big part of our scoring. We were stagnant in the first half, but we kept on fighting."
Opportunities seemed to be there for Greeneville's guards to drive into the paint, but many times they would step back out and look for a pass or put up a long distance try from beyond the three-point line.
"We've been working on getting them more aggressive offensively," Murray said. "That's just something they're going to have to get comfortable with. They've got to be able to take some pressure from our post players and drive in. We could use some more trips to the free throw line. Hopefully that will come with experience."
Cherokee took a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter, but watched Madison Grubbs cut deep into it. Grubbs scored seven points in the fourth period, including a big three pointer that pulled the Lady Devils within two points, 37-35, with 2:27 to go in the game.
The Lady Chiefs milked the clock with the ball and did what they needed to do at the foul line to close out the game.
Grubbs finished with 12 points. Lorena Leon scored eight for Greeneville.
Madison McCullough scored 10 for the Lady Chiefs with Pattie Ruth Taylor adding seven.
The Lady Devils will be back in action Friday night, hosting West Greene (3-14) is a District 2-AA match up. Tip off is set for 6:30 p.m.