BY DARREN REESE
SUN SPORTS EDITOR
South Greene volleyball coach Stephen Gregg had a knack for picking the right times to use his time outs Thursday night during the District 1-A championship game.
He called for a break with his Lady Rebels trailing North Greene 4-6 in game one, 10-11 in game two and 12-13 in game three.
The final results: 25-14, 25-16 and 25-18 - all South Greene victories.
In a volleyball district consisting of only South Greene and North Greene, the Lady Rebels claimed the title and will be the No. 1 seed in next week's Region 1-A tournament at Cosby.
North Greene also advances to region. The Lady Huskies will take on District 2 champion Berean at 5 p.m. Monday at Cosby, with South Greene matching up with the host Lady Eagles immediately following.
The winners of the two contests will play for the championship that same night, and both will also receive substate berths.
"Our passing wasn't as good as it has been, and I just wanted to settle them down," Gregg said, adding that there weren't a lot of changes he made during the course of the game.
Gregg explained that his team has made changes to its offense during recent weeks, and Thursday was their first opportunity to try the new look in a game environment.
"We're trying to run more of a hurry-up offense," he noted. "We've seen that at the state tournament the past few years and that's gave us fits, so now we are trying to do it ourselves."
"Today was the first day that we've showed all of our quick passes and stuff. If we get down the road, that's what a lot of the good teams are doing. We've been practicing on it this year, but just didn't want to show everything too early."
North Greene was quick out of the gate in all three games, but was unable to continue the momentum over the entire course of a set.
Service aces by Taylor Coakley and Ashton Wykle, sandwiched around kills by Alora Ricker and Brooke Davis, helped the Lady Rebels build a 12-7 cushion in game one.
North Greene head coach Tanna Stansfield called a timeout, but the Lady Huskies were unable to slow the South Greene run.
The Lady Rebels ended the game with an 8-1 run that included a pair of service aces by Peyton Williams.
Game two saw North Greene lead as late as 13-12, but an ace by Lyndsey Cutshaw put the Lady Rebels in the lead for good and they closed with a 13-3 run.
Ricker, a senior who garnered All-State honors a year ago, was at her best in what proved to be the final set of the day.
With South Greene maintaining a slim 14-13 lead, Ricker scored three straight points to help her team pull away.
She later added three straight kills to make it a 23-16 margin.
"Alora has been our steady workhorse all year," Gregg said. "She is one of our seniors and leads us."
"Last time we played North Greene, they doubled her a lot. She is trying to work on some different areas late here in the season and she is only getting better."
Ricker finished the night with 25 kills to pace the South Greene offense.
Paige Haire tallied 34 assists. Coakley and Wykle had 11 and 10 service points a piece. Brooke Davis posted a team-high five blocks, while Renner had eight digs.
Lauren Baxter led North Greene with seven kills.
Stansfield mentioned that there was no time for her team to dwell on the loss.
"We can still accomplish a lot this season," the coach said. "If we can go to region and win that first game next week, then we will get a substate game and maybe another chance to play South Greene for the region championship."
"Our season is certainly not over."
North Greene has had success against District 2 this season, having won every match it's played against those teams. The Lady Huskies defeated Berean 3-0 in their one meeting in 2013.
Members of the All-District team from North Greene were Lauren Baxter, Kenzie Reynolds and Kaylin Bowser.
Alora Ricker, Paige Haire, Ashton Wykle, Taylor Coakley, and Kylie Renner were selcted to the team for South Greene.