BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
South Greene girls' head coach Stephen Gregg was anxious to see how his team would respond from a 27-point loss to Grainger.
Maelyn Cutshaw made sure the answer was positive Saturday night.
Cutshaw scored 15 second-half points to rally the Lady Rebels for a 60-52 victory on the road at cross-county rival North Greene.
"I thought we played with a lot of intensity tonight," Gregg said. "I was a little worried after our loss to Grainger last night. As a coach, it's hard to know how your team is going to react, but they came out tonight and stepped up to the challenge."
The Lady Rebels (15-6 overall) were down 29-25 going into the third quarter but they quickly made their comeback.
Custshaw showed she was master of the lost art of the mid-range jumper, first knocking down an 18-footer from straight away. She followed by hitting a second from just beyond the right elbow, and then sank a third with her heels on the arc to give South Greene its first lead since 7:09 remained in the first quarter.
Cutshaw led all scorers with 23 points. Laiken Morrow led the Lady Huskies (14-7 overall) with 15.
The teams exchanged baskets for the remainder of the third quarter until South Greene's Alora Ricker drained a three from the left wing with 15 seconds remaining to knot things at 40 going into the fourth quarter.
Ricker scored 16 points in the contest with two threes.
In the fourth quarter the Lady Rebels turned up the defensive intensity, pressing the Lady Huskies for the length of floor and putting a concerted effort toward slowing North Greene guard Mendy McNeese.
"There in the fourth quarter they tried to completely take Mendy out of the game and when they did our other player weren't prepared to step up," North Greene head coach James Buchanan said.
Things stayed close in the fourth quarter with five lead changes and one tie. Corinne Guelli launched from deep in the right corner to give the Lady Huskies their last lead at 49-47 with 4:17 remaining.
South Greene's press continued to befuddle the Lady Huskies and forced them to look for other backcourt options, but without McNeese in the driver's seat, the offense stalled.
they're just not confident,
Buchanan said. "We've relied on (McNeese) to do so much, the best thing for us may be to have a practice where Mendy doesn't get to touch the ball."
North Greene went almost three minutes without a made basket when McNeese hit a step-up three to close the gap to 53-52, giving the Lady Huskies a glimmer of hope. McNeese scored 13 points in the game.
Javan Wilhoit followed by driving the length of the court for an uncontested layup, then the Lady Rebels forced a turnover and Cheyenne Upton turned it into a trip to the charity stripe.
Early in the game North Greene controlled, owning a 16-6 advantage inside of two minutes in the first quarter. Morrow led the charge with nine first-quarter points for the Lady Huskies.
A triple from Ricker and turnaround jumper from Cutshaw closed the quarter with the Lady Rebels behind by only three.
The win came just one day after South Greene fell hard to the state's second-ranked Class AA team, Grainger, 71-44.
Gregg said, "I told them last night, a mark of a team is how they bounce after they've been knocked down, and they showed that tonight. I couldn't be more proud of our effort. Especially in the second half, I feel like we pushed through."
North Greene is looking to regroup and find a way to win after dropping three of its last four games by four points or less.
"We're sliding, right now we're in a funk and I think the problem is our fourth quarters, Buchanan said. "I think through three quarters we were pretty good but in the fourth quarter we're struggling."
"We've played a lot of good teams here lately and that will help us later on, but we have to figure out how to win these close games."
North Greene 16 13 11 12 52
South Greene 13 12 15 20 60
Maelyn Cutshaw 23
Alora Ricker 16
Javan Wilhoit 13
Cheyenne Upton 8
Laiken Morrow 15
Mendy McNesse 13
Katelyn Weems 12
Dariane Bailey 9
Corinne Guelli 3