BY ADAM GREENE
MORRISTOWN -- There would be no last-second shot this time, no heroic ending. Instead, Morristown West dominated every aspect of play in the second half, beating South Greene 70-53 at Morristown West High School Tuesday night.
Morristown West (18-8) took over with four minutes to go in the third quarter and began an offensive show that nearly ran South Greene (19-9) off the floor. The Lady Trojans scored 51 points over the final two periods.
"I was very proud of our second-quarter defense, but they (Morristown West) came out with the gameplan of throwing it inside and smashing us in the mouth," South Greene coach Stephen Gregg said. "And they did a great job of that. We weren't ready for the challenge."
The second quarter made the game seem like it would have a starkly different outcome. The Lady Rebels played what may have been their finest defensive eight minutes of the season, holding Morristown West to just two points in the period. South Greene took a 23-19 lead into halftime and seemed to be in complete control.
That all changed as soon as the third quarter began. Morristown West began moving the ball inside to their post players, Jecca Simerly and Christina Zimmerman. Simerly continually hit easy baskets, using a turn-around jumper in the lane that South Greene had no answer for. With the game still tight and the Lady Trojans holding a two-point lead, wing Jenna Potts hit consecutive three-pointers, one at the third period buzzer, to give Morristown West an eight-point cushoin. They were the only points for Potts in the game.
"There were two things in that second half that hurt us," Gregg said. "The first was he first four or five possessions when they decided to go inside and how they closed out the quarter. They have a great three-point shooter (Potts) that we knew about and we refused to guard her."
The Lady Trojans were even stronger in the fourth period, drawing fouls and working the ball inside. Morristown West went to the foul line 10 times in the fourth, going 15-for-20. More importantly for the Lady Trojans, it was their guards doing the damage. Simerly and Zimmerman only went one time apiece.
Simerly finished with 17 points and Zimmerman scored 12. Morristown West guard Halea Seals had 10 points.
South Greene senior guard Maelyn Cutshaw didn't go down without a fight, leading all scorers with 23 points. While the third period was a disaster, the Lady Rebels scored 19 in the fourth, but just couldn't keep up with Morristown West. Peyton Williams and Alora Ricker each had 10 points apiece.
It was the second straight loss for South Greene and the third in the last five games. Though none have been district games, Gregg hopes even the losses are preparing the Lady Rebels for the postseason.
"It seems like every game here lately has been a wake-up call," Gregg said. "We play a pretty tough schedule on purpose, but we've got to keep the kids positive. We have to know it's not the end of the season. Every game here lately has been a test."
South Greene finishes up its District 2-AA regular season at home against West Greene (6-17, 2-8 District 2-AA) Saturday at 6:30 p.m.