BY tate russell
sun sports writer
ELIZABETHTON – It was only fitting that West Greene standout Charlotte Murphy ended her career with a double-double.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to lead the Lady Buffaloes past Elizabethton.
The 6-1 forward – West Greene’s only senior – scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Friday night, but the Lady Cyclones rolled to a 72-38 victory in the first round of the Region 1-AA tournament.
“We started the first quarter really well,” West Greene head coach Ed Gettys said. “We played under control.”
“They started the second quarter pressing us and we started getting careless with the ball and they were scoring off our turnovers and that changed the momentum right there.”
West Greene went into the second quarter up 15-14 but the Lady Buffs could not handle the pressure brought by Elizabethton at the onset of the stanza.
The Lady Cyclones went on a 13-0 run in the first 1:38 of the second period, led by steals on each of West Greene’s first three possessions. Kelci Marosites led the scoring surge in the period with 10 points.
Marosites scored 21 in the contest to lead Elizabethton.
West Greene was able to adjust to the pressure in the final six minutes but the damage had been done.
Murphy and Haylee Vrandenburgh were able to stabilize the margin by attacking the post as West Greene went into half time down 38-24.
Murphy started the first quarter in dominant fashion, doing whatever she wanted against Lady Cyclone post Whitney Roberts. Murphy drove the lane, posted up and showed off her shooting stroke as she scored 10 of the Lady Buffs 15 opening-quarter points.
West Greene hung on in the first part of the third quarter but once again Elizabethton turned up the pressure and finished the quarter on another 13-0 run, this one spanning three minutes.
Gettys said, “We were able to hang around and then in the middle third quarter the turnovers started happening again and from there it was pretty much over.”
Nine of those Elizabethton points came from behind the arc with Reazyn DeMoss hitting first and then Marosites hit the final two in the last 30 seconds of the third .
Elizabethton attributed more focus to Murphy in the latter half of the third, keeping her out of the scoring column for the last five minutes of the quarter. Without Murphy, who Greene’s points, dropping in baskets the Lady Buffs’ offense completely stagnated.
“When they started to pressure us we lost our focus a little and stopped throwing it to (Murphy). Then she starts to come up court to help with the press and then she’s not in position under the goal,” Gettys said.
Elizabethton’s Kayla Marosites opened the fourth quarter with a pair of triples while the offensive woes continued for West Greene. Elizabethton outscored West Greene 15-6 in the final period to advance to the semi-finals of the region tournament where they will take South Greene Monday at Elizabethton.
After a rough start to the season Gettys is proud of how the Lady Buffs (10-20) finished the year, earning an unexpected birth in the region tournament.
Gettys said, “Considering the way we started the year, I thought we got a lot better at the finish. They could have just given up when were 1-11 when the Christmas tournament started but they didn’t. We ended up winning about ten games and we definitely didn’t quit, and we did get some wins against teams that beat us bad earlier in the year”
GIRLS BOX SCORE
WEST GREENE 15 9 8 6 38
ELIZABETHTON 14 22 19 15 72
West Greene (38): Charlotte Murphy 25, Vrandenburgh 6, Johnson 7, Renner 2, Jarrell 1.
Elizabethton (72): Kelci Marosites 21, Kayla Marosites 17, Isaacs 6, DeMoss 8, Bradley 5, Robinson 2, Roberts 6.