By Scott R. Fisher
Sportsmanship. The definition of that word was personified at North Greene on Friday night.
Coach James Buchanan’s Lady Huskies showed true sportsmanship while easily defeating Clinch 59-7 to open Region 1-A play.
North Greene (25-8) moves on to play Monday at Chuckey-Doak Middle School. The Lady Huskies will play Hampton in the next round of the regional tournament.
Buchanan chose to start his younger players and those that do not get a lot of playing time during tight games. None of the usual starters made it onto the floor.
“We got good experience for the younger players,” Buchanan said. “I thought they played hard.”
That is not normally how a coach approaches a regional contest. This was not the typical regional matchup, though.
Clinch finished fourth of four teams in its district and did not win a district game this season. North Greene has a lot of playoff experience to draw from.
The Lady Huskies used a balanced attack to secure the victory. Three players - Kaylin Bowser, Shayna Harmon and Macy McNeese - all reached double-digit scoring. Bowser led the way with 15 points. Harmon had 11 and McNeese added 10 points.
The North Greene defense limited the Lady Wildcats to one shot attempt in the opening quarter. Clinch’s Brianna Nickels made that one shot. Nickels scored all of her team’s seven points on Friday.
The Lady Huskies scored the final 13 points of the opening period to grab a 16-2 lead after eight minutes of play.
Nickels knocked down two shots in the second quarter, but her team fell further behind. McNeese netted eight points to pace North Greene’s attack in the second. Every field goal made in the quarter by the Lady Huskies was a three-pointer. The lead at the halftime break was 35-7 in favor of the home team.
The Lady Huskies found a rhythm offensively in the third quarter and dropped 22 points on the visitors. The Lady Wildcats failed to score and missed all 12 shot attempts.
Bowser heated up in the third and scored nine of her 15 points in the period.
With a 50-point lead, Coach Buchanan had his team run a motion offense and limited the shots attempted in the fourth quarter.
The two teams combined to take 10 shots the entire fourth quarter. Madison Hale made the only shot for North Greene in the final quarter.
Despite the lopsided outcome, the girls from Clinch never quit and played hard until the final whistle. The Lady Huskies never tried to embarrass their opponent.
In the second half, Clinch was outscored 24-0 but there was no taunting or overt celebrations by the Lady Huskies. The team took care of business and look now to take another step in the process of reaching their goal.
“We will draw up a game plan,” Buchanan said. “Looks like we will be playing Hampton for the fourth time.”
Coach Buchanan will need the services of his big guns on Monday to keep advancing in the playoffs.
Score By Quarter
Clinch 2 5 0 0 - 7
North Greene 16 19 22 2 - 59
Clinch (7): Nickels 3 0-0 7. Totals: 0-0 3-28 7.
North Greene (59): Reynolds 3 0-1 6, Bowser 6 0-0 15, McNeese 3 2-4 10, Mercer 3 1-2 7, Harmon 3 3-4 11, Bailey 1 0-0 2, Hale 3 0-0 8. Totals: 6-11 23-51 59.