BY DARREN REESE
The girls' championship game of the 2012 Greene County Thanksgiving Tip-Off Classic may ultimately prove to have been a preview of a future Region 1-A tournament matchup - but North Greene head coach James Buchanan sure hopes not.
Cosby - minus one of its top post players due to injury - gave Buchanan's Lady Huskies all they wanted Saturday night, but nine fourth-quarter points from Mendy McNeese proved to be the difference as North Greene held on for a 43-41 victory and the Classic title.
"I'd really hate to see them again," Buchanan said. "They had a big player out that would have made a difference tonight."
"We were fortunate to hold on. The game could have went either way, but I thought our girls fought hard and did the things they needed to in order to win. Both teams played hard. It was just a well-played game."
McNeese finished with 16 points for the Lady Huskies. Dariane Bailey added nine and Laiken Morrow seven.
Lexi Lowery and Bethan Williams had 10 apiece for Cosby. Tiffany Smelcer, who scored 24 points - including six three-pointers - for the Lady Eagles in the semifinals, was limited to just four points Saturday.
The two teams traded baskets for much of the night, with the largest lead either way coming when North Greene went in front 27-21 late in the third quarter.
The Lady Eagles stormed back, however, using a 7-0 run to take a 28-27 lead in the opening seconds of the final period.
The scoreboard went back and forth the rest of the way. Baskets by Katelyn Weems and Dariane Bailey kept the Lady Huskies in front in the opening minutes of the fourth, but a three-pointer by Dessie Shaffer gave Cosby a 37-35 lead with 3:44 remaining.
The game was tied on two occasions after that, the latest being 39-39 with just over a minute left.
Shaffer had a chance to give Cosby the lead with 15 seconds left when she went to the line for two free throw attempts. She missed both, though, and Morrow got the rebound on the second.
Morrow was fouled on the play, and she went to the other end and made a pair of foul shots to put the Lady Huskies in front 41-39.
Lowery drove down the court and missed a potential game-tying shot in the paint to seal the Lady Eagles' fate. McNeese got the rebound and made two free throws to end the game.
"We had the situation where we had been up and then lost it," Buchanan pointed out. "Being early in the season, our girls could have crumbled. Instead, we had some girls step up and make some big shots for us."
Cosby rolls to boys' crown
The North Greene boys couldn't pull off the Huskies' sweep Saturday night as they fell to Cosby in the boys' championship game, 66-48.
The Eagles took control of the contest early as the opened up a 20-8 lead in the first quarter and stayed in front by double digits the rest of the way.
Cory Valentine fired in 23 points for the winners, including 17 in the first half. Zach Daruna was close behind with 20 points, while Tate Parton added nine.
Garrett Harbin paced North Greene with 17 points, though only three came in the first half as the Huskies fell behind 40-22 at intermission.
Tyler Bailey fired in a trio of three-pointers to finish with nine points. Brett Pollock added seven points.
Eight different players scored for the Chuckey-Doak boys Saturday night as they rolled to a 68-46 win over South Greene in the third-place contest of the Greene County Thanksgiving Classic.
Four of those reached double figures, led by the 13-point effort of Garrett Johnson. Cory Swinney added 11 points, followed by Bikir Vidisson and Garren Taylor with 10 apiece.
Nick Fillers scored 15 for the Rebels, while Daniel Lowery added 10.
The first half was closely contested as South Greene led 10-9 after one and trailed by a 28-27 score at the break.
The final two frames were all Chuckey-Doak, though, as the host team fired in 40 points to pull away.
The South Greene Lady Rebels scored 63 points in the first three quarters Saturday night en route to a 69-48 win over Chuckey-Doak in the girls' third-place game.
The Lady Rebels placed four players in double figures, led by the 15-point efforts of Maelyn Cutshaw and Ashton Wykle. Cheyenne Upton added 14 and Alora Ricker 13.
Chuckey-Doak had 11 players contribute to its final point total, with Andi Lamb posting a team-high eight points. Linsay Sane added six points.
In other tournament games, Sullivan East defeated West Greene in the girls' fifth-place contest. Charlotte Murphy paced the Lady Buffaloes with 16 points. In the boys' fifth-place contest, Providence defeated KACHEA 46-24.
Tri-Cities Christian defeated West Greene 72-63 in the boys' seventh-place game. Providence edged Tri-Cities Christian 39-34 in the girls' seventh-place matchup.