By WAYNE PHILLIPS
Sports Editor Emeritus
The North Greene basketball teams are off to a solid start on the 2012-13 season, and the Huskies, girls and boys, are in the Greene County Thanksgiving Tournament finals which will be played tonight at the Chuckey-Doak gymnasium.
The Huskies won a doubleheader over county rival South Greene to advance, with the Lady Huskies surviving 61-55 in an entertaining early season showdown between two solid squads, and the North Greene boys built a sizable first half lead and turned back every Rebel rally to win 60-47.
The Lady Huskies' opponent in the finals will be a foe from Region 1-A, the Cosby Lady Eagles, who coasted past host Chuckey-Doak 61-37 in the second semifinal of the day.
North Greene's boys will also battle Cosby, who beat Chuckey-Doak 51-46 in the final game of the day.
Action with loser's bracket games starts today at 10 a.m. at the Black Knights gymnasium. Eight games will be staged leading up to the championship tilts, with the girls starting at 7 p.m. and the boys to follow.
LADY HUSKIES GET WIN
Playing before a near capacity crowd at the Knight gym, North Greene (5-1) got 19 points apiece from Mendy McNeese and Dariane Bailey, and another 13 points from post Laiken Morrow, to slip past South Greene (3-2) in a 61-55 thriller.
The Rebels countered with 17 points from Maelyn Cutshaw, 12 from Alora Ricker and 10 from Cheyenne Upton.
The nip-and-tuck game had the Huskies up by a solo point at 18-17 at intermission. But the Huskiies got the spurt they needed in the third with seven points from Bailey and two 3-pointers from McNeese and pulled into a 38-33 lead.
But the Rebels battled back and got even at 44-44 on a 3-pointer by Javan Wilhoit. North Greene roared back and took command with seven straight points - a bucket by McNeese, a 3-pointer by Bailey and two free tosses by Katelyn Weems - and that seemed to be the final charge they needed to hold off South Greene in the closing two minutes.
"I thought both teams battled hard for this early in the season," winning Coach James Buchanan said. "I think both teams will get better as the year goes on. Both of us did some crazy things there in the fourth."
South Greene (55): Cheyenne Upton 10, Wykle 6, Wilhoit 5, Maelyn Cutshaw 17, Alora Ricker 12, Williams 5.
North Greene (61): Dariane Bailey 19, Laiken Morrow 13, Weems 9, Mendy McNeese 19, Mercer 0, Guelli 1.
3-Point Goals: SG-4 (Upton 2, Wilhoit, Williams). NG-5 (Bailey 2, McNeese 2, Weems).
Score by quarters:
South Greene 12 5 16 22--55
North Greene 7 11 20 23--61
COSBY GIRLS ADVANCE
The Cosby Lady Eagles got off to a red hot start against Chuckey-Doak and won 61-37.
The Knights couldn't buy a bucket in the first quarter and fell behind by a 21-1 count. They were seemingly out of the game at 37-13 by intermission.
But Andi Lamb led a torrid third quarter rally that including a 14-0 run that had the deficit down to only 10 points before Cosby got things turned around. Lamb scored 12 of her team-leading 16 points in the third canto.
Cosby led 44-30 heading down the home stretch, and the Knights ran out of gas and could get no closer than 14 before the Eagles pulled away.
Cosby was led by Tiffany Smelcer, who bombed in 24 points including six 3-pointers. Lexi Lowery aqdded 12. Lamb's 16 paced the Knights and she was the only C-D girls in double-digit scoring.
Cosby (61): Williams 6, Shaffer 9, Lexi Lowery 12, Tiffany Smelcer 24, Connard 4, Johnson 2, Helton 1, Morris 3.
Chuckey-Doak (37): Andi Lamb 16, Taylor 2, Riddle 5, Ricker 3, Broyles 4, Campbell 4, Lawson 3.
3-Point Goals: CHS-8 (Smelcer 6, Shaffer, Morris). CD-2 (Riddle, Ricker).
Score by quarters:
Cosby 21 16 7 17--61
Chuckey-Doak 1 12 17 7--37
NORTH GREENE BOYS WIN
The North Greene boys joined the school's girls team in the finals, beating South Greene 60-47.
The Huskies got 22 points from Garrett Harbin and 12 from Zane Britton, while South Greene's chief man was Nick Fillers, who had a game-best 24 points.
North Greene led 14-8 at the close of one quarter, then got seven points from Harbin in the second and pulled out to a 30-18 halftime margin. South Greene stayed within striking distance in the third but was still down 46-33 at the horn.
The Rebs could get no rally going in the fourth and failed to carve into the North Greene lead.
South Greene (47): Nick Fillers 24, Woods 0, Lowery 9, Brown 4, Tweed 2, Alcantara 1, Yates 4, Zavaletta 3.
North Greene (60): Bolton 0, Mullins 2, Garrett Harbin 22, Bailey 9, Collins 6, Zane Britton 12, Pollock 9.
3-Point Goals: SG-3 (Fillers 2, Zavaletta). NG-4 (Bailey 2, Collins, Britton).
Score by quarters:
South Greene 8 10 15 14--47
North Greene 14 16 16 14--60
C-D BOYS DROP CLOSE ONE
Chuckey-Doak was a point down with 1:12 left, but Corey Valentine answered the call for Cosby, scoring 10 points in the final period and 19 for the game to put the Eagles in the title game with a 51-46 victory.
Two free throws by Valentine with 56 seconds to go put his team up by a 49-46 margin, and the Knights had two more possessions with a chance to tie but couldn't get the rock to fall.
The game was tight from the outset with the score knotted at 21-21 at halftime and the Eagles up 36-34 at the close of three. But Cosby's Valentine took the ball to the rack one-on-one in the fourth and kept his team in front.
Zack Daruna chipped in 14 for Cosby.
The Knights got 10 points from Garrett Johnson, nine from Birkir (Iceman) Vidisson and eight from Cory Swinney.
Cosby (51): Cory Valentine 19, Smelcer 5, Hatfield 1, Self 4, Parton 4, Duckett 1, Zack Daruna 14, Lemons 3.
Chuckey-Doak (46): Swinney 8, Garrett Johnson 10, Taylor 2, T.Johnson 4, Lamb 5, Vidisson 9, Meredith 2, Riddle 6.
3-Point Goals: Cos-6 (Daruna 3, Valentine, Smelcer, Self). CD-5 (Swinney 2, Riddle 2, G.Johnson).
Score by quarters:
Cosby 8 13 15 15--51
Chuckey-Doak 10 11 13 12--46