BY DARREN REESE
Despite an easy 25-11 win in the first set of Tuesday night's semifinal match against Chuckey-Doak, South Greene head coach Stephen Gregg was none to happy with his team's performance.
The top-seeded Lady Rebels corrected in a big way.
South Greene scored the first 16 points of the second set and rolled to a 25-1 victory. They went on to win convincingly in three sets (25-11, 25-1, 25-6) to advance to the championship game of the District 2-AA Tournament.
"I told them to just focus on getting better with serve," Gregg said. "Outside of that, I thought we had better net play and passed better tonight."
"We made good decisions at the net. We hit it when we needed to, we placed it when we needed to. We cut down on our unforced errors, which is good to see this time of year."
South Greene is the defending district tournament champion. They will face cross-county rival West Greene Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Chuckey-Doak High School. The No. 2 seed Lady Buffaloes swept third-seeded Grainger County in straight sets Tuesday.
South Greene came out firing behind the strong hitting of Maelyn Cutshaw. The Lady Rebels opened up the first set with a 10-0 run, which featured four kills from Cutshaw.
Chuckey-Doak benefited from three South Greene service errors to cut the deficit to 20-11 late in the match, but the Lady Rebels scored five straight points to pick up the win.
The next two sets weren't as competitive. Chuckey-Doak's only point in game two came on a South Greene error. The Lady Rebels then opened game three with eight straight points and never looked back.
Cutshaw finished with 20 kills on the night, along with 10 service points and three aces. Alora Ricker had 29 service points and six aces, and Javan Wilhoit came up with 28 assists.
In the earlier semifinal match, West Greene punched its championship ticket with a 25-23, 25-10, 25-15 win over Grainger.
The Lady Buffaloes defeated South Greene in the tournament finals two years ago, but have lost to the Lady Rebels twice during the 2012 regular season.
"That's our goal every year, to make it to the finals and advance to the region," West Greene coach Reece Baughard said. "We didn't start out too good tonight, but we finally woke up."
"South Greene beat us 3-0 both times this year, but the matches have been close. We've got used to playing them in the finals the past few years. (South is) just so athletic, and we'll have to do things right fundamentally to have a chance."
West Greene was led offensively by two of its seniors - Charlotte Murphy finished the night with 18 kills and five blocks, while Taylor Winstead had a solid effort as well.
The Lady Buffaloes are 27-8 overall this year.
In the first match of the night Tuesday, Chuckey-Doak, the fourth seed, defeated No. 5 seed Greeneville 3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 28-30, 25-20).
LADY REBELS ROUT COCKE COUNTY
In a match played Friday, the Lady Rebs beat Cocke County 3-0 with scores of 25-10, 25-15 and 25-11.
Cutshaw had 16 service points, 13 kills and four aces, while Ricker added 17 points, nine kills and 11 digs. Wilhoit logged 32 assists and four aces and Konnor Donahue had seven blocks. Maci Brown had six kills and four blocks.