MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. — The Cumberland Gap Lady Panthers weren’t able to overcome a slow start on Monday as they dropped a 50-37 decision at Union County.
Briley Buckner, who led the Lady Patriots with 17 points in the game, scored eight in the first period and Shaylynn Flatford added six as the Union County built a 14-7 lead. Cumberland Gap got four points from Chelsea Fultz and three from Chelsea Bingham in the opening period.
“We came out of the gate really slow. We got down 8-0, but then for the next ten minutes or so we outscored them and got into the ball game. But you spend so much energy getting back into it and they can make another run as well,” Lady Panther coach Dennis Cline said. “We just have to get out of the gate better. If we do that tonight I think it’s a different ballgame.”
Genna Lake scored foru points and Alaina Hoskins added two free throws for the Lady Panthers in the second quarter, but Union got seven from Madison Brantley and they held a 24-13 lead at the half.
Down 27-17 early in the third, the Lady Panthers made a bit of a run. Lake hit a free throw and Bingham followed her own miss for a basket to trim the deficit to 27-20. But Union got a basket from Sierra Womble, Buckner converted a three-point play and Brantley added a basket as the Lady Patriots closed the period with a 9-0 run. Buckner added two more free throws to make it 36-20 after three.
Fultz, who led the Lady Panthers with 13 points, hit a pair of threes early in the fourth and Amber Craig also hit two jumpers and two free throws for six points in the period. But Brantley scored seven of her 16 points in the quarter for Union as they held on for the 50-37 win.
“Right we’re still trying to find what we want to do offensively. For me as a coach I’m more disappointed in myself than I am in the girls from that aspect. I’ve got to find something better offensively for them to do that they can understand,” Cline said. “It’s on me to find that and that’s what we’ll be working on the next couple of weeks.”
Cline is in his first season as the Lady Panthers head coach. He previously spent 17 seasons as the boys head coach at Powell Volley High School and the last ten years as an assistant at LMU.
“We had a situation at school and it was a last minute thing. The administration came to me and asked me if I would do it,” Cline said. “Being a resident here in the area and knowing some of these girls and their families, I felt it was something I needed to do for them. At the end of the year we’ll sit down and see what’s going on.”
Right now he’s working on building a solid foundation to get the program ready to improve.
“The last couple of years have not been really successful. Basically, what we’re trying to do first of all is change the attitude and the culture in the locker room,” Cline said. “We want everything to be positive and upbeat. We want to get out and run. We want to play. That’s what we’re trying to get across to the girls.”
Cumberland Gap (1-5) returns to action in a tournament at Anderson County on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Union County (8-4) was scheduled to play at Washburn on Tuesday.
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CUMBERLAND GAP (37) — Chelsea Fultz 13, Genna Lake 8, Chelsea Bingham 5, Morgan Beeler 0, Tessa Brooks 0, Amber Craig 6, Alaina Hoskins 2, Brooklyn Creech 2, Tessa Pittman 1, Rachel Kimbrough 0, Candace Beeler 0, Samantha Pierce 0.
UNION COUNTY (50) — Briley Buckner 17, Madison Brantley 16, Shaylynn Flatford 8, Megan Winstead 5, Sierra Womble 2, Hannah Young 2, Sabrina Boggs 0, Desirae Wilson 0.