GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Lady Panthers could not overcome a slow start in Saturday’s 52-38 loss to Chuckey-Doak in the first round of the District 2-AA Tournament.
Cumberland Gap managed just four points in the first quarter — baskets by Genna Lake and Tessa Pittman — and trailed 14-4 after one period.
From there, the Lady Panthers held their own with the Lady Knights and got as close as eight points a couple of times late in the third quarter. But Chuckey-Doak answered every threat and hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to go on to the 14-point win.
“I told them when I took the job in the fall that we were going to coach to win and play to win buzzer to buzzer no matter what the score is. You could see out there that they gave it everything they had and I’m proud of them,” CGHS coach Dennis Cline said.
Andi Lamb led the Lady Knights with 18 points, Alyssa Broyles added 11 and Katie Lawson nine.
Senior guard Chelsea Bingham paced a balanced Cumberland Gap offense with nine points. Genna Lake and Brooklyn Creech finished with six each, Samantha Pierce added five, Chelsea Fultz and Tessa Pittman four apiece and Tessa Brooks and Alaina Hoskins each scored two.
Broyles scored six of her points in the first quarter with Lamb and Lawson putting in four each to build that 14-4 Chuckey-Doak lead.
The Lady Panthers were able to get to the line in the second quarter with Fultz, Pittman and Hoskins all hitting two free throws and Bingham adding one. Brook knocked down a transition jumper late in the half to bring Cumberland Gap within 24-13 and it was 26-13 at the break.
A Fultz basket followed by a Bingham 3-pointer helped the Lady Panthers keep pace in the third quarter and Creech knocked down a pair of jumpers to make it a 30-22 game by the 2:45 mark. Baskets from Lamb and Kara Aubrey pushed the lead back to twelve.
Cumberland Gap wasn’t finished though. Creech scored inside off a feed from Brooks, then came up with a steal that led to a Pierce layup and the Lady Panthers trailed just 34-26 with 1:16 to go in the third.
“Brooklyn is tall and long, she’s got what you look for. She’s just a sophomore and I think she’s going to be pretty good,” Cline said. “The reason I went to her is we wanted to get kids out there that can move. And she delivered, she went out there and played well.”
After struggling against the Cumberland Gap press for most of the third quarter, the Lady Knights got behind it for two layups late and took a 38-26 lead into the fourth quarter.
A 3 from Bingham and a three-point play from Pierce had the Lady Panthers within 42-32, but Broyles was fouled while scoring on a putback and hit the free throw to extend the lead back to 13. Two baskets by Lake and one from Bingham made it a ten-point game once again, but the Lady Knights hit their free throws late to go on to the 14-point win.
“Our press was better in the second half, we pressured them and they tried to give it to us but we just couldn’t take advantage,” Cline said. “At the end of the third quarter we were overaggressive in trapping a little bit and they threw it over the top for two layups. Those were pretty cheap points that put it back to 12 and that kind of deflated us a little bit.”
Chuckey-Doak (8-17) advances to play Greeneville in Monday’s 4 p.m. semifinal.
Cumberland Gap ends the season with a 4-21 record.
Cline said the team has shown improvement during his first year as their head coach, but added there is still a ways to go to get the program where he wants it.
“I wanted to be better in February that we were in November and I think we’ve done that,” he said. “I think we’ve changed the culture a little bit, but you can’t do it in one year. You can’t just say we’re going to win now and flip a switch. It’s got to be a continuous day-to-day process. The next step is for us to start winning some games.”
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CUMBERLAND GAP (38) — Chelsea Bingham 9, Genna Lake 6, Chelsea Fultz 4, Tessa Brooks 2, Morgan Beeler 0, Brooklyn Creech 6, Samantha Pierce 5, Tessa Pittman 4, Alaina Hoskins 2, Amber Craig 0, Rachel Kimbrough 0, Candace Beeler 0.
CHUCKEY-DOAK (52) — Andi Lamb 18, Alyssa Broyles 11, Katie Lawson 9, Kara Aubrey 6, Hailey Taylor 4, Asialyn Manuet 2, Corrie Haynes 2, Keri Ricker 0.