HARROGATE, Tenn. — Deep and balanced Knoxville Catholic proved to be too much for a Cumberland Gap Lady Panther team breaking in three new starters under a new head coach Tuesday night. The Lady Irish pulled away in the second half for a 56-29 win.
“That was their third game and they were a little bit better than I thought they were from watching them on tape,” said new CGHS coach Sherrill King, who guided the Cumberland Gap boys to a district runner-up finish seven years ago. “We played really hard, just missed some easy shots.”
Catholic got five points each from Hannah Hopson and Claire Conaty in the first quarter as they opened up a 14-6 lead. Kathleen Conaty, who led the Irish with nine points, scored seven in the second quarter as the lead ballooned to 26-8.
The Lady Panther press started to wear on Catholic late in the second period and they closed the first half on a 9-2 run to get back in the ball game. Ashley Ridgeley and Chelsea Fultz hit two free throws each, Whitney Elliott added a basket inside and Chelsea Bingham knocked down a 3-pointer as Cumberland Gap climbed to within 28-17 at halftime.
“I thought we got them tired, which is what we were trying to do. They started turning the ball over right before halftime and we got back into it,” King said. “Then we came back out (in the second half) and had problems scoring.”
Bingham hit two more 3s in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 12 points. Genna Lake came off the bench to score four points on a basket and a pair of free throws. But Catholic’s Erin Kenny, who also scored nine points, and Susan Kenny combined for nine Lady Irish points in the third quarter as they slowly pushed the lead back out to 46-27 by the end of the period.
“Chelsea is one of our better shooters and she’s going to have some big games like that. She came down and hit some big threes and was definitely one of the highlights,” King added.
Cumberland Gap managed just one free throw each from Bingham and Ridgeley in the fourth quarter as Catholic continued to pull away for the 27-point win.
Both teams will be back in action Tuesday as Knoxville Catholic (3-0) visits CAK and Cumberland Gap (0-1) hosts Knox Central as part of a girls/boys double-header.
King said he’s excited to be working with the Lady Panthers this season.
“They lost a lot of players from last year so we’ve got kids stepping in that haven’t played much. Plus they’ve brought me in new so we’re still learning. We’ve got a lot of improvement to make, but we’re going to get better,” he said. “My first high school head coaching job was with the girls at Pineville, so I’m a little bit familiar with it. I’ve really had a good time with these girls over the summer. We’re small and don’t have a whole lot of experience, but they work hard and have been fun to coach.”
— — —
Catholic….14..14..18..10 — 56
Cumb. Gap..6..11..10…2 — 29
KNOXVILLE CATHOLIC (56): Kathleen Conaty 9, Erin Kenny 9, Hannah Hopson 8, Claire Conaty 7, Abby McCullough 6, Susan Kenny 6, Brittany Scott 6, Allie McLaughlin 3, Hope Hopson 2, Ella Monarch 0, Delaney Lowery 0.
CUMBERLAND GAP (29): Chelsea Bingham 12, Ashley Ridgeley 7, Whitney Elliott 4, Genna Lake 4, Chelsa Fultz 2, Kierstyn Carmical 0, Danielle Caldwell 0, Rachel Kimbrough 0, Amber Craig 0, Tessa Brooks 0, Morgan Beeler 0, Candace Beeler 0.