The Clarksville Lady Wildcats took care of the Springfield Lady Yellow Jackets in the quarterfinals of the District 10-AAA tournament, coming away with an impressive 61-23 victory on their home court.
Led by a balanced offensive and defensive attack, CHS had six players score at least six points, limiting the Lady Yellow Jackets leading scorer to just five.
A stifling first-quarter defense by the Lady Wildcats held Springfield without a field goal in the game’s first eight minutes. The only points that the visitors were able to muster came on a pair of Leviya Pope free throws to halt a 6-0 run by CHS.
After a relatively low scoring first quarter that saw the teams combine for 13 points, both teams’ offenses began to heat up in the game’s subsequent quarter.
Springfield hit their first field goal midway through the second, but not before the Lady Wildcats started the quarter on a 10-0 run.
Clarksville held a 39-15 lead heading into the half courtesy of 12 first-half points from Sydney Weatherford and 11 second quarter points from Imari Berry.
The third quarter featured more offensive explosion and defensive dominance from CHS. The Lady Wildcats outscored SHS 20-6 in the quarter.
With the game decided, both coaches were able to bring out their bench unit for most of the final quarter and each team scored just a pair of points in the game’s last eight minutes.
While their season came to an end, Springfield head coach Tara Koran chose not to dwell on the game at hand, but rather was optimistic for next season’s start -- a season her team will be preparing for shortly.
“It definitely wasn’t the fairytale ending that you hope for in a tournament, but it is what it is,” Koran said. “I just talked to my younger girls and my juniors and told them that what we do between now and next November matters. In the grand scheme of things, I have had these girls since August. We have a lot of work to do. My younger girls, we have some potential and some fight. We have a lot of stuff that we can draw off of this year.
“We have a lot of experience coming back, so a lot different than past years. I am excited to get to work. I told them they get a couple weeks off and after spring break we are getting started.”
While Koran’s team looks forward to what next season has in store, CHS head coach Brian Rush and his girls’ season lives to see another day.
As has been the case numerous times throughout the season, the Lady Wildcats bevy of offensive options carried them. Against Springfield, Weatherford, Berry and Macy Brown combined for 34 of their team’s 61 points.
“I don’t know if you can talk about any one of them without all five of the starters and the two players who come off the bench,” Rush said. “I think we have a seven-man rotation that is really, really strong. I think the biggest thing for this game was that we had not done anything for a week and a half. It was last Friday the last time we played competitively, and we just got to come in and shoot yesterday. That’s it.
“So, you are kind of sitting there going, ‘How are the kids going to respond?’ I thought the kids played well. We were able to lead and get some other kids in there and just make sure we have an entire squad ready for the playoffs.”
CHS advances to the semifinals with the win. They will host the Rossview Lady Hawks on Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. The two teams split the series in the regular season, with the visitor coming away the victor in each game.
The contest will also give the Lady Wildcats the opportunity to exact revenge on a Rossview team that beat them in the semifinals of the district tournament last year 60-32.
CLARKSVILLE (61): Sydney Weatherford 14, Imari Berry 11, Macy Brown 9, Alexis Wimberly 7, Angel Martin 6, Emersen Head 6, Abby Chappell 3, Erin Lackey 3, Kate Howard 2.
SPRINGFIELD (23): Olivia Lee 5, Shamarri Cantrell 4, KyAsia Gardner 3, Mary Brook Head 3, Leviya Pope 2, Aaliyah Scharkley 2, Aubrey DeBerry 2, Sarah Tejeda 2.