LOUDON — Meigs County punched its ticket to the District 5-AA championship game with a 55-28 win over Sequoyah in the tournament semifinals on Friday.
The appearance in this week’s championship game was anything but assured, however, as the Lady Tigers did not start out strong against Sequoyah before pulling away thanks to a career-best game by Ansley Wade.
Meigs led by just two points against a team in which the Lady Tigers enjoyed a 27-point margin of victory in their two regular-season matchups before the Lady Tigers recovered with a better second half. However, Meigs Coach Jason Powell wasn’t happy with his team’s first-half defense.
“I thought the first half was the worse defensive performance we’ve given all year long,” Powell said. “I don’t know what in the world (we were thinking). Maybe they were reading too many articles in the newspaper. In the first half we didn’t get any deflections, didn’t get any steals and Sequoyah was able to do whatever they wanted to do. They shot uncontested threes. The second half, we started getting some deflections and got some steals.
“But if it wasn’t for Ansley going on that run, I don’t know (how the game would have turned out). I think that helped set the tone for the second half and then we had a little conversation at halftime. We had better energy (in the second half) and one thing led to another and and we end up winning by 20-something points. But I didn’t think we played very well. If that was Red Bank or Signal Mountain, our season is over.”
Wade, who confirmed that her 20 points were career high, said it was just one of those games were she kept receiving the ball the shots were going down.
“I guess I just shot the ball well,” Wade said. “After the first couple of shots my teammates kept feeding me the ball and the shots went in.”
The win pits the Lady Tigers against rival McMinn Central in Tuesday’s title game at 6 p.m. at Loudon High School.
Lady Tigers 55, Lady Chiefs 28: Sequoyah led 7-4 before a bucket by Kassidy Kenny and a 3-pointer by Wade at the first-quarter buzzer to put Meigs ahed 9-7.
That seemed to spark Meigs, at least offensively, as the Lady Tigers outscored Sequoyah 21-12 in the second quarter.
Jacelyn Stone started off the second period with a trey and then Wade scored four straight buckets. After a Meigs free throw and another 3-pointer by Wade, Meigs led 24-12.
The Lady Chiefs rallied and trailed 24-19 late in the quarter, but a trey by Jaci Powell and a 3-pointer by Kenny put Meigs up 30-19 at the half.
Coach Powell’s halftime talk about defense apparently helped as the Lady Tigers gave up only nine second-half points.
Powell started off the third with a three and, after a brief dry spell, the Lady Tigers’ offense finished the quarter strong with a bucket by Anna Crowder and a pair of 3-pointers by Wade.
Meigs led 41-24 going to the fourth quarter.
The Lady Tigers gave up only four points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 27-point win – matching exactly the regular-season average win margin.