Feb. 11—Despite a strong final home performance from one senior, the Tuscola Lady Mountaineers (6-16, 3-8 in conference) could not hold grab a victory on senior night.
Senior Karsen Cherry recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds in the 65-41 loss to Smoky Mountain (9-14, 3-8). The game was the first double-double of the season, after coming just one rebound short on two occasions this year. It is the fourth double-double of Cherry's career with two last season and one as a sophomore.
Things got off to a rough start for the home side, going down 20-5 in the first quarter. Things continued to spiral in the second frame, being outscored 14-9 to go into the locker room trailing 34-14.
In the third quarter, following a disagreement with an official over a foul call, Tuscola girls basketball coach Heath Sutton was given a technical foul.
The second half as a whole went much better for Tuscola than the first half did. In the third quarter, they were outscored just 15-10 and in the fourth quarter, they finally flipped the script with a 17-16 advantage.
The loss did not damper the home crowd's spirits, however. Throughout the course of the game, fans in gold and in blue cheered loudly for their respective teams.
In addition to Cherry's strong performance, junior Sofia Wijewickrama scored six points, while junior Nora Jenkins put up five points and six rebounds. Sophomore Kendall Williamson also helped out on the boards with six rebounds.
As a whole, Tuscola out-rebounded the visitors 39-36. The issue came on keeping possession. The Mountaineers turned the ball over 25 times, compared to Smoky's 19.
Ten of those turnovers came in the first quarter. When the Lady Mustangs got out to an 11-1 lead, Tuscola had taken just one field goal attempt — a testament to the problems with keeping possession.
The Lady Mountaineers will hit the road on Tuesday to close out the regular season with a game against the Mountain 7-leading West Henderson. The Lady Falcons won the last meeting 59-25 — the seventh straight West Henderson win in the series.