McMinn Central's Elizabeth Masengil had to sit and watch a good portion of the Chargerettes' high school basketball game Monday at East Hamilton. Too bad she didn't get to see herself play. She might've been impressed.
Despite being saddled with foul trouble, Masengil scored 20 points and led McMinn Central past the Lady Hurricanes 50-42.
McMinn Central (4-1), which won the Class AA state championship last season, found itself in a much tighter game against East Hamilton than the three times the teams played last year -- the last in the Region 3 final -- with an average score of 71-37. By scoring the last seven points of the second quarter, the Chargerettes led by seven at halftime.
Masengil, who had been called for three fouls in the first half, returned and scored their first 11 points of the second half. Her 3-pointer at the 3:03 mark made it 35-22 and prompted a timeout by East Hamilton (5-1).
Forty seconds after play resumed, Masengil was called for a frustration foul, her fourth personal, after no call had been made when she was stripped of the ball.
"She's so strong, she'll score and they don't call it. Then she goes down the other end and does like this," McMinn Central coach Johnny Morgan said, holding his arms straight up, "and it's a foul. Now tonight three for four times she knocked people crazy. But the only thing I can figure why she doesn't get the calls is because she's so strong."
The senior forward didn't make many trips up and down the floor after returning in the fourth and ended up fouling out with 4:56 to play.
"I've always been aggressive," Masengil said. "Sometimes a little too much. I don't like to watch, either. I want to be out there helping my team."
Post player Elizabeth Trentham had six of her nine points in the Chargerettes' late-first-half surge and fellow freshman Kelsey Myers, who started the game, finished with 10 points. Myers and Trantham combined for 10 of their 12 points in the second quarter.
"Trantham had been struggling a little bit," Morgan said. "Myers did enough tonight to help us. At the start of the second half we were able to bring Masengil back in, and she came ready to play. That helped us a little bit."
The Lady Hurricanes held two two-point leads in the first quarter and two one-point leads in the second. The last was 16-15.
Even after the Chargerettes went up 47-32 when Haylee Morrow made a short jump shot off a secondary fastbreak, East Hamilton showed grit with a 10-3 finish.
"This time our turnovers were way down, but not as much as I'd have liked," East Hamilton coach Derek Morris said. "We were getting some good looks at the basket. They just weren't falling tonight. Even though we lost, I think it gave our girls some confidence. We went from losing by an average of 34 points three times in a row to eight."
Morris said the plan to attack Masengil defensively helped keep her on the bench as much as she was.
"We did a lot of good things," Morris said. "We just didn't do quite enough."
Eight Lady Hurricanes scored, led by Tiffany Lewis with 12 points. Shay Scott added eight.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.