McMINN CENTRAL 62, DAVID LIPSCOMB 48
David Lipscomb 10 5 19 14 — 48
McMinn Central 15 11 15 21 — 62
David Lipscomb (48) — Loren Cagle 15, Easter 2, Kelli Smith 13, Ellenburg 5, Fields 6, Follece 3, Hamby 4.
McMinn Central (62) — Jenna Adams 23, Johnson, Casteel 4, Guariola 9, Elizabeth Masengil 21, Wells, Williams 5, Young, Cowart, Torbett.
3-point goals: Lipscomb 5 (Cagle 2, Smith, Ellenburg, Follece); McMinn Central 2 (Guariola, Williams). Records: McMinn Central (33-1); David Lipscomb 26-7.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.—The only thing more accurate than Johnny Morgan’s state-tournament game plan was how his McMinn Central girls’ basketball team executed it.
Morgan, the Chargerettes’ veteran coach with 11 state appearances to his credit, reminded them before their quarterfinal Thursday that layups, not outside shots, were the safest way to advance.
Top-ranked McMinn Central took the advice to heart, dominating inside the paint at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center in a 62-48 victory over David Lipscomb. Chargerettes post players Jenna Adams and Elizabeth Masengil combined for 44 of their team’s points, including 26 of the 35 in the second half.
“That’s our plan just about every game,” Morgan said. “We believe our inside game is as good as anybody’s and no matter what teams try to do to defend us, we’ve got two girls that are going to make it pretty tough on them.
“We hit just enough from the outside to keep them honest today, but we knew the key was going to be how we played down low. We’re pretty good at being patient and working for a good shot, and for some reason, whenever I remind the team to attack the basket, they just naturally get it to Jenna and Elizabeth more.”
Adams, a Miss Basketball finalist, had 23 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore Masengil added 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. They scored 13 of McMinn Central’s 16 second-half field goals.
The Chargerettes (33-1) will play Cannon County in a semifinal today at 3:30 p.m. EST. Cannon County defeated second-ranked Elizabethton 57-51 and gave McMinn Central its only loss this season during a Thanksgiving tournament.
McMinn Central never trailed, and a 9-4 start to the second quarter helped extend a three-point lead. When Sindni Williams made a 3-pointer and a jump shot in the closing minute of the first half, the advantage reached double digits for the first time.
“Early on they were double- and triple-teaming Jenna, and any time a team does that you know that there are going to be open shots,” said Masengil, who had 28 points in the Region 3-AA final and 25 in the sectional win. “It was just a matter of not letting nerves get to us and making those open shots.
“We wanted to jump on them early and not let them have any confidence. We wanted to take them out right away.”
Lipscomb rallied to within five on Anna Follece’s 3-pointer late in the third quarter, but the Chargerettes answered with a 12-4 run into the fourth quarter and put the game away.
“That was frustrating, but it’s also the mark of a very good team,” Lipscomb coach Ernie Smith said. “Every time we got a little momentum or tried to make a run, they would answer with a big bucket.
“The scouting report was that they had two very good post players, and that was pretty accurate. They make it really tough on you to find a way to defend them.”
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...