Arts & Sciences' girls started and finished well in both halves of their District 5-A high school basketball home game Friday. They did both extremely well in the second half.
A big scoring outburst coming out of halftime, backed by a 25-point fourth quarter, sparked the Lady Patriots to a 70-48 victory over Silverdale Baptist Academy.
The teams face each other again Monday at Silverdale to complete a game from earlier in the season that was postponed at halftime after an announcement was made about a Silverdale student being killed in a car wreck. The Lady Seahawks lead that one 33-27.
CSAS (10-9, 6-1) clinched at least a tie for the district regular-season title by winning Friday. Silverdale (10-12, 4-2), which also has a district home game remaining Tuesday against Grace Academy, would have to beat the Lady Patriots by more than 22 points to have a chance at being top-seeded for the district tournament.
The Lady Patriots were trailing before a closing 8-1 run got them within 29-28 at halftime. Afterward, their locker room may not have been a place for the faint-hearted. When a coach's response about what was talked about at halftime is similar to CSAS's Lee Ziegler's -- "We wanted to come out and play to our potential" -- the code isn't difficult to crack.
"We were nervous in the first half," Ziegler said. "There were times we didn't catch the ball. Several passes went right through our fingers. We weren't finishing shots. It was all things I know we can do."
Their outlook refreshed, the Lady Patriots came out of halftime and scored the first 14 points. They made six of eight free throws before missing two that could've made the run 16.
"What happened with us in the third quarter was we got a little stagnant on defense. CSAS came out and hit four of five shots, which they didn't do in the second quarter," Silverdale coach David Massengill said of the Lady Patriots' shooting from the floor starting the half. "We had a decent defensive effort, but we didn't make enough plays to stay with them."
Guard Brianna Wesley led the Lady Patriots with 25 points. Post player Courtney McPherson scored seven of her 18 in their 12-2 start but was limited to three points the rest of the half.
"I felt like we ran the floor really well," Ziegler said of the second-half effort. "I felt like if we could get it inside to Courtney, it would open up some jump shots, and it did. Our emphasis more than anything was on rotating the basketball."
The Lady Seahawks, who had a 26-8 stretch in the first half, got back within 47-40 before CSAS began pulling away with a little more than six minutes to play.
Mariah Massengill's 37 points -- her seventh consecutive game with at least 30 -- led Silverdale. Sloane Woodard was next with six.
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.