published Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

White County girls oust Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser couldn't have scripted a worse time for her Lady Raiders basketball team to have a period of ineffectiveness offensively.

The White County girls couldn't have scripted a better ending.

The Warriorettes outscored the Lady Raiders 22-5 in the final quarter and advanced to the Region 3-AAA semifinals with a 56-44 victory Friday night at Cleveland. The hosts shot 3-for-10 in the fourth quarter from the foul line and went the final 7:25 without a field goal, being outscored by 19 in that span.

White County (20-11), which will play McMinn County (20-8) in Monday's semifinals at Cleveland, had two of its past three seasons ended by the Lady Raiders. The other Monday semifinal pits Bradley Central (27-2) and Cookeville (22-10).

"It's a good win for us," said White County forward Kelsey Roberts, who had the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:23 left. "Cleveland goes to the boards hard and it's a constant battle underneath, so we couldn't lay off at any point.

"They've beat us a couple times in a row, so it feels good to come up here and beat them on their home court."

The visitors led by three points after a quarter, but Cleveland seized control of the next two periods by crashing the offensive glass. The Lady Raiders finished with 17 offensive rebounds -- 10 in the second and third quarters, when they led by as many as 10 points. Their advantage stood at 37-27 on a putback by Shawnia Anderson with 2:53 left in the third quarter.

Cleveland managed only two field goals the rest of the game, though -- layups by sisters Atarah and Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad. The latter made it a seven-point edge 35 seconds into the final frame.

"I'm still trying to figure out what happened," Kiser said. "It makes it a whole different ballgame when you're not putting the ball in the hole. It hurt us against Bradley and it hurt us tonight."

Loren Foster scored 17 points for the Warriorettes, while Roberts had 10 points and 14 rebounds. Allyson Quillen had 10 points despite battling foul trouble throughout.

White County finished 20-for-25 at the line and 10-for-14 in the fourth quarter.

"We were finally able to hit some shots," White County coach Bryan Haley said. "To be on the road in a win-or-go-home situation, it's hard, but I'm super proud of the kids. When we took the lead, you got the sense that we had gained a confidence that we hadn't had in a while."

Cleveland missed 12 of 20 free throws, including the front ends of a couple of one-and-ones. It had another shot waved off due to a line violation.

Cleveland forwards Anderson and Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad combined for 20 points and 22 rebounds.

"I thought our forwards were doing a heck of a job inside, but they just weren't getting rewarded for it," Kiser said.

Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad added 10 points in her final game as a Lady Raider.

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