Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
Elizabethton was unable to rally for the second straight night as they fell 69-57 to Martin Luther King on Saturday night in the TSSAA BlueCross Basketball Championships Class AA semifinals inside the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. The loss ended the defending state champs’ season with a 32-1 record and snapped a 52-game winning streak.
“Tonight just wasn’t our night,” Elizabethton Head Coach Len Dugger said. “I think that we maybe weren’t clicking and we didn’t make some shots that we normally make. We just kept trying to dig out of a hole and dig out of a hole. I am so proud of these kids. One game doesn’t define us and doesn’t define the season.”
The first quarter started eerily similar to Friday’s quarterfinals for the Lady Cyclones.
After the Lady Royals opened the scoring with a jumper, Melenda Perry answered for the Lady Cyclones, but MLK extended the lead to 8-2. Emily Kiser knocked down a shot and added two free throws to pull the Lady Cyclones back within two points. However, the Lady Royals ended the half on a 4-1 run to take a 12-7 lead into the second half.
MLK extended the lead to double-digits to open the second stanza, but Kayla Marosites knocked down a shot to put Elizabethton on the board. Kelci Marosites answered a pair of MLK free throws from Jordan Majors, and Kiser cut the gap to five points with back-to-back treys. A Kiser lay-up was answered at the buzzer by MLK’s Briana Smith as the Lady Royals held a 27-20 advantage at the half.
Kiser finished the first half with 12 points. Elizabethton was 7-of-23 shooting while MLK went 12-of-32.
After MLK opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Molly Kafader, Ke. Marosites took advantage of an old-fashioned three-point play to counter for the Lady Cyclones. A trey by Ka. Marosites pulled Elizabethton within four just three minutes into the frame, but a 10-0 Lady Royals run extended the EHS deficit to 14 points. MLK held a 49-36 after three quarters of play.
Elizabethton tried to mount a comeback with a Ka. Marosites trey, and Sarah Robinson and Ke. Marosites added two free throws to pull the Lady Cyclones within six with just under five minutes to play. However, MLK quickly snapped the run and took a double-digit lead to secure the win.
Ka. Marosites led the way with 18 points, while Kiser finished with 12 points. Ke. Marosites had nine points. Megan Pietrowski finished with eight points.
Majors and Smith led MLK with 29 and 20 points, respectively. For the game,
“Majors is a tremendous player and we just didn’t have an answer for her,” Dugger said. “She is skilled and gifted as well as tremendous athlete. Briana is as well and those two girls are basically the scoring themselves, and my hat is off to them.”
Elizabethton shot 20-of-57 from the field, while MLK went 23-of-48.
The loss ends the career of three standouts in Kyra McCrary, Pietrowski and Robinson.
MLK advanced to play McMinn Central in Sunday’s championship game.