For three and a half quarters, Elizabethton was locked into a battle. However, the Lady Cyclones had the winning edge.
Elizabethton pulled away in the final four minutes to take a 56-44 victory over Grainger in the Region 1-AA title game.
The Lady Cyclones now turn their attention to the substate round on Saturday. Elizabethton will host Gatlinburg-Pittman – who lost to Fulton in overtime on Thursday – with a ticket to the BlueCross Basketball Championships on the line.
The game looked like a title fight early on.
Kelci Marosites answered an early bucket by Grainger, but the Lady Grizz used back-to-back buckets from Kenzie Conn to push the lead to 6-2. Elizabethton, however, answered with a run of their own as Emily Schubert, Haley Burleson and Kayla Marosites scored points to push the Lady Cyclones into the lead.
Grainger answered to tie the game before the teams traded points. Burleson hit a shot in the closing seconds to give EHS a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ke. Marosites and Ka. Marosites knocked down shots to open the second quarter. After the Lady Grizz closed the gap once again to pull within one point, Burleson and Ke. Marosites recorded points for EHS, but Karli Combs closed the gap to five points at the half.
The start of the second quarter saw Melenda Perry and Ka. Marosites hit shots to extend the lead to 10 points. After Combs hit a jumper for Grainger, the Lady Cyclones hit the pause button. Elizabethton controlled the ball for a majority of the quarter by dribbling at midcourt. The Lady Cyclones were unable to score at the end of the quarter as the lead remained 39-31 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Lady Grizz kept touch early in the fourth by answering EHS points from Schubert and Ka. Marosites to close the lead to five points. From that point, Elizabethton hit the gas pedal. Emily Kiser drained a 3-pointer while Ka. Maronites added another trey to push the lead to double-digits just past the midpoint of the final stanza. Kiser added six points in the final three minutes as EHS secured the victory.
Tournament MVP Ka. Marosites tallied 16 points, while Ke. Marosites tallied 12 points. Burleson and Kiser had 10 and nine points, respectively. Schubert tossed in six points, and Perry added three points to the Elizabethton cause.
Ke. Marosites, Schubert and Kiser were also selected to the All-Region 1-AA All-Tournament team.
Combs led Grainger with 17 points, while Conn added 12 points.