Elizabethton left everything they had on the court Thursday night.
The Lady Cyclones saw their season come to a close in a heartbreaking double overtime decision as they dropped an 84-76 decision to undefeated Jackson South Side in the Class 3A Semifinals in the BlueCross Basketball Championships in Murfreesboro.
The loss ends Elizabethton’s season one game shy of the state championship game.
With a combined 160 points, the game was the second-highest-scoring contest in girls’ state tournament history.
Elizabethton had the hot hand early.
Lina Lyon and Katie Lee opened the scoring with back-to-back buckets, while Marlee Mathena hit a jumper to push EHS to a 6-0 lead. After the Lady Hawks tied the game at 8-8, Rena Lana broke the tie while Olivia Holly hit a 3-pointer to power EHS to a 15-11 lead after a quarter of play.
Lane and Lee combined to help Elizabethton have a quick start as the Lady Cyclones took a double-digit lead three minutes into the quarter, and a quick 7-0 EHS run pushed the advantage to 30-15 with 2:49 left on the clock.
The teams traded points with Reiley Whitson hitting key free throws as the Lady Cyclones maintained a 34-22 halftime lead.
Jackson South Side, however, battled back in the third quarter as they used a 20-8 run to open the quarter. EHS answered with shots from Lane and Lyon as EHS held a slim 49-45 lead after three complete quarters.
The final quarter was a back-and-forth heavyweight title fight.
The teams traded shots as EHS was Whitson and Lyon hit shots to push the lead to eight points, but the Lady Hawks cut into the lead with a run of their own. South Side took a 60-59 lead with 1:07 left on a pair of Ti’mia Lawson free throws, but Mathena answered with a pair of free throws on the other end with 34 seconds left.
After Albany Collins hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to give the Lady Hawks a 63-61 lead, Lyon drove in and tied the game with six seconds left to force overtime.
In the first extra period, Whitson opened the scoring with a bucket, but Lawson answered with a pair of free throws. After Lyon pushed the Lady Cyclones back into the lead with a jumper, Lawson hit a pair of free throws to tie things up with 1:32 left in the first extra period.
After South Side ran the clock down, EHS saw the defense come up big with a turnover with seven seconds remaining, but a shot wasn’t able to fall as the period ended in a 67-67 stalemate.
Mathena opened the scoring quickly in the second extra period, but the Lady Hawks used a free throw and jumper to regain a 70-69 advantage with two minutes left.
Elizabethton continued to battle in the closing moments but was unable to get back in front in the closing seconds.
Lyon finished with 24 points and seven rebounds, while Lane had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Whitson tallied 13 points. Lee scored 10 points for the Lady Cyclones.
As a team, Elizabethton shot 44% from the field and was 22-of-26 from the free throw line.
Lawson – who is a Miss Basketball Finalist – led South Side with 36 points. Jaidynn Askins had 20 points.
Photos by Michael Lindsay/Upper Cumberland Reporter