By: KJ Cardinal
The 43rd Annual Mike Lee Holiday Basketball came to a close on Friday night with the Coffee County (TN) girls and the Belmont boys coming away with the titles in two exciting match-ups in front of a packed crowd in Farmington.
GIRLS FINAL: COFFEE COUNTY 54, KENNETT 33
• PHOTOS | VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
The Coffee County girls from Manchester, Tenn. were all the buzz coming into the finals, but Larry Meader had his quick and feisty Kennett squad ready to play and they did the 603 proud. The Lady Raiders would take home the title with a 54-33 victory, dethroning the two-time defending champions in the process.
The Eagles seemed to be un-intimidated by a Coffee County team that entered the game with a near 78-point average margin of victory in their first four games of the tournament. Kennett’s Catherine Chick really challenged Chloe Gannon on the opening tip and the Eagles became the first team in the tourney to prevent the Lady Raiders from scoring a three on their “Island” set play on the jump ball. It was a minor victory in the grand scheme of things, but seemed to instill confidence for Kennett right from the onset.
Channah Gannon connected on a quick jumper just eight seconds into the game to get the Lady Raiders on the board, but a three-pointer by Kaylee McLellan would give the Eagles a brief lead, 3-2, marking the only time Coffee Country trailed during a game at The Bash.
Kennett’s speed and ball pressure seemed to rattle the Lady Raiders at times as the Eagles held Coffee County to 30 points fewer points than any other team in the tourney. Kennett trailed 12-3 after the first quarter and later 20-3 in the second and the game appeared destined for another blow out like the other Coffee County contests. The Eagles had other thoughts, however, as they outscored the Lady Raiders 16-11 to close the half, sparked by two Hope Elias threes, and trailed by just 12, 31-19, at the break.
The Eagles were energized at the start of the second half and tied the stanza, 9-9, but the 4th quarter belonged to the Lady Raiders as they closed out the game on a 14-5 run to earn the title.
Coffee County was paced by 16 points from Channah Gannon and 11 apiece from Julie Ruehling and Natalie Barnes. Kennett was led by 9 apiece from Elias and Kailey Goodhart, while Sam Sidoti chipped in with 8.
GIRLS ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
MVP: Chloe Gannon, Coffee County (TN)
Mya Brown, Profile
Channa Gannon, Coffee County (TN)
Emma Gillis, Sanborn
Kaley Goodhart, Kennett
Kourtney Kaplan, Franklin
Kaley Mclellen, Kennett
Darci Stone, Belmont
Team Sportsmanship Award: Belmont
Individual Sportsmanship Award: Emaleigh Tarpley, Coffee County
BOYS FINAL: BELMONT 56, PROFILE 46
• PHOTOS | VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS | ROMIKE REPORT
The boys title game pitted Division III Belmont’s size and length versus Division IV Profile’s speed and shooting. The size of Belmont’s front court proved to be too much as the Red Raiders defeated the Patriots, 56-46.
The Red Raiders jumped out to an early 15-6 lead after one and took a 29-20 lead into the break, but the Patriots responded with a 7-0 run to start the second half and get back into the ball game. That two-point margin, 29-27, however, was as close as Profile would get.
The Belmont big man duo of Anakin Underhill (19 points) and Keegan Martinez (18) proved to be the difference maker for Tony Martinez’s squad.
Junior sharp-shooter Josh Robie struggled to get it going offensively in the first half for the Patriots as he was held to just four points. He came into the game needing 17 points to reach his 1,000th and he would reach the milestone on a pull-up jumper in the 4th quarter and finish the game with 17. He finished the tournament with 123 points, which broke Tim Lee’s 25-year mark of 105 set back during the 1997 event.
Alex Leslie (13) and Karsen Robie (12) also netted double-figures for Profile.
BOYS ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
MVP: Anakin Underhill, Belmont
Jake Avery, Lin-Wood
Jordan Berko, Farmington
Ben Dougherty, Kennett
Hugh Hamilton, Coe-Brown
Jack Krasnof, Derryfield
Alex Leslie, Profile
Sam Reposa, Belmont
Josh Robie, Profile
Quinn Salter, Coe-Brown
Dominic Starr, Somersworth
Team Sportsmanship Award: Coe-Brown
Individual Sportsmanship Award: Gavin Forcier, Nute