Wednesday, January 02, 2013Author: Jonathan Herrmann
(Last modified: 2013-01-02 16:45:43)
To have Lenoir City play in the inaugural Loudon Thanksgiving Classic, the Redskins agreed to join the field of the Lenoir City Christmas Invitational.
What resulted was a Saturday afternoon meeting between the rivals to determine fifth place in the Christmas tournament.
Lenoir City won both games at home with the Lady Panthers overcoming a slow start to win 54-41 and the boys winning 81-69 on the hot shooting performance of senior guard Jordan Hall.
The Lady Redskins jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, forcing Lenoir City to take an early time out. A three-point shot by Kara Steil helped cool the early momentum of Loudon and the first quarter ended in a 10-10 tie.
After a quick basket by Loudon's Zoe Grimes to start the second, it was all Lenoir City. Defensively, the Lady Panthers harassed Loudon's ball carriers, forcing bad possessions for the Lady Redskins offense and creating quick baskets the other way.
"Their pressure hurt us," Lady Redskins coach Bryant Collins said. "When we could get into half court and run our sets we did all right, but they did a good job putting a lot of pressure on the ball. We're young at guard, and when they do that it's hard for us to run our sets. We just had way too many turnovers."
Sophomore Haley Morris, who led the team in scoring during the tournament, scored six of her game-high 17 points in the quarter, coming on assists from Teela Thomas, Maegan Hudson and Steil. By halftime, Lenoir City led 23-15.
"Our girls did a good job of hanging on and doing what they were supposed to do throughout the game," Lenoir City coach Josh Epperson said. "They did a good job of responding in the third quarter. We came out really well, forced two turnovers in the third quarter, and that set the tone for the second half."
Lenoir City's Allison Latham was the first to strike in the second half, knocking down a long two-point shot.
The play that really separated the Lady Panthers in the second quarter was when Hudson drove into the paint and made a quick bounce pass to Angel Varner, who scored the bucket while drawing a foul.
Varner missed the foul shot, but Morris was there to clean up the rebound and put it back for a score of her own, swinging four fast points in Lenoir City's favor.
Both teams made plenty of trips to the free throw line in the game, Lenoir City hitting 17 of 27 and Loudon just 10 of 25.
"The girls did a good job taking care of the ball at the end of the game," Epperson said. "There were a lot of free throws, a lot of stoppages in play, especially in the fourth quarter. "
With the win, Lenoir City improves to 11-5, which is just one win off the 2011-2012 season. Loudon falls to 8-6.
"This is going to definitely be a stepping stone we use to help us play with the enthusiasm we need and confidence as we go into the game against Catholic," Epperson said.
In the boys game, Lenoir City jumped out to a sizeable early lead, going up 26-16 at the end of one.
Hall scored 14 in the quarter, hitting three times from beyond the arc.
"I hadn't been shooting well the last couple of games," Hall said. "I knew I was due a game and I just said why not be today? I went and shot last night, so I said today's the day I'm going to play my best."
Loudon pulled back into the game in the second quarter as Clay Jenkins heated up from three-point range, scoring three times from beyond the arc. Andrew Hendrix hit from three as well and contributed seven points in the quarter.
Despite the early lead, Lenoir City led just 32-31 at the half.
In the third, Lenoir City got back to work, outscoring Loudon 20-9 in the quarter.
The Panthers extended the lead in the fourth quarter as Hall hit two more times from three, giving him eight for the game, one shy of a school record.
"I have to thank my teammates for getting me the ball and getting me open," he said. "I couldn't do anything without them."
Hall finished with 37 points.
"Any time he shoots it that well it makes our job a lot easier," Lenoir City coach Brandon Kirkland said.
Lenoir City lost to Loudon earlier in the season but were without center Lucas Hamilton, a difference Hall credited after the game.
Loudon, however, was without starting guard Jordan Belvin, who is expected to return to action Friday when the Redskins travel to Stone Memorial.
The two teams will meet one more time on Feb. 8.
"They're a good team; they're going to fight," Kirkland said. "They make runs; good teams make runs. Luckily, today we were able to withstand those runs and make some of our own to counter it."
Loudon falls to 8-6 after starting 7-2. The team is 2-4 without Belvin in the lineup.
Lenoir City is now 10-6. They host Knoxville Catholic Wednesday and will play at home at 6 p.m. Friday against William Blount.
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