Red Bay girls defend title, defeat East Franklin 44-28
RED BAY – East Franklin point guard Kendra Baker scored a game-high 19 points and attempted a tournament-high 18 free throws, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Red Bay junior girls.
The top-seeded Lady Tigers, the defending Franklin County champions, defended their title by defeating No. 3 East Franklin 44-28 Monday night.
Red Bay used its traditional full-court press to harass East Franklin into 15 turnovers, including eight in the first quarter.
The Lady Tigers opened the game with four steals and eight points in the first minute, and Shantell Nichols and Hannah Sharp each scored six points to give Red Bay a 20-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Autum Thomas hit 1-of-2 free throws and Baker made a steal and layup to cut the lead to 21-9 in the second quarter, but Red Bay countered with three straight baskets and a 10-3 run to lead 31-12 at halftime.
Baker accounted for all five of East Franklin's second quarter points and went to the line 10 times in the second quarter but converted just three attempts.
In the third quarter, the Lady Rebels outscored Red Bay 7-6 as Ciara Harville scored three points and Baker added a putback. Red Bay's scores came from jumpers by Morgan Mason and Jessie Barksdale and a layup from Nichols.
In the fourth quarter, Baker scored nine points but Red Bay still managed to lead by as many 20 points.
In addition to drilling the game's only 3-pointer, Baker converted a 3-point play, hit a driving layup and hit 1-of-2 free throws, but Red Bay countered with scores by Nichols, Whitney Sharp, and Miriah Horton, along with a free throw from Barksdale.
Nine Red Bay players scored as Nichols led with 12 points, while Whitney Sharp had 11 and Hannah Sharp added eight. Morgan McKinney, Horton, Maranda Barnett, Lexie Lindsey, Mason and Barksdale each finished with two points for the Lady Tigers.
Red Bay won the championship last season by beating Belgreen. This year, the Lady Tigers beat Tharptown Saturday to advance to the finals, and East Franklin defeated Vina Thursday and Belgreen Saturday.