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Lady Huskies upset Cougars for tourney title

Stephanie King

Championship day of the Randolph County Middle School Basketball Tournament arrived as the Lady Cougars of SWRMS took on the NERMS Lady Huskies for the girls’ title. SWRMS defeated Uwharrie in the semifinals and were 16-0 enter the championship game. NERMS upset the number two seeded RMS Tigers in the second semifinals and were 11-5 coming into Saturday’s game.

This one got off to a slow start, but it would be the top seeded Cougars who scored first. Carley Everhart knocked down a three to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead. The lead would stay that way until the 1:30 mark of the quarter. NERMS picked up several steals during the first quarter and hustled on both ends of the floor. Their first points would come at the free throw line as Brecken Snotherly knocked down a pair. On their next trip down the floor, the Huskies took their first lead of the night with a three from Snotherly to make it a 5-3 game. Everhart banked in a three on the other end to give the lead back to the Cougars at 6-5. SWRMS would take that lead into the second quarter.

It was all SWRMS in the second quarter as they held the Lady Huskies scoreless. Katie Mull got the Cougars going in the low post as she scored three straight buckets to give the Cougars a 12-5 lead. Alexis Maness put her name in the scoring column with a bucket in the paint for a 14-5 Cougar lead. Everhart banked in a floater with about one-minute remaining to give the Cougars a 16-5 at halftime.

NERMS came alive in the second half as they rallied their way back. The Huskies scored four quick points at the start off the third quarter with a free throw and three from Edi Austin. Kaitlyn Gainey pushed the Cougars lead back to eight, but another three from Austin pulled the Huskies within five. The Huskies were able to cut the lead to two off a three from Snotherly on their next trip down the floor. Mull knocked down a pair of free for the Cougars to extend their lead back to four. Makayla McClain scored her first bucket of the game to cut the lead to back to two for the Huskies and Austin followed it up with a free throw to cut the lead to one. After three quarters of play, the SWRMS Cougars held a narrow 19-18 lead over the Huskies.

Snotherly came up big for the Huskies at the start of the fourth as she drained a three and gave NERMS a 21-19 lead. A free throw from Carleigh Whitson cut the lead to one for the Cougars, but Snotherly would push the lead back to two at the free throw line. Maness tied the game at 22 all for the Cougars midway through the quarter and this one would stay close. Both teams would make a pair of free throws to leave the game tied 24-24 at the end of the regulation.

The Cougars took a one point lead at 25-24 at the start of overtime off a free throw from Maness. Taesha Torain scored her first points at a crucial time as she knocked down a pair of the charity stripe to give the Huskies a 26-25 lead. Mull was able to score in the post for the Cougars and give them a 27-26 lead. NERMS tied the game at 27 off a free throw from Snotherly and they would take the lead off a bucket by McClain. McClain would ice the game at the line where she made a pair. The NERMS Huskies did what no other team could do this season as they topped the SWRMS Cougars 31-27 to take home the middle school basketball tournament title.

Leading the way for the Huskies was Brecken Snotherly with 13 points. Makayla McClain and Edi Austin each finished with 8, while Taesha Torain notched 2. For SWRMS, Katie Mull led the way with 12 points, while Carley Everhart finished with 8. Alexis Maness chipped in 8 for the Cougars.

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