CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–On the very campus where Lakelyn Bouldin now makes her hardwood impact, the Eaglettes and new head coach Tyler Sapp are trying to do just that: make an impact on the season.
And a win over a Division II program could do just that, but Girls’ Preparatory had a different idea and claimed the 51-45 win over Van Buren County in the Martin Luther King, Jr. King of the Court Showcase presented by the Chattanooga Area Basketball Club.
“We’re still a little bit inexperienced with the kids that haven’t play a lot this season,” Sapp said. “We had some turnovers that are not very accustomed to us there at the end of the game where we just threw it to the other team. The ones who haven’t played that much, they probably missed 10-12 wide open layups that we’ve got to have. We player pretty good, but we had turnovers we usually don’t have, and that lost us the ball game.”
Van Buren County came into the matchup with a 6-10 record that contained a mass of quality opponents in the early stretches of the season. Against GPS, they were favored by a hair, but as the game wore on, their lead couldn’t stand the Bruiser barrage. After a slim 3-point lead at the 1st quarter and halftime breaks, Van Buren County was in the driver’s seat.
But eventually, every driver can have its day.
“I thought we both played tough,” Sapp said. “We came out to an early lead. Then Tilly Dodson picked up two fouls in the first half and I sat her down for about a minute and half. That kind of brought GPS back. They were pressing, and I ended up having to put her back in because some of those girls are not used to handling the ball in that kind of close game scenario.”
And as the second half began, the Eaglettes were never able to catch up, and Dodson eventually fouled out of the game after scoring 10 points on the night. Hannah Sullivan lead every player on the court in points at halftime with 11 before ending the night with 14.
The game, though, never escalated about a single-digit margin, but GPS seemed in total control as the game neared its ending as younger players started to turn the ball over more and more. The low total, though, indicated that neither team was really in control as GPS is known for lighting up the scoreboard, as are the Eaglettes.
“I think the time, location, and environment played a huge role for both teams,” Sapp said. “They did not shoot the ball the way I’ve been told they shot the ball, especially Brooke McCurdy. We played them last year at a Christmas tournament in Gatlinburg, but I never saw her play. I just been told by other people that they shoot the ball really well.”
The Eaglettes travel down to South Pittsburg Tuesday night for a District 6-A matchup before going on the road against to rival and Valley power Bledsoe County, Sapp’s alma mater.
GPS — 16 | 14 | 22 | 23 || 51
VBHS — 8 | 11 | 16 | 17 || 45
GPS (51) — Kenzie Jennings (15), Brooke McCurdy (13), Lindsey Wyatt (9)
VBHS (45) — Mallory Christian (15), Hannah Sullivan (14), Tilly Dodson (10)