SPENCER, Tenn.–If you asked anybody but Eaglettes head coach Tyler Sapp and his squad about their expectations for 2017, high is probably not the choice of word they would use.
Van Buren County, though, inched closer to maintaining the expectations left by former Eaglettes, namely current UTC guard Lakelyn Bouldin, as they eased past Boyd-Buchanan, 44-35
“Having this kind of success means a lot to the girls in the locker room,” Sapp explained. “They’ve had people tell them that they won’t be that good because they’ve lost people and all of that kind of stuff. It also means a lot to Tilly Dodson.”
Dodson, one of three seniors on the 2017 squad, scored nine on the night, which was second only to Mallory Christian’s 20. Her spotlight was often overshadowed by the performances of Bouldin and others throughout the years, but this season there was little in in the way of Dodson flourishing on the court.
“Cheryl Cole has been her coach forever, ever since she was in 3rd grade,” Sapp continued. “She had somebody different one year in middle school, me, and that’s it. It’s been a transition for her. She heard the chatter about Cole and Bouldin being gone, and although she still respects those girls, it’s motivated her and the other girls to carve out their own legacy.”
The Eaglettes struggled to find a grove early as they trailed until late in the first quarter when they knotted it up at 11 all. They would end the period with a 13-13 tie.
Although Dodson refused to make this her last game as an Eaglette, it was Mallory Christian that helped the cause in the 2nd quarter as she scored all 10 points to take a narrow 3-point lead at halftime.
“I watched their Bledsoe County tape about 5 or 6 times by now,” Sapp said. “Bledsoe played them tough and lost by 5 or more. They beat us pretty bad early in the year before we beat them by two here, so you never know what can happen. I told them that we’re going to have to play really hard to win this one. Anytime you can get your crowd behind you, that’s some huge bonus points.”
With some key threes and drives from Dodson and Christian, Van Buren County was able to keep the lead for the rest of the matchup, eventually pushing the lead to 9 at the end of the game. Neither team led by double-digits throughout the showdown.
Sapp and his team will travel down to Marion County Monday for a region semifinal against Silverdale Academy, but that matchup nearly became a repeat district foe.
“They didn’t play very well,” Sapp said, referring to the Silverdale in their game against South Pittsburg. “They didn’t shoot very well, but South Pittsburg came to play. I think we have a little bit of an advantage because this will be our fifth time playing at Marion County this year, and they haven’t played there at all.”
Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM CST in Jasper followed by a Marion County-CSAS matchup at 7:30 PM.
BBS — 13 | 7 | 11 | 4 || 35
VBHS — 13 | 10 | 10 | 11 || 44
BBS (35) — Laney Bone (9), Meredith Balthrop (12), Kelsey High (3)
VBHS (44) — Mallory Christian (20), Tilly Dodson (9), Kinzie Johnson (8)