The Cumberland Gap Lady Panthers have seemingly taken the month of December to find themselves.
The Lady Panthers started with a win against the West Greene Lady Buffaloes Dec. 6 and began showing improvement despite playing some very talented opponents such as Greeneville and Grainger County. During the West Greene game, Brittney Cupp and Brook McMichael scored 11 and 10 points respectively on the way to victory by the final score of 39-31. It was a nine-point fourth period that gave them the victory. Also sharing in scoring were Alyssa Pierce, Hayli England, Hayley Wilson and Hannah Heath.
The meat of their schedule came up next, beginning with a battle with the Lady Green Devils. The Lady Panthers had average scoring during their opening period except that the Lady Green Devils doubled their score to lead 16-8. A 24-9 second period left the Lady Panthers down 40-17 at the half against one of the top two teams around. The Panthers struggled to find momentum and the hopes of a comeback disappeared giving the victory over to the Lady Green Devils by the final score of 67-24. Scoring the most points during this contest for the Lady Panthers was Meredith Neely with eight. Seven other Lady Panthers recorded scores including Alyssa Pierce, Brook McMichael, Tabitha Roy, Hayli England, Hayley Wilson, Hannah Heath and Brittney Cupp.
Learning from that game, the Lady Panthers went out against Grainger County and had the Lady Grizzlies worried up until the second half. Brittney Cupp and Hayli England led with 17 and 10 points respectively but it wasn’t enough to complete a big upset attempt. A 29-28 Grainger lead at the half became a 65-44 victory led in part by Lady Grizzly, Kaitlin Simon’s 23 point effort. Others scoring for the Lady Panthers were Hayley Wilson with nine, Meredith Neely, Alyssa Pierce, Brook McMichael and Tabitha Roy.
The Lady Panthers used that experience to improve; even winning a holiday tournament in Knoxville. Alyssa Pierce was named all-tournament and Hannah Heath named Most Valuable Player. They played Middlesboro December 28 and came away with a nice 63-44 win.
The Lady Panthers have seemingly turned the corner on the season and only time will tell how far these rejuvenated girls will go. Their record as of December 28 was 7-6.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.