By: Jim Steele
McKENZIE, Tenn. - Saturday, both McKenzie Middle School Rebel and Lady Rebel basketball teams will be playing in the county tournament
Both teams punched their tickets Monday night in semifinal action. The Lady Rebels jumped to a big lead against Big Sandy and rolled to a 41-16 victory. The Rebels pushed a big lead over archrival Huntingdon, held off a late rally and claimed a 34-24 decision.
In the opener, McKenzie dashed to a 15-1 lead in the opening frame and never was threatened. By halftime, MMS led 22-5 and expanded that advantage to 35-10 after three.
Infinity McClerkin led a crowded scorebook for MCKenzie with 10 points. Carissa Britt tossed in eight. Anna Comer scored six, Emma McDaniel five, Emma Hawkins four, Alicia Barrileaux three and Kelsey Spivey two. Hawkins scored McKenzie's last four points and showed she may have prowess as the point guard of the future. She maneuvered in traffic twice for late scores.
Alex French had seven and Rebekah Caruthers had six for the Lady Red Devils.
McKenzie will face West Carroll, a team it split with in the regular season, 1 p.m. Saturday for the girls championship at McKenzie Middle School.
In the nightcap, McKenzie forced 24 turnovers and broke open a close game in with a 12-2 surge in the third frame. McKenzie led 24-12 after three, thanks to a big three by Chase Kelley, Chase Norden's stick back and a couple of buckets and free throw from Jack Surber. Kelley scored to open the fourth and the Rebels held what seemed like an insurmountable 14-point edge.
Huntingdon, however, picked up the pace on defense and pressed its way back into the game. The Mustangs scored 10 unanswered points and carved the deficit to fourh with 3:15 to play.
Paul Watkins ended the drought with his bucket at the 2:47 mark, followed by free throws from Josh Pruitt, and buckets from Surber and Bransen McCaleb. MMS ended the game with an 8-2 run and will play Big Sandy, a team it split with in the regular season, for the county title 2:30 Saturday. It is suggested fans go early in case the girls' game ends early.
Macon Bullock led the Mustangs with 10 and Jayden Williams added five.
Surber waS tops for the Rebels with 15. Kelley scored nine, McCaleb tossed in four while Pruitt, Watkins and Norden had two each.