By Maurice Patton
SUMMERTOWN – Neither team’s coaching staff was looking to overstate the importance of a January decision following Summertown’s 57-48 District 12-A win against visiting Loretto.
Especially in light of recent history.
“The past few years, we’ve met four or five times,” Lady Mustangs assistant Kelli Weathers said following the loss, the second in as many games for the state’s No. 3 team in Class A – according to this week’s Associated Press poll – after a 10-1 start.
“You don’t just feel like the first game is the way the season will end.”
Summertown (16-3, 4-0) threatened to pull away early, getting six 3-pointers in the opening half and looking to take a nine-point cushion into the locker room before Laney Weathers took a step across halfcourt and beat the buzzer with a trey to make it a 26-20 game.
After intermission, though, the second-ranked Lady Eagles extended the margin to as many as 15 points – largely behind junior post Katie Burdette, who scored six of her 12 points in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
“We love ‘paint touches’, in the halfcourt or in transition,” Summertown coach Catie Embrey said. “They did a good job trying to keep us out of the paint early. But we were fresher; we were able to go deeper into our bench and to go back to our starters late and get those touches.”
Loretto (11-4, 3-1) managed to get the deficit inside double digits as Karly Weathers scored 15 of her game-high 27 points in the final period, but never trailed by fewer than eight points.
“We like to play fast. They made us give (the ball) up early in transition, and we never had enough confidence to get it to the back (of their defense),” coach Weathers said. “And we gave up way too many uncontested 3s. We had a goal of how many we wanted them to score, and they exceeded that.
“When you don’t get done what you want on offense or defense, that’s a bad recipe.”
Hailey Jones led Summertown offensively with 13 points, with the hosts connecting on eight treys for the night.
“I think it’s a blessing to have two programs of that caliber, to get to prepare and compete against each other, in the same county,” Embrey said. “It highlights girls basketball. I love it.
“It still won’t be the last time we’ll meet. I’m sure we’ll see each other over and over and over … But seeding matters this year, so there’s a little more incentive for regular-season play.”
The two teams are scheduled to play Feb. 5 at Loretto.
Summertown 57, Loretto 48
L 10 10 6 22 – 48
S 13 13 13 18 – 57
Loretto (48) – Madelin Tidwell 2, Karly Weathers 27, Laney Weathers 3, Kensey Weathers 4, Shelby Fisher 10, Emily Cozart 2
Summertown (57) – Kaley Campbell 8, Jenna Brazier 8, Hailey Jones 13, Rylee Long 5, Katie Burdette 12, Ansley Burleson 9, Karlie Campbell 2
3-pointers – Loretto 3 (Ka. Weathers 2, L. Weathers), Summertown 9 (Kl. Campbell 2, Brazier 2, Jones, Long, Burleson 3)
Photos by Vanessa Beach / SM-Tn Sports