By Chris Yow
LORETTO — Catie Embrey has waited three years to get her first win at Loretto.
On Friday night, her Summertown team wasted no time making the experience an enjoyable one as the Lady Eagles never trailed in a 61-46 win to secure the District 12-A regular season title.
“Considering in the three years I’ve been (at Summertown), we’ve never beaten them here — this feels great,” Embry said following the win. “I told this group of seniors who have been with me since I started that I wanted them to never have to come back to Loretto.”
With this win, that will now be the case. With district tournament games being played at the higher seed, Summertown will now have home-court advantage for the tournament.
Summertown jumped out to a commanding lead in the first quarter, but Loretto didn’t make matters a breeze. The Lady Mustangs went on a 10-0 run, and rather than call timeout, Embry said she had faith in her team to battle through.
“My husband (assistant coach Preston) told me to call timeout, and I said no,” Embry said. “I knew they could handle it. The trust I have in them is very high.”
Katie Burdette cashed in on that trust and went to the other end, got a bucket and a foul. The junior post player knocked down the free throw, sparking a 22-2 run, and Summertown never looked back.
During that run, 12 of the Eagles’ 22 points came from the free throw line. With deadly accuracy, Summertown made the Mustangs pay for sending them to the charity stripe, finishing the game 27-of-34 from the line.
“We’ve lost a lot of games over the last three years because of free throws. I think these seniors took it personally, and worked incredibly hard to make sure they got better,” Embrey said.
Senior forward Hailey Jones led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points, 10 of which came from the line.
Karly Weathers was deadly herself from the line, hitting 10-of-13 from the line en route to a game-high 29 points. In the third quarter, she had 10 of her team’s 13 points.
Embrey said this team is special.
“I am so proud of this group of girls and what they’ve accomplished,” she said. “We have a lot more left to do this season, though.”
Summertown 61, Loretto 46
S 16 10 22 13 — 61
L 6 11 13 16 — 46
Summertown (61) — Kaley Campbell 6, Jenna Brazier 7, Hailey Jones 14, Rylee Long 12, Katie Burdette 5, Ansley Burleson 11, Reese Wilson 4, Karlie Campbell 2
Loretto (46) — Jenny Clifton 1, Julie Clifton 4, Madelyn Tidwell 2, Autumn Buttram 2, Karly Weathers 29, Laney Weathers 2, Kensey Weathers 4, Shelby Fisher 2
3-pointers — Summertown 4 (Kal. Campbell, Brazier, Long, Burleson), Loretto 2 (Ju. Clifton, Ka. Weathers)
Photos by Sarah Yow / SM-Tn Sports