BY JIM STEELE
WEAKLEY COUNTY (March 5) – For the 10th year in a row, a team from Weakley County will be headed to the state basketball tournament.
However, for the first time in county history, three local teams will tread the boards in Murfreesboro.
Dresden, Gleason and Martin-Westview gained entrance into the girls’ state tournament after winning substate games Saturday night.
Gleason defeated visiting Memphis-Westwood 67-31, Dresden traveled to Memphis and topped Memphis Academy of Health Sciences 51-44 to secure Class A tournament bids. Martin-Westview’s No. 2-ranked Lady Chargers upset visiting No. 1 Loretto 36-30. Loretto was stunned by Summertown in the Region 5AA championship.
Gleason – 67; Westwood – 31
Gleason’s Carrington Lifsey scored eight first quarter points and the Lady Bulldogs rolled to a 15-6 lead, en route to a 67-31 victory.
Gleason wrestled control of the game early and never was challenged. Only two players scored for Westwood, Tareka Bland scored 16 while Shelby Gray tossed in 15. Gleason enjoyed a healthy 33-15 lead at the break.
Gleason only hit four three-point buckets in the game, but it didn’t need to hit them. They controlled the game from the outset. Lifsey maintained her hot start in the third frame with back-to-back threes and the Lady Bulldogs began pulling away. Gleason outpaced Westwood 24-6 in the third for a 57-21 advantage.
The only question remaining was how badly would Gleason win.
Lifsey led Gleason with 25, including three triples. Miss Basketball finalist Alayna Anderson scored 18.
Gleason, 25-7, returns to state for the first time since the 2007 championship season. It will take on 25-5 Clay County, last year’s Class A finalist, 1:15 p.m. Thursday at MTSU.
Dresden – 51; MAHS – 44
Dresden’s Lady Lions took down Memphis Academy of Health Sciences 51-44 to claim a quarterfinal spot in the state tournament for the first time since 2018.
Lucy Curry’s 10 first-quarter points lifted Dresden to an early 19-10 lead. MAHS stayed close enough throughout the game to make Dresden uncomfortable. The Lady Lions led 29-22 at the half and maintained it going by the end of three, 36-29.
The two teams played swap-out in the fourth, both scoring 15 points. Dresden was able to load the bus to Murfreesboro.
Shunquiesha Bobo scored 16 and Kariah Parker added 13 for MAHS.
Carter led Dresden with 19, Maggie Oliver tossed in 14. The Lady Lions start four juniors and one sophomore.
Dresden, 22-9, faces 22-10 Van Buren County 10 a.m. Thursday at the Murphy Center.
Westview – 36; Loretto – 30
Westview accepted its unenviable challenge by hosting defending state champ Loretto and passed the test, winning 36-30.
The Lady Chargers implemented a patient offensive attack and did not hit a single triple in the game. Give Loretto’s defense credit for some of that.
The two Class 2A combatants tangled in a back-and-forth tussle that boiled down to late free throws. Westview hit five of six free throws in the final 40 seconds, two from McCall Sims, two from Jada Harrison, to secure the win.
The two teams tied at 6 after one, but Westview surged ahead at halftime 21-15. The Lady Chargers stretched its advantage by one heading into the final period, 30-23.
Sims led Westview with 13 points, Harrison added 11.
Karly Weathers led Loretto with 10 points.
Westview, 29-2, played Decatur County-Riverside 19-12, at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday at MTSU. Results were not available at presstime.
Semifinal action starts Friday and the championship rounds are Saturday. Brackets and times are available at tssaasports.com.