BY JIM STEELE
MURFREESBORO (March 10) – Thirty years ago, on the Murphy Center floor in Murfreesboro, Gleason defeated Celina 52-44 for its first girls’ basketball championship.
Celina is now known as Clay County, but the result is still the same. Gleason ventured to the Class A semifinals following its 55-39 victory Thursday afternoon in Murfreesboro.
Gleason featured a balanced attack, led by Alayna Anderson and Carrington Lifsey, that eventually subdued the Lady Bulldogs as the game went on.
Anderson and Lifsey each had 16. Meanwhile, Clay County struggled to find production. It had no double-digit scorers, which says a lot about Gleason’s defense. CCHS shot just 29 percent from the floor.
Clay took a 13-12 lead in the first quarter, but once Gleason warmed up, it took control of the game. It opened the second with a 6-0 run on the fingertips of Sophie Wilson, Anderson and Lifsey.
Lifsey’s three with 4:57 in the half vaulted Gleason in front by 10, but Clay County cut it back to four, 25-21, then reduced the deficit to three, 27-24, with 2:22 to play and that’s how the half ended.
Clay County edged in front early in the third after hoops from Bella Ashlock and Halle Buford, 28-27. That’s when the party ended. Gleason embarked on a 16-4 run that put the game away. Gleason led 43-32 at the end of three.
Gleason’s lead bellowed to 19 points in the final canto.
Abby Head led Clay County with nine points, Briley Burchett scored eight. Ashlock led with eight rebounds.
Tinsley Parkins joined Anderson and Lifsey in the double-figure category with 11 points.
Clay County ended its season at 27-7. This was Gleason’s third straight victory over Clay County/Celina at the state tournament.