By Crystal Burns
The Gibson County Lady Pioneers punched their tickets to the TSSAA BlueCross Class A State Tournament with a 57-42 win over Memphis Business Academy on the road Saturday night.
It’s the second time in the last four years the Lady Pioneers will compete in the state tournament.
The team will leave for Murfreesboro Wednesday morning at 9. Their first game is Thursday at 6 p.m. against Summertown (26-7) at Middle Tennessee State University. The winner advances to the semifinals Friday at 6p.m., where they will play the winner of Eagleville (22-9) and Midway (26-6). The championship game will be played Saturday at 4 p.m.
The four teams in the opposite bracket are Oneida (26-7), Loretto (31-1), Clarkrange (33-3) and a familiar Gibson Co. foe, Greenfield (28-5). Greenfield used 13-0 run in the first quarter of the Region 7-A Championship to defeat Gibson Co. 49-40.
The Lady Pioneers were able to trim the lead to three points in the fourth quarter, Greenfield held the ball on offensive, forcing the Gibson Co. to begin fouling with 1:45 left in the game. The loss sent Gibson Co. to Memphis for the substate game.
GCHS principal Jim Hughes said the community’s support for the team throughout the season and post-season has been impressive.
“You couldn’t ask for a better community at the games,” he said. “Their support is just great. It says a lot about how much they care about Gibson County High School.”
Hughes also complimented head coach Mitch Wilkins and his team.
“[Coach Wilkins] does such a fine job always trying to better the program,” he said. “He’s continuing the tradition of Gibson County High School having a great girls’ basketball program.”
Of the players, Hughes said they embody all the qualities teachers and administrators want from their student-athletes.
“They’re good students. They’re good people. They’re a great basketball team.”
The Victory 93.7 will broadcast the Lady Pioneers’ state tournament games live. The Tri-City will update the Facebook page with game results and will have full coverage next week.