Katie McCloud

Portland’s Katie McCloud protects the ball from a Beech defender in Friday night’s loss.

It was a tough week for the Portland girls as the Purple lost a pair of district games.

Last Tuesday, the Lady Panthers fell to Hendersonville 40-32. After trailing by seven after one period of action, Portland came back with a strong second period to trail by one at the break. Hendersonville responded with a 13-5 third quarter and built a nine-point advantage 31-22. The Purple cut into the lead in the fourth and trailed by two with 5:32 remaining but couldn’t complete the comeback.

“We had no girls to practice shooting after the Mt. Juliet game (Jan. 31),” Coach Scott Steinbrecher pointed out. “We weren’t focused in practice Monday or in our walk-through today. We have three shooters and two didn’t take a shot until the fourth quarter. We missed inside shots and that was because of our lack of focus. If we had a better practice Monday, we may have made some of those shots. We can’t count on Lillie (Whitehead) every game. She busts her tail because no one else steps up.”

Abbie Tomlinson recorded a 3-point shot to open the game before the Lady Commandos tied the contest up. A 7-0 run by the hosts pushed the Black and Gold up 10-3. Daley McCloud scored on a layup with 10 seconds remaining and Hendersonville closed out the scoring with two foul shots and a 12-5 edge.

A pair of Rayleigh Hester threes and an Abi Thomerson free throw left the Purple trailing 14-12. The Lady Commandos countered with a free throw and a 3-point shot by Alex Marshacck that pushed the lead back to six, 18-12. The Lady Panthers would close out the half on shots by Tomlinson, a Lillie Whitehead charity toss and a bucket from Sami Parker as Portland trailed 18-17 at the break.

Hendersonville’s Jeryn Jarrett fired in a 3-pointer as the third quarter started, but three straight points by Thomerson trimmed the margin to one, 21-20. After a Hendersonville bucket, Daley McCloud connected from outside to keep the Purple to within one, 23-22. Hendersonville would close out the quarter with eight straight points to lead 31-22 heading into the final eight minutes of action.

The Lady Panthers came back again as Katie McCloud threw in a 3-point bucket after a Whitehead foul shot, and Tomlinson and Thomerson made consecutive shots for a 32-30 difference at the 5:32 mark.

Both teams struggled down the stretch as Hendersonville finally broke the dry spell at the 1:03 mark on a field goal and added two charity tosses to expand their margin to six, 36-30. Whitehead made a layup with under a minute left to play before the hosts closed out the win with four straight points for the final margin of victory.

Tomlinson topped Portland in scoring with seven while Thomerson and Hester each had six. Whitehead and Daley McCloud contributed four apiece, Katie McCloud chipped in with three and Sami Parker netted two.

After the loss to Hendersonville last Tuesday, the Purple traveled to Beech Friday and dropped a 63-20 decision to the Lady Bucs.

“We played as bad as we have all year,” Coach Scott Steinbrecher said after the game. “Beech is very good and played well tonight. We panicked and fought the panic mode all night. We played hard, but it was just a tough night.”

Portland made 6 of 30 shots from the field, including just two in the opening 16 minutes of action.

“Two of my first three timeouts I called, I asked the girls who was going to score?” Steinbrecher explained. “We didn’t have anyone that wanted to score. Lexie (Williams) wants to score, but she’s out with an injury.”

The game started off well for the Purple as a Rayleigh Hester 3-point bucket put Portland on top 3-2 early. But Beech would score 13 points to close out the first period and would score the first 11 points of the second including three straight threes by Deshiya Hoosier and a 28-6 edge.

Abi Thomerson completed an old fashion three-point play to snap a long scoring drought for the Lady Panthers, but Beech closed out the half with six straight points and led 34-8 at the break.

The Lady Bucs continued to dominate in the third with Hoosier and Bri Ellis each contributing five as the hosts extended their margin to 44, 54-10. The Purple opened the fourth on a Sami Parker bucket and Daley McCloud followed with a short jumper and Madison Linville wrapped up the scoring on back-to-back 3-pointers.

Thomerson led Portland with seven points while Linville chipped in with six, Hester added three and Daley McCloud and Parker each netted two. Hoosier’s 19 points paced all scorers.

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