The Grundy County girls’ basketball team overcame a six-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Sequatchie County 49-44 in Tuesday’s season opener at Ricky Richards Gym.
Carlee Smartt scored 17 points in the fourth, and freshman Gracie Panter hit a go-ahead basket with less than two minutes to play to lift GCHS (1-0) to the win in the Hall of Fame game.
“It feels really good to open up with a win like that over Sequatchie,” head coach Brittany Woodlee said. “That was a team that beat us by 30 last year, and we had not beaten them in a couple of years. To come out and get this win is a big deal.”
Grundy’s offense struggled in the first half, but Wrylee McDaniel carried the Lady Jackets by scoring 12 of the team’s 16 first-half points.
While only three other Lady Jackets accounted for four points in the half, GCHS kept pace with the Indians (0-1) to trail by just three, 19-16, at the break.
“Wrylee kept us in this game,” Woodlee said. “When our offense was slumping, she stepped up and carried the load.”
The third and fourth quarters turned the game into a nail biter. Both sides traded baskets for the lead until Sequatchie County went on a six-point run. The Indians widened the gap to 39-33 with 3:19 remaining, but that’s Smartt came alive and went on a scoring rampage
After scoring just a pair of free throws in the first three periods, Smartt netted four shots, including three 3-pointers, and was 6-for-9 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
With 2:45 remaining in the game, Smartt threw up a 3-pointer, scored it and was fouled. She hit the ensuing free throw to pull the Jackets within one point of the SCHS lead, 40-39. Jaidys McDaniel tied the game one possession later and forced a key turnover to give Grundy the ball right back. She fed Panter who hit a runner to put Grundy ahead for good. Smartt finished off the Indians by hitting three free throws to put the game out of reach.
“Carlee is our go-to girl,” Woodlee said. “She is who we know we need at the free-throw line when it matters most. She hit her shots, played smart and took charge when we needed her.”
Smartt had eight points in the final three minutes to finish with 19 for the game. McDaniel scored a second-most 14 points, and Panter’s basket was the first of her career.
Jillyen Givens led Sequatchie County with 12 points. Hannah Swafford ended the night with 10.
Grundy is back in action today in a rare doubleheader. The Lady Jackets host Boyd Christian at 12:30 p.m. for an in-school matchup before traveling to Whitwell for a 6 p.m. tip against the Tigers.
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