WHITE HOUSE, TN — Erica Haynes-Overton scored 26 points in 17 minutes and her team forced 29 turnovers as the East Nashville Lady Eagles (27-5) defeated the Cheatham County Lady Cubs (27-3) 71-62 in Region 5AA semi-finals action from White House.
Haynes-Overton, a Class AA Miss Basketball finalist, minutes was limited in the first half due to foul trouble. She picked up her third foul with 6:37 left in the second quarter with her team up 18-16 joining freshman point guard Ariel Richardson who also was called for three fouls. With three started saddled to the bench, reserve players freshman Jaylenn Knox (12 points), Neisha Woodland (11 points) and Markiah Woodland (four points) combined for 27 points, including 17 of East Nashville’s 20 second quarter points in a key part of the game.
“At that point the game could have gone either way,” said East Nashville head coach Missy Donaldson. “Jaylenn used her quickness to give them trouble. Neisha and Markiah are veterans and played like that in a crucial time. We needed them tonight and they produced.”
Hayes-Overton scored two baskets early in the third quarter to stretch the lead to nine but picked up her fourth foul at the 6:28 mark. The Lady Eagles turned up their defense, forcing 11 turnovers and held the high scoring Lady Cubs to eight third quarter points.
Cheatham County didn’t go down without a fight as they stayed close throughout and cut the lead to five on an Abby Douglas (26 points) basket with 26 seconds left in the game. Lady Eagle sophomore Quentarra Mitchell swished two free throws to put the game away and send East Nashville to the regional finals for the second consecutive year.
The victory avenged a December one-point loss to the Lady Cubs. That game was the third one after losing 2016 state tournament most valuable player Kaiya Upton to a knee injury. They now will take on District 10AA rival Pearl-Cohn for the fourth time this season. Pearl-Cohn has a 2-1 edge this season.
“We hoped to be here again and here we are,” said Donaldson. “Erica has carried the load for us and now she is getting help. Losing Kaiya made her job harder. The others are now picking up for her. The confidence they showed tonight was good to see. Our veterans like Kyra (Trice) Neisha, Quentarra and Markiah are blending well with our younger players.”