Alex Harris scored 20 points Friday night to lead Sullivan South to a 64-58 victory over Greeneville in the quarterfinals of the Region 1-AA basketball tournament. It was her second game since her grandfather, longtime South announcer Larry Harris, died unexpectedly on Sunday.
“It was tough,” Harris said. “Monday night the game was tough, too. I just wanted to play for him. He loved coming to watch me play.”
He would have loved what he saw on Friday. His granddaughter connected six times from 3-point range before Greeneville’s defense got wise. Harris shot her team into position to win and her teammates took over from there.
Mollie Leslie added 17 points and Carissa Comsa had 12 plus a bunch of huge plays down the stretch.
“I can’t say enough about all of those girls tonight,” South coach Terry Hutson said.
South (20-11) advanced to the regional semifinals at Happy Valley, where it will take on South Greene on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Greeneville had forged a 53-53 tie before Comsa took over. In a 2½-minute stretch, she scored six points and grabbed a key offensive rebound to help the Lady Rebels put away the game. She more or less iced the victory by taking a charge with 44 seconds remaining.
“She played like a woman possessed tonight,” Hutson said. “She got in foul trouble early and we had to sit her for a while. Once she got back out there, we weren’t going to take her out.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Greeneville briefly tied the game midway through the second quarter, but Harris made back-to-back 3s to put the Lady Rebels back up by six.
South led 30-24 at halftime.
Harris connected twice more from long range early in the third quarter before Greeneville put an end to that by sticking to her like glue on defense.
Hutson said he was glad to see Harris put together such a good game, considering the circumstances.
“We came in last Sunday and were going to practice and she just got word right before we came to practice,” he said. “The first 30 minutes we were here, we didn’t do anything. We just consoled her.
“One of my girls spoke up and said, ‘I don’t know where your granddad would want you to be more than here.’ She started to come out of it,” Hutson added.
South’s Rachel Yates slowed a Greeneville rally in the third quarter with a 3-pointer from the right corner. It was the start of a flurry of activity from Yates, who scored nine points in the final three minutes of the quarter. The Lady Rebels finished the period on a 7-0 run to lead 53-46 heading into the fourth.
“The third quarter was huge, Hutson said. “She did the same thing against Unicoi. She comes off the bench and I tell her all the time, if you’re open, we want you to shoot it.”
The Lady Greene Devils, who finished 16-16, were led by Brylee Jones’ 21 points and Leah Fillers’ 20.