By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It’s playoff basketball time on the campus of Tipton-Rosemark Academy.
The Rebels got things rolling with a 26-6 first quarter outburst against the Fayette Academy Vikings Monday night leading to a 64-33 win.
The boys earned a Division II-A West Regional Quarterfinal match up at Northpoint. Meanwhile the Lady Rebels were in the bleachers watching what Head Coach Cedric Anderson’s defensive philosophy can bring when in full use.
Tuesday on the court of the TRA Gymnasium gave the girls a chance to employ the full court press, traps and quick switches to neutralize the St. George’s Lady Gryphons. Behind 15 points on 5 three-pointers from senior guard Megan Sanfratello, the Lady Rebels were victorious 79-32.
“Now we have to keep that momentum,” Sanfratello said. “We’ve never had this type of momentum ever. I feel like after tonight, I have a big feeling we can get to State.
“Whenever we practice with the guys we want to play like them,” she added. “After their win last night and we saw how they picked up the intensity in the playoffs, we wanted to be like that because we know we’ll have a chance.”
The Rebels used intense defense and timely offense to reach the State championship game in 2019. For Lady Rebels seniors Sanfratello, Abby West, Eva McIntosh and Grace Harvey, the time in now to get things rolling for a possible run to Nashville.
Sanfratello had the green light all night launching three-pointers over the St. George’s defense. Her first triple of the night made the score 7-2. Her teammate Raven Sims followed with a trey of her own and a layup. TRA was ahead 12-2.
The rest of the first quarter the Lady Rebels outscored St. George’s 15-9 with Sanfratello drilling a couple more triples. Also scoring for TRA in the run were Jordan “JoJo” Allen and Brianna Hall.
TRA’s 27-11 advantage grew to 57-13 by halftime. The Lady Rebel defense held the Lady Gryphons to a single basket during the 8 minutes.
West and Allen got TRA’s scoring started with back-to-back layups. Then Sanfratello hit another three-pointer to make the score 34-11. After Hall’s layup, St. George’s got its one bucket to make the tally 36-13.
The final 21 points of the half belonged to the Lady Rebels with junior guard Hannah Powell stepping up contributing. She hit a three-pointer which led to triples from Hall and Cat Turner to make the score 57-13.
Sanfratello hit one three-pointer in the second half which made the score 64-18.
“I feel like it’s my senior season and it’s finally sitting in that it’s my last chance,” she said. “So I’m going to give it my all.”
The Lady Rebels dominated the action defensively in the second half to outscore St. George’s 22-19 to earn a trip to USJ later this week to face the Harding Academy Lady Lions. TRA has secured a spot in Sub-State but now will try to reach the championship game to earn the first home Sectional game in school history for the Lady Rebels.
“Hopefully we want to host,” Sanfratello concluded. “We’ve just got to focus on those final four games.”