The Central Tennessee Tide Junior AAU team played in the Nike National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia recently. The girls won the Premier Gold division National Champion-ship. After finishing second in pool play the team started bracket play with a win over the Austin Elite from Austin, Texas. The Tide had three players with double digits points in route to a 73-55 win. Cannon County's Maleah Scott led the way with 17 points, while Kinsley Logan hit four three pointers and had 16 points, and Lauren Graves hit four threes and had 16 points as well.
The team then defeated the Flow Basketball Academy out of Chicago, Illinois 63-56. This game featured a great comeback by the girls after trailing by as many as 18 points in the first half. Maleah Scott led the way in scoring again with 18 points. The Tide knocked down 11 three pointers with Kinsley Logan hitting 4, Alexis Loman hitting 3, and Katie Thomas and Lauren Graves hitting 2 apiece.
In the semifinals the girls faced NFE Gold out of Detroit, Michigan. After trailing by 7 with 3:00 left Katie Thomas hit three straight three pointers to give the team the lead and Courtney Pritchett iced the game with two late free throws for a 56-48 win to propel the girls to the championship game.
In the Championship game the girls squared off against the Baylor Basketball Academy of Gary, Indiana. who were led by a 6-5 post player. This game featured multiple lead changes and went back and forth most of the game. With the game tied at 63 Katie Thomas hit a short jumper to get the lead to 65-63. After a made free throw by Baylor to make it 65-64, Katie then drove the lane and drew the big girl and was able to hit Maleah Scott on the backside for a basket making the score 67-64.
Baylor's big post player scored with 1:36 left to cut the lead to 67-66. After a turnover by the Tide, the girls were able to create a turnover of their own to get the ball back with 26 seconds left to play. Baylor had 5 fouls to give before the Tide would be shooting free throws. The girls were able to inbound the ball 5 times under merciless pressure. Courtney Pritchett walked to the line and nailed two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to seal the victory and the Championship 69-66.
The Tide was lead in the game by the girls three point shooting. They were able to hit 15 three pointers including 10 in the first half. Lauren Graves led the way with 6 threes and 18 points. Kinsley Logan had 5 threes and 17 points. Katie Thomas had 3 threes and 15 points and Alexis Loman hit a one three pointer.
Coach Eddie Helton stated, "I have been coaching a long time and this may be the best shooting team I have ever coached." He went on to say, "The last 3 teams we played were three of the best teams we had played all year. They were definitely more athletic, bigger and faster than we were, but we were better fundamentally and the better team. These girls are some of the most competitive kids I have coached and they all hate to lose. They have the heart and desire to compete and win against any team in the country. I would go to battle with them any day against any-one. They have the heart of a champion and now the title to go along with it."