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Championship Double

Coulter Grove girls’ title part of big weekend for Wilburns

100_5265The Coulter Grove Lady Hawks pose with the American Conference championship trophy.

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Kenzie Wilburn is one tough kid.

The Coulter Grove fifth-grader is also clutch.

Just when the Hawks looked to have the American Conference championship game put away, Alcoa rallied in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to six.

Wilburn responded with three straight baskets, Coulter Grove teammate Denae Fritz adding a fourth, and the Hawks pushed home to the title with a 31-22 win at the Blount County Elementary Basketball Tournament on Monday at Heritage Middle.

It was a big weekend all around for the Wilburn family with Kenzie’s older brother, Daniel, winning a high school football championship with Maryville’s Rebels on Saturday.

Wilburn finished with a game-high 14 points in the championship game, with Fritz pumping in 11. Chesney Lingerfelt had six for the Hawks.

Alexis Patty led the Lady Tornadoes with nine points, with Gracie Midkiff a basket back with seven points.

Wilburn’s championship-game performance came two weeks after suffering a concussion in the regular-season meeting with Alcoa. A week later, an errant pass from a teammate in practice resulted in a second.

Thankfully for the Hawks, Wilburn looked in perfect health on Monday.

Fritz knocked down an opening 3-pointer to get things started, and the Hawks blanked the Lady Tornadoes to lead, 7-0, after a quarter. Wilburn had yet to tally. As Alcoa regained its footing over the middle quarters, she began to heat up.

“She always comes through,” Coulter Grove coach Patrick Dickson said. “I was nervous when they cut it to six because Alcoa’s a good team and, at this level, the game can change so quickly.”

Alcoa got within 23-17 with four minutes remaining.

“I was hoping by the end of the third to be down five or six,” Alcoa coach Michael Baumann said. “We almost got there.”

Wilburn answered with a baseline jumper, a drive to the basket and a layup off the break to steady the Hawks and push home to the championship.

“I was just nervous,” she said. “I really wanted to win.”

It showed.


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