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Lady Rebels are best sixth-grade team in Shelby County

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

TRA Sixth grade No. 23 TRA Sixth graders champs TRA sixth graders Jackson defenseMEMPHIS — The nerves settled and it was time for the ideal end to a magical 2014-15 campaign for the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels sixth-grade team.
For two and half quarters, the Lady Rebels’ shots were either too long or coming up short. And TRA trailed 5-4 at halftime to the St. George’s Lady Gryphons. But midway in the third quarter, Lady Rebel Jordan Allen hit a shot in the post that sparked a 8-0 run to close out the period.
The rally helped TRA pull away for a 16-9 victory, 23-1 record overall and the Shelby Tournament Championship.
“It has been a very special season,” TRA Head Coach Brandi Thornell said. “It feels   really, really good because I’ve been coaching some of them since they were 4 years old or Kindergarten. This is the first time we’ve actually played in a tournament.
“When you play elementary ball, you don’t get a trophy or to go to a tournament at the end,” she continued. “So this the first time, fifth and sixth grades we got to go to a tournament. To win it all is fantastic.”
For a few moments in the first half a championship outcome for TRA looked shaky on the Harding Academy Gymnasium court. St. George’s packed the paint area triple-teaming any Lady Rebel who caught a pass from guards Mary Catherine Turner, Emma Kate Wilder, Sarah Allyn Thornell or Emily Crane.
The defensive strategy worked with only a couple baskets from Lady Rebel Breanna Hall. TRA attempted nearly 30 shots in the first half making just two.
“They came out really slow and not making there shots,” Thornell said. “Once they got into their groove and playing their game, they pulled ahead.”
Allen got things rolling in the third quarter with a bucket down low. Then Hall hit a jumper to make the score 8-5 in favor of TRA.
With 29.9 seconds left in the third period Allen shut the door on the Lady Gryphons with a three-point play to make the score 11-5. Hall added a free throw to make the score 12-5 entering the fourth quarter.
The duo of Allen and Hall each hit a shot in the fourth quarter leading to the 16-9 final. Thornell said the championship not only rewards the hard work of the entire team for this season, but hopefully the title will motivate the girls to continue to progress as a Lady Rebel one day playing for high school varsity coach Keith Cox.
“They’ll be really good in the future,” she said. “We’ve got the seventh and eighth grade girls getting ready to play for the championship. Those girls are moving up. These girls are moving up.
“Having a solid program, elementary program and then middle school program to feed into Coach Cox’s program, that’s what our goals are at TRA,” Thornell concluded. “That’s what we’re striving for, get them young playing and winning and moving throughout the entire program.”
The Lady Rebels are Mary Catherine Turner, Emma Kate Wilder, Sarah Allyn Thornell, Brianna Hall, Jordan Allen, Braden Leggett, Emily Crane, Brooklyn Rose, Alex Steppe, Aydin Simpson, Kayla Clement, Kirsten Throckmorton and Mya Wright.

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