Lady Rebs race past North Greene in quarterfinals 

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EYES LOCKED – McKenzie’s Briley Auvenshine (at left) and a North Greene player lock eyes on a free-throw shot during the Lady Rebels’ state quarterfinal win. Photo by Ron Park.

On an afternoon when McKenzie’s Miss Basketball finalist didn’t have her best game, panic didn’t set in.

Lady Rebels Briley Auvenshine and Dani Davis picked up the slack in their 58-44 victory over North Greene at the state quarterfinals in Murfreesboro Thursday. 

Auvenshine score 18 points and gathered 10 rebounds while Dyer collected 13 points and five rebounds to lead McKenzie. This was the Lady Rebels’ first victory in a state tournament game since March 23, 1960, when they defeated Camp Creek Academy 58-37. They eventually lost to Bradley Central 44-38 in the next round on March 24.

Thursday’s victory also marked McKenzie’s first appearance at state since 1963. Centerville squeaked past McKenzie 39-38 on March 19 of that year. Former McKenzie mayor Patty Edwards led those state teams.

Davis didn’t have a bad game on Thursday, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds, but she had a North Greene shadow following her all game long.

“These past few games, I’ve been getting face guarded more and more, but everybody else can score,” said Davis. “And that just opens things up more for them (her teammates). I’m happy for them.”

Auvenshine,  who found her range, admitted she wasn’t comfortable shooting at the outset.

“We had practice the last couple of days and I was shooting really good,” she said. “I just shot today and it worked.” 

After Dyer set the early tone with McKenzie’s first four points, Auvenshine knocked down the first of her three triples with 1:19 to play in the first quarter, which was followed by another three from Katie Chesser with :33 to play. The Lady Rebels opened a 14-6 lead by the buzzer. They never trailed in the game.

By late in the third frame, the Lady Rebels’ lead had billowed to 20 points. The remainder of the game was played, essentially, for the books.

Shelby Davenport led the Lady Huskies with 14, Hailey English added 12.

McKenzie’s Kylie Reynolds scored eight while Mikaela Reynolds carded six points. Chesser connected for three and Madison Gilbert scored one.

“I thought the girls played hard. I thought we set better traps, which is something we’ve worked on,” said McKenzie coach John Wilkins. “We spread them out and touched a lot of basketballs and, except for two or three times, did a good job of not leaving people alone in the half court. Overall, our effort was great.”

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