Leading the program off were the JV girls. The Lady Bulldogs got behind early in this one at 11-5. By the close of period number one the score was 17-7. CHS came into the second period with purpose and kept the score close as the period started but during the middle of the period the visitors pulled away to a 22-13 advantage. At the half the Lady Bulldogs were down 29-17. At the end of three the Lady Grizzlies had increased their lead to 43-27. Nothing much changed in the final period when it came to the flow of the game until the Lay Bulldogs stepped up the defensive pressure. CHS got the deficit down to 8-points at the 2:20 mark and after sinking two at the stripe were only down by six; however, a comeback was not in the cards for the Lady Bulldogs. At the buzzer the score was 52-43.
The second of three games featured the varsity girls. Sarah Bishop opened the game up with two threes. Scoring happened quickly in this one as the Lady Bulldogs moved out to a 12-9 lead. The score after one was 15-9.
The second period belonged to the visitors as the closed the gap down to one with 4:00 to go. At 3:04 the Grizzlies had the lead at 18-17. The two teams were tied at 19 and 21. Abbey Taylor, Serena Nickell, Lindsey Snodgrass and Amy Estep all helped with the Lady Bulldogs first half scoring totals.
Bishop opened up the third period and broke the tie with another three, her third of the game. She soon followed it with her fourth and the score was 29-23. The Claiborne defense relaxed and in just minutes the Lady Bulldog lead was one at 29-28. At 2:09 the game was tied again, this time at 32. With 1:16 to go in the third Grainger led by three. At the end of three the score was 37-34.
CHS scored the first 4-points in the final period and re-took the lead at 38-37. Every time that the Lady Grizzlies got in the lane it seemed like they drew a foul. It helped them to take control of the game by 2-points. At 6:22 Grainger was already in one and one territory.
The fouls just kept adding up as the Bulldogs tried to stay in touch. At 4:55 the third foul of the half was called against Grainger. The fouls at 3:09 were 10-3 in favor of the visiting Grizzlies. Bishop made it to the stripe with 2:50 left and got her team to within 5-points. Abbey Taylor scored a basket and hit the "and-one" free throw to make it a winnable game but the Grizzlies responded with a basket. At 1:46 the Lady Bulldogs still had a pulse as they were down by only two.
The Lady Grizzlies played keep away until a CHS foul put the Grizzlies on the line with 46 seconds left. The Lady Bulldogs needed a three to tie and had 40.9 seconds to get it. They missed the three but hit a basket to get within one. At 50-48 the Lady Bulldogs had one last chance to tie or get the win. A steal took all hopes away for a Lady Bulldog win as the game was decided on the Grainger County free throw stripe. At the final Buzzer the score was 52-48.
Leading the Lady Bulldogs in scoring was Sarah Bishop with 15. Serena Nickell had 13. Grainger County went to the line 27 times and Claiborne only 7 times.
Between the girls and boys varsity games Claiborne High School named its Princesses and Sports Queen. Courtney Blevins and Alexis Britton were named co-Freshman Princesses as they finished with a tie. Sophomore Princess was Tori Perkins. Junior Princess was Danielle Johnston. Senior Princess was Kayley Daniels. Miss Taylor Lewis was named the 2011 Claiborne High, Sports Queen. Thanks to Enix Jewelry of New Tazewell for donating the Sports Queen crown.
The final game of the night featured the boys and the Bulldogs needed a win.
The Bulldogs opened with a lead that was quickly surpassed by the Grizzlies at 6-4. Austin Neely, Marcus Mills and Garrett Green led the Bulldogs back in front at 9-6. Mills hit a basket at the 3:13 mark and was fouled. He hit the “and one” shot and the Bulldogs led 14-8. Chase Atkins got his offense going and the Bulldogs moved out to a 18-13 advantage as the final seconds of the first counted down. At the end of one the score was 18-13 with the Bulldogs leading.
The Grizzlies made up some ground in the second and were down by only two at the 5:31 mark, 18-16. At 3:33 the Grizzlies had it tied at 18. Triston Noe got the Bulldogs the lead back with a lay up. At 1:28 remaining the game was again tied this time at 21. Neely hit a three to break the tie and the half ended at 24-21.
Grainger County tied the game with a three just as the second half began. The Bulldogs were hit with a few cheap fouls that helped Grainger take the lead by two. A Grainger three gave the visitors a 5-point lead. Garrett Green responded with his own three after a Grizzly basket. Grainger hit one from behind the arc as well and led by 7-points. Defensive pressure helped to frustrate Grainger's half court offense but the Bulldogs could not convert on the turnovers. Aaron Noe hit a three to bring the score to 36-32.
The Bulldogs had a chance to get closer as the final period began but missed as an Atkins lay up rolled off the rim. At 5:59 the gym went silent as Aaron Noe fell to the floor after his legs were hit by a Grainger player going for the ball. No foul was called but the injury made Noe leave the court. Noe hurt his knee during football season and he had just regained confidence in its strength.
The Bulldogs pulled to within three behind Atkins and Mills. Green got a basket and a foul that got them to within two. The Bulldogs watched the three’s continue to fall for the Grizzlies as the game clock ticked near the 2-minute mark. Chase Atkins hit a much needed three at the 1:35 mark that pulled the Bulldogs within two at 44-46. A Pruette steal and basket gave his Bulldogs a tie at 46.
Coach Harville called a time out and set a play up with 16 seconds left. Fast Grainger hands knocked the ball out of bounds off the Bulldogs. With 2.3 Grainger hit two free throws and forced the Bulldogs to take a long shot. Chase Atkins got the ball at half court and released it. Some contact was made but no foul called and the win went to Grainger. The final score was 48-46.
The Bulldogs were co-led by Garrett Green and Marcus Mills with 12-points each. The free throws attempts were much closer in this contest as Claiborne went to the line 6 times and Grainger 8 times. Grainger also hit eight three pointers to Claiborne’s five.
A check on Aaron Noe after the game revealed good news for the Bulldogs as the coaches thought it was just a scare and had hopes his injury was not as bad as once thought.