Chris Brooks/For The Times Macon County High junior guard Jamie Ashburn looks to pass in to the post area during Saturday evening’s Nera White Christmas Tournament championship game. Ashburn scored four points in the Tigerettes’ 62-39 victory over Cannon County.

Chris Brooks/For The Times

Macon County High junior guard Jamie Ashburn looks to pass in to the post area during Saturday evening’s Nera White Christmas Tournament championship game. Ashburn scored four points in the Tigerettes’ 62-39 victory over Cannon County.

During the early stages of Saturday evening's Nera White Christmas Tournament championship game, the Macon County High girls basketball team found itself in a bit of a hole.

As it turned out, the Tigerettes had little to worry about, using a 23-0 run in the first half to take control en route to a 62-39 victory over Cannon County.

The win gave Macon County its third consecutive championship in the tournament since the girls' bracket returned in the 2016-17 season.

The Tigerettes (14-4) trailed 9-4 in the first quarter before reeling off 28 of the next 32 points to end the half with a 33-13 lead.

"Our defensive pressure finally started to bother them," Tigerette head coach Larry White said. "We changed the way we were doing it just a little bit. We were running and jumping, but then we quit and just started locking in."

Junior guard Keeley Carter also started locking in on the basket, scoring 13 of her game-high 24 points in the second quarter. Carter, who also had a team-high 11 rebounds, made three 3-pointers over a four-minute stretch to begin the period.

"I felt like we did start off slow, and we weren't knocking down shots," Carter said. "(Cannon County) started packing the paint a little bit, so I stepped out and was hitting threes pretty good. We really picked up our intensity after that happened."

Cannon County senior Tori Knox broke the dry spell with 4:23 to play in the half, but after a scoreless span of 7:22, the Lionettes (9-7) found their first-quarter lead had turned into a 16-point deficit.

The Tigerettes extended their lead to 41-13 thanks to an 8-0 run to start the third quarter.

Neither team shot particularly well from the field, as both squads finished less than 40 percent for the contest. The Tigerettes' defense did the damage however, scoring 21 points off of 24 Cannon County turnovers.

"All of our kids played well tonight," White said. "I was really pleased with our effort."

The Tigerettes had a 46-26 rebounding edge, including 28 offensive rebounds that led to 28 second-chance points. Junior forward Marah King grabbed nine of those offensive rebounds and finished with 10 total rebounds to go with her 12 points.

"Marah King was really, really key tonight on the glass," White said. "She had a great game."

Sophomore point guard Jalynn Gregory had nine points and eight rebounds, as well as five steals. Junior McKaylee Mix added five points, while classmate Jamie Ashburn and sophomore Abby Shoulders each chipped in four points. Freshmen Briea Crouch and Myle Crowder contributed two points each in the victory.

"We've played 10 games in 15 days, but I thought we did great in subbing more than we usually do," White said. "We were a little draggy (in the second half), but I'm really pleased here at Christmas with where we stand."

Junior Taylor Meeks led Cannon County with 10 points.

White said that the plan for the next week was to give his players a little time away to recharge after a busy holiday schedule that included a trip to Phoenix for the Nike Tournament of Champions.

"We're going to stay out of the gym for a while," White said. "I like ice cream, but you can get tired of it after a while. We've asked a lot of these kids. We're not coming back until next Thursday.

"We'll practice one day and then play Westmoreland. I think we need to do a little something else. We passed out practice schedules (in the locker room), and the biggest roar we got was when we weren't going to practice until Thursday. They were glad of that too, I think."

The Tigerettes will also be on a normal Tuesday-Friday game schedule following Friday's contest against Westmoreland as well.

"We've been all over the place (the last two weeks)," Carter said. "Getting back to school and having a regular routine will get us back in a groove."

Macon County girls 62, Cannon County 39

CANNON COUNTY (39) – Taylor Meeks 10, Tori Knox 8, Anna Grace Sissom 6, Kristen Fann 4, Jessie Kauffman 4, Kaylee Armstrong 3, Shelby Smithson 2, Lauren Knox 2.

MACON COUNTY (62) – Keeley Carter 24, Marah King 12, Jalynn Gregory 9, McKaylee Mix 5, Abby Shoulders 4, Jamie Ashburn 4, Briea Crouch 2, Myle Crowder 2.

Half: 33-13, Macon County. Three-point goals: Cannon County 5 (Meeks 2, Sissom 2, Armstrong 1), Macon County 6 (Carter 3, Gregory 2, Mix 1). Records: Cannon County 9-7, Macon County 14-4.