Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High junior point guard Jalynn Gregory dribbles to the basket during first-quarter action as Gallatin’s Janaya Newsom defends. Gregory scored a game-high 23 points in the Tigerettes’ 82-69 victory on Saturday evening.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High junior point guard Jalynn Gregory dribbles to the basket during first-quarter action as Gallatin’s Janaya Newsom defends. Gregory scored a game-high 23 points in the Tigerettes’ 82-69 victory on Saturday evening.

Abby Shoulders has made some modifications to her shooting form.

It paid dividends last Saturday night.

Shoulders poured in 16 points in the first half as the Tigerettes took control early on and never trailed in the 82-69 victory over visiting Gallatin in the Nera White Christmas Tournament championship game at Nera White Gymnasium.

"I have a tendency for my fingertips to be off the ball and having too much of palm on it," Shoulders -- a junior guard -- said. "I need to finish up high instead of out (front). I just had to do that and keep my fingertips on the ball."

Shoulders made four perimeter jump shots over

the first nine minutes, including three 3-pointers.

"It's unreal," Macon County head coach Larry White said. "In Abby's defense, she was sick for two weeks and still played. That was a period where she kind of got in a little shooting slump. I just talked to her casually. I said, 'Here's the thing ... you need to understand that the coaching staff has all the confidence in the world in you.' She said, 'That's good to hear.'

"And Jamie (Ashburn) ... tonight was one of her better games. She played really well (too)."

Shoulders made back-to-back jumpers midway through the opening period, giving her squad an 18-6 lead.

The margin swelled to as much as 19 points (27-8) after Keeley Carter made a 15-footer with 1:48 remaining in the first quarter.

The fast start was similar to the team's performance one week earlier, in an 85-48 victory over White County in the championship game of White County High's Sonic Shootout. In that contest, the Tigerettes led 27-6 entering the second quarter and extended it to 57-22 by halftime.

"I like it fast," Shoulders said. "It's kind of boring when the game is slow."

On Saturday, Macon County took a 31-12 lead into the second stanza.

"We're playing pretty good right now," Shoulders said. "In that Sparta tournament, we turned it on a little bit.

"We're all playing together right now."

The lead swelled to 22 points as Shoulders made another 3-pointer just 36 seconds into the second period.

The Lady Wave (12-2) battled back though, outscoring the Tigerettes for the remainder of the half.

Macon County led 49-30 at halftime.

"Our weight program ... we're quicker than we were last year," White said. "Nobody had outrun us, but they outran us in the second quarter about three different times. We had subbed and were a little out of sync.

"We scored 31 in the first quarter. Offensively tonight, there weren't too many chinks in the armor. We shot it well."

The Tigerettes shot 53% the field, connected on 9 of 17 3-pointers and made 15 of 22 free-throw attempts.

All five Macon County starters scored in double figures.

"It's pretty big for everybody," Shoulders said of making perimeter shots. "We need everybody to knock down shots, not just one or two. It has to be all of us."

Gallatin shot 62% from the field but was victimized by 20 turnovers.

"That's going to make us better (playing an athletic team like the Lady Wave)," White said. "We got to work on our delay game (in the fourth quarter). I was really pleased.

"Last night, we weren't too pleased with the way we played. We thought we could play better. We did play better tonight. We passed the ball tremendously well. I have all the respect in the world for (head coach) Jerry Landers and Gallatin. They're an up-and-coming team in (Class) AAA."

Gallatin pulled to within 15 points early in the second half, but the margin swelled back to 25 points when Carter converted on a three-point play with 5:56 remaining.

Gregory scored 13 of her game-high 23 points in the second half to go along with four steals. Shoulders also had four steals in addition to 17 points.

Carter provided 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Tigerette junior center Saranda Woodson provided 12 points and five assists, and Ashburn finished with 10 points and four assists.

"We just knew that we couldn't come in there thinking it was going to be easy," Shoulders said. "We knew they were going to be better than last night's team. We couldn't take anything for granted. We knew we had to play our game and be aggressive on defense."

Jeremia Montgomery led the Lady Wave offensively with 19 points, and Newsom provided 11 points.

Macon County has won 11 consecutive games since suffering a 46-43 loss to visiting Westmoreland on Nov. 25. The two teams meet again in Westmoreland on Friday evening, with tip-off slated for 6 p.m.

• The Tigerettes were never threatened in their Nera White Christmas Tournament opener, a 78-59 victory over Clarksville Northwest.

Gregory poured in 10 points in the first quarter as Macon County raced out to 21-11 lead, and Carter added eight points in the second stanza as the Tigerettes built an 18-point lead (43-25) by halftime.

The margin swelled to 26 points (63-37) entering the final period.

Gregory scored 16 points in the third quarter.

She finished with a career-high 29 points, making 8 of 16 field-goal attempts (4 of 7 from three-point range) and 9 of 10 free-throw attempts.

Carter finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals.

Shoulders scored 10 points, followed by Emily Ashburn (6 points), McKaylee Mix (6), Graci Scott (5), Woodson (3) and Jamie Ashburn (2).

Macon County forced 31 turnovers. In addition to Carter's five steals, Jamie Ashburn also had four steals.

The Tigerettes made 11 of 20 3-pointers and connected on 19 of 29 free-throw attempts.

Tamia Scott and Kayla Howell led the Lady Vikings offensively with 14 and 13 points, respectively, and teammate Madison King scored 10 points.

Northwest shot 52 percent from the field.

Macon County girls 82, Gallatin 69

GALLATIN (69) – Jeremia Montgomery 19, Janaya Newsom 11, Jo’Neca Talley 9, Je’Leah Cole 8, Talor Crenshaw 8, A’Niya Boone 6, Sanaa Ricks 6, Cialife Carter 2.

MACON COUNTY (82) – Jalynn Gregory 23, Abby Shoulders 17, Keeley Carter 16, Saranda Woodson 12, Jamie Ashburn 10, McKaylee Mix 4.

Half: 49-30, Macon County. Three-point goals: Gallatin 5 (Montgomery 2, Cole 1, Newsom 1, Talley 1), Macon County 9 (Gregory 4, Shoulders 3, Ashburn 1, Mix 1). Records: Gallatin 12-2, Macon County 13-1.