Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High junior Mattie Butler hits over the block of White House Heritage’s Breanna Bishop.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High junior Mattie Butler hits over the block of White House Heritage’s Breanna Bishop.

GREENBRIER -- Mattie Butler produced her 10th kill on the fourth point of the fourth game of the Macon County High volleyball team's District 11-AA Tournament semifinal match against White House Heritage last Thursday evening.

However, moments later, Butler's season ended.

A few minutes later, the Tigerettes' season came to a close as well.

Third-seeded Macon County suffered a 25-21, 17-25, 18-25, 25-14, 15-12 loss to No. 2 seed White House Heritage in a contest played at Greenbrier High School.

"I feel like our players are set up well together," Tigerette head coach Shari Bowers said of her squad in comparison to the Lady Patriots. "They are a strong team. We are a strong team.

"It's whoever prepares the hardest."

It was the third meeting between the two teams this season.

White House Heritage captured a 25-17, 25-14, 25-20 win on Aug. 28, but Macon County responded with a 20-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-22 victory over the visiting Lady Patriots on Sept. 18.

Last Thursday's contest changed when Butler elevated at the net in an attempt to block a hit by White House Heritage's Lila Branlund on the seventh point of the fourth game. Butler deflected the hit, but it proved costly as she broke her pinkie finger.

"Without that setback, I'm pretty sure we could have gone on (and won)," Bowers said. "That's the third broken bone we've had this season. We've had to deal with a lot of injuries."

The Lady Patriots gradually pulled away in the fourth game to even the match and force a fifth game.

"We were scrambling to find a lineup," Bowers said. "We had to shift everybody around. There's a little confusion. Everybody is trying to figure out where they are supposed to go. While we are trying to figure out where we're supposed to go, they are scoring points."

Branlund served up three consecutive points in the final game to give her squad a 9-5 lead.

The margin extended to 14-9 before White House Heritage served a ball into the net.

Then, Tigerette senior Brooklyn Brawner produced an unreturnable

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serve before sophomore teammate Kaitlyn Driver blocked Branlund's hit for another point, pulling Macon County back to within two points (14-12).

However, Branlund ended the match with a hit that the Tigerettes couldn't get back into play.

Macon County started slow, falling into a 9-0 hole before Butler produced a kill.

"We just had the jitters," Bowers said. "We were nervous. We just had a problem service receiving. It stuck us in a hole. After that, we were able to handle it well.

"Past that point, we turned it on strong."

The Tigerettes actually battled back to tie the opening game at 18 after senior Halle Shrum served up six consecutive points, which included two aces, before the Lady Patriots regained control.

Macon County trailed 15-14 in game two, but Tigerette sophomore Kaitlyn Driver produced back-to-back kills, starting a stretch of five unanswered points. That gave Macon County a 19-15 lead.

Kills from Butler, Shrum and sophomore Allie Cliburn helped the Tigerettes close out game two.

"(Wednesday's) practice was working one everything about White House Heritage," Bowers said. "We want to go between the bodies, hitting hard every time at the net. When they set up their defense, we wanted to hit between them.

"They do well (defensively) at picking everything up."

Shrum served up the first three points of the third game, and Macon County gradually extended the lead, stretching it to nine points (22-13) following a kill from senior Gracie Andrews and a Driver block.

Butler ended game three with a kill.

White House Heritage earned one of the district's two berths to the Region 6-AA Tournament with the win. The Lady Patriots suffered a three-game loss to defending state champion and top-seeded Portland in Thursday evening's championship match. Portland rolled to 25-18, 25-12, 25-12 over Springfield in its semifinal match.

The Tigerettes ended their season with a 17-8 record and lose five seniors - Andrews, Brawner, Shrum, Bailey Brooks and setter Chelsea Avila.

Andrews and Avila were named to the all-district team, while Driver and Shrum were selected to the all-tournament team.

"They've meant a lot," Bowers said. "They are very solid. We are losing an amazing setter and some very good outside hitters. (Avila) has been our quarterback, running our offense for us. Gracie, Brooklyn, Bailey and Halle … their outside hitting has been very strong for us.

"We have young girls who are going to have to step up."