GILMER – Hannah Humphries rose up and pounded the ball straight to the ground before any Gilmer player had time to react.

It was a fitting ending to a mostly commanding evening for Beckville in its sweep of the Lady Buckeyes to remain undefeated Tuesday night. The Ladycats won the first two sets with ease, 25-17 and 25-12. The final set, however, required a little more perseverance.

Although Beckville (24-0) jumped out to a 12-2 lead, Gilmer stormed back. The Lady Buckeyes got as close as 20-19 and forced coach Cherry Downs to call a timeout.

“I tried to tell them to focus on their game,” Downs said. “Momentum had shifted. A tight call by the line caller got Gilmer (9-14-2) fired up. Honestly, that made the game even more intense. It was a great thing for our team to work and overcome. We’re in their gym. It’s loud and their fans our supporting them. Our girls had to work through that.”

Ultimately, it was no problem. The Ladycats remained undefeated behind Humphries and teammate Payton Jones carried the team the remainder of the way, each coming up with powerful kills. The two combined for 17 kills while Riley Seegers led the team with 13.

“Hannah is one of our leaders in kills this year,” Downs said. “Payton does a good job defensively and she did a good job of controlling and placing her kills there at the end to earn us some points.

Throughout the match, Downs said she was proud of her team’s ability to communicate. She said the closeness likely comes from the fact that the players have been playing together for a long time. Seegers and Humphries are seniors, and Jones is a junior.

“These girls have been a group together,” Downs said. “They’ve played a lot of ball together. Communication is one of our biggest points. They should hear their teammates, not have to look for them. When you come through our practice, you know we’re practicing because they are loud.”

Downs said the game Tuesday was a great end to non-district play. The Ladycats will face district opponent Elysian Fields at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Beckville.

“Traveling and being in somebody else’s gym where they’re fired up is another good experience for our girls,” Downs said. “Good growing game to go into district on Friday.”

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