KNOXVILLE — For four years Webb School of Knoxville senior guard Haylee Luttrell has endured a 60-mile, one-way commute to school so she could play for the Lady Spartans and head coach Shelley Collier.
But the long stints in rush-hour traffic from Morgan County didn’t seem to matter Friday night, Feb. 23.
“I have the best coach and the best teammates in the world, and that makes it all worth it,” said Luttrell, who scored a game-high 16 points to propel Webb to a 40-19 victory over Christ Presbyterian Academy in a TSSAA Division II-A state quarterfinal game in Webb’s Lee Athletic Center.
“This feels amazing, and after what happened last year, it’s great to be going back [to the state semifinals at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena].
The Lady Spartans (23-8) make a return to Nashville after missing the state tournament for the first time in 15 years last season.
“Haylee drives over an hour every day and she works so hard,” Collier said. “She lives in Wartburg and she’s one of the most underrated players in our area. She lives and breathes basketball.”
Freshman Macy Barnes had 11 points and Jasmine Jefferson added six for Webb.
The Lady Spartans’ defense forced CPA (22-11) into 14 first-half turnovers.
“Our defense was just great; our girls have really bought in to playing defense,” Collier said. “All of the girls played great defense tonight.”
Collier’s young team has also accomplished great things this season.
“We’re such a young team and I’ve looked at a lot more film than I have with some of our other teams,” Collier said. “Sometimes, it gets crazy because this team is so young and they don’t have a great attention span.
“But it’s been fun to watch this team grow. They come into practice every day and they really get after it. They argue amongst themselves in practice because they’re so competitive. And as a coach, you love that.”
Collier had high praise for her entire team Friday. But Luttrell got the most compliments from the longtime Webb coach.