RED BANK, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Red Bank came off the ropes swinging to stay alive in the District 6-AA championship game Thursday night, but Central was able to withstand the rally and deliver the final blow.
Tiffani Estep hammered home 29 kills and added 20 digs to help the visiting Purple Pounders outlast the Lionettes 3-2 in a wild five-set finish that scored 25-18, 17-25, 25-19, 25-28 and 15-12.
Both advance to next Tuesday's region tournament, which Central will now host. The top two finishers there will advance to the sub-state sectional round.
The two traded blows while splitting the first two sets, then Central slowly pulled away in the third for a 2-1 lead. The Pounders then jumped out to a whopping 16-4 advantage in the fourth and appeared ready to cruise to the district title, but Red Bank made one final run.
The Lionettes reeled off nine straight points to pull back within 22-20, then survived three straight match points before securing a 28-25 win. The title remained up for grabs deep into the deciding fifth set, but Estep's final kill of the night snapped a 12-all tie and sparked three straight points from Central to seal the win.
Estep added six blocks and was named the tournament's most valuable player. Teammates Rebecca Hall (15 kills and 21 digs), Skylar Wolfe (12 kills, 11 digs) and Samantha Scott (20 digs) joined her on the all-tournament team.
Caitlyn Jenkins, who led Red Bank with 11 kills, was also an all-tournament team selection alongside teammates Jasmine Simpson and Abby Graham.