Campbell Penland isn't Miss Basketball finalist, but she leads Northview Academy to TSSAA semifinals

Aaron Torres
Knoxville News Sentinel

MURFREESBORO — Campbell Penland stood in the huddle late in Northview Academy's game against Creek Wood on Thursday. Penland knew the situation: a six-point deficit with less than four minutes left. An opportunity to advance to the Class AA semifinals. 

Penland knew what she had to do. 

"OK," Penland told herself. "Now this is my time to take over." 

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The senior guard and Carson-Newman signee led the charge and comeback in Northview Academy's 43-35 win. Penland scored eight of the Lady Cougars' last 15 points — at one point going on her own 6-0 scoring run. 

Northview Academy (34-1) faces Macon County (25-6) in the Class AA semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. (ET). 

Penland recorded a double-double against Creek Wood, 22 points and 12 rebounds. She scored half of her points in the fourth quarter. She also dished out a pass to freshman Reagan Brown in the final minute, leading to a 3-pointer from Brown that gave the Lady Cougars a four-point lead that soon became an eight-point win. 

When the Miss Basketball finalists were released in February, Penland wasn't one of them. She averaged 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals and turned Northview Academy into one of the top teams in Class AA.

"Obviously, everybody wants to be a part of (Miss Basketball)," said Penland, who has scored over 2,000 career points at Northview Academy. "But I use it as motivation. I'm here. So now it's just time for my team to prove that we're here for a reason." 

Northview Academy was ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll. Its only loss came to Bearden in November and Penland scored a team-high 21 points in that game. 

"She's a winner, that's what she does," Northview Academy coach Brooke Shelley said. "There's so many times in her career, and especially this season, that she's just put the team on her back and said, 'Hey, let's go. Hop on.'"

But where she's shown what kind of player she is has been the playoffs. She led Northview Academy to the Region 2-AA title, with her best game coming in the championship game against Alcoa. Penland, led a nine-point fourth-quarter comeback. The Lady Cougars won in overtime and Penland scored a career-high 31 points. 

She's getting used to the deficits, the feeling that a game hangs in the balance. And that a Northview Academy win will likely come down to what she does. She likes that. 

"Times like that are so fun to me," she said. "Sometimes I wish it wasn't as stressful, but it's just so much playing in a competitive basketball game and showing everybody what we can do and how we play."