Tag Archives: Blackman

Lady Lions’ miscues pivotal in Region 4-AAA Tourney loss

By Maurice Patton

MURFREESBORO – More turnovers than field goal attempts was hardly the first half Columbia Central coach Joshua Bugg had in mind for Monday’s Region 4-AAA quarterfinal matchup with host Blackman.

But his Lady Lions only got off 14 shots – hitting two – while committing 18 miscues, falling behind by 40 points by intermission of an eventual 63-36 season-ending loss.

Vanderbilt signee Iyana Moore, who finished with a game-high 16 points, grabbed the opening tip and sailed in for a layup just six seconds into the contest, and Blackman (18-3) converted back-to-back Central turnovers into transition points for a 7-0 cushion that grew to 11-0 before Jalei O’Neal got the visitors on the scoreboard.

“We’ve got to be more mentally tough in that moment and match their aggression a little better,” said Bugg, whose undersized but athletic squad ran into a bigger and more athletic Lady Blaze team that won the District 7-AAA tournament last week and showed why Monday.

“That’s something we’re capable of doing, but we didn’t do that to start the game. That led to a lot of turnovers and easy baskets. … They’re a really good team. They’re a talented bunch. They’ve got a chance to continue strong here.”

After running out to an 18-2 lead by the end of the opening period, Blackman got three 3-pointers in less than three minutes from Tori Page, a Dartmouth signee, as the Blaze hit six shots from behind the arc in the second period for a 46-6 cushion.

“We turned the ball over a lot. We couldn’t get the shots we wanted,” said junior Janiyha Riley, who returned – along with O’Neal – after missing significant time in concussion protocol. “If we’d started the first half the way we started the second half, it would have been a different story.”

Columbia Central (18-12) did acquit itself well in the final 16 minutes, outscoring the hosts 30-17, but the damage had well been done.

“We’ve just got to take it and learn from it, grow and work in the offseason,” Riley said.

“That as a positive thing for our young kids that we’ll have coming back,” added Bugg in reference to the second-half surge.

Page scored 15 points and Kaylee Odom 12 for Blackman, which will host Riverdale – a 45-35 quarterfinal winner Monday over Tullahoma – in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Josie Parks scored 12 points to lead Central, with Riley adding eight.

Bugg was encouraged by O’Neal’s performance, as she finished with five points in the loss while battling in the post area.

“Jalei played ball,” he said after the program made its first region tourney appearance since the 2013-14 season. “She’s going to continue to get better. She’s got a really good opportunity to step in and play a lot of minutes with Jenice (Bailey) graduating. She’s physical, she’s long, she’s got an ability to score the ball.

“We’re going to do as much as we can to develop and strengthen that area of our game, our inside game. That’s an area we’ve got to pour into and develop and emphasize.”

Blackman girls 63, Columbia Central 36

C 2 4 16 14 – 36
B 18 28 9 8 – 63

Columbia Central (36) – Anaya Mulholland 4, Janiyha Riley 8, Jalei O’Neal 5, Jenice Bailey 7, Josie Parks 12
Blackman (63) – Iyana Moore 16, Tori Page 15, Kaylee Odom 12, Gracie Hamby 5, Emily Monson 2, Kaelyn Flowers 6, Jheilla Thomas 5, Tianna Chapman 2
3-pointers – Columbia Central 1 (Bailey), Blackman 5 (Moore 2, Page 3)

Photos by Vanessa Beach / SM-Tn Sports

Mt. Pleasant lures Hartsfield to take over grid program

By Maurice Patton

Fresh off a trip to watch one of his protégés compete for a college football national championship, Kit Hartsfield was announced Tuesday as the new football coach at Mt. Pleasant.

Hartsfield, 22-13 with three Class 6A state playoff appearances over the past three seasons at Blackman, succeeds Bronson Bradley at the Tigers’ helm.

“It’s a football-hungry program and community,” said the 33-year-old Hartsfield, a Lawrenceburg native who played his final two years at Riverdale – winning a 2004 state title – before going on to start four seasons at linebacker for Austin Peay. “They want success. I can feel the intensity from the administration. It’s a vision I want to be a part of, I’m excited to be a part of.”

The younger brother of longtime Midstate girls basketball coach Wendi Hartsfield Scott (Lawrence County, Riverdale, Blackman), Kit began his coaching career immediately out of college, taking the helm at Oakland Middle School and spending three years as defensive backs coach under Thomas McDaniel at Oakland High School.

“Coaching is part of our entire family,” he said. “It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s something I wanted to do from middle school age. I just did it in a different sport than most of my family.”

Kit Hartsfield (left, with former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer) will succeed Bronson Bradley as football coach at Mt. Pleasant. (Courtesy photo)

Following McDaniel’s departure to take the reins at Christian Brothers, Hartsfield moved across Murfreesboro and joined David Watson’s staff at Blackman as defensive coordinator. As a Blaze staffer, he helped the team post a 28-10 mark with a pair of state quarterfinal berths.

Named to succeed Watson at the top of the Blackman program in 2018, the Blaze went 10-2 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in Hartsfield’s first campaign, followed by an 8-5 finish in 2019 and a quarterfinal loss to Region 3-6A rival Oakland. Blackman finished 4-6 this past fall, falling to Hendersonville in the opening round of postseason play.

“(In the last two years) we lost to Alcoa twice, we lost to Ravenwood twice, we lost to Independence twice, we lost to Oakland twice,” Hartsfield said, emphasizing the challenging schedule Blackman faced during his tenure.

Bradley led Mt. Pleasant to four playoff appearances in seven seasons, but was dismissed in late November after a 1-8 finish in a pandemic-hampered campaign. Despite losing nine starters – six on offense, three on defense – school administration saw fit to make a move after the Tigers sustained four one-possession losses.

Mt. Pleasant went 38-37 under Bradley, reaching the second round of the postseason in 2014 and in 2018 while also qualifying for the 2015 and ’19 Class 1A playoffs. The Tigers posted eight wins in both 2018 and ’19.

The vacancy drew nearly 50 applicants from across and from outside the state. A screening process resulted in six finalists interviewing over the weekend for the vacancy, with Hartsfield emerging.

“Coach Hartsfield brings a ‘championship mindset’ to Mt. Pleasant,” principal Ryan Jackson said in a release. “He has competed at a championship level as both a player and coach. He understands what it takes to lead and operate a top-tier football program, putting an emphasis on developing authentic player-coach relationships in order to fully maximize the potential of all of our players.”

Jackson said Hartsfield is expected to be visible with both the middle school and youth league programs in Mt. Pleasant.

 “The unification of our campus football program is paramount,” he said. “Creating an athletic powerhouse program in Small Town, USA, is our goal, and it starts with getting all stakeholders on the same page, with everyone pulling in the same direction.”

Mt. Pleasant will compete in Region 5-2A next fall, along with Richland, Summertown, Loretto, Cascade and Forrest. The Tigers’ non-region schedule will also include home games against both Columbia Central and Spring Hill – the first official meeting against the former since 1961, while the latter series resumes after a six-year hiatus.

Having sent a number of players on to the college ranks, including Ohio State running back Master Teague — he was in attendance for the Buckeyes’ 52-24 loss Monday to Alabama — Hartsfield said he’s ready for the challenge of similar achievements at the Maury County school.

“I love my Blackman people,” he said. “I had a great time, great support from that community. They’re going to continue to be successful.

“Football is 11 on 11. Every field is 100 yards long. Every kid wants to be coached and wants to be loved on. That’s my purpose, to help these kids reach their goals. I’m looking to build a staff that coaches for the kids and helps mold them into young men and can develop them to their fullest potential on the field.”

Spartans edged for second place at Yellow Jacket Invite

SM-Tn Sports

Summit placed third – by a half-point — and Independence seventh in the eight-team Yellow Jacket Invitational wrestling tournament Saturday at Fairview.

The tourney filled a scheduling vacancy created when Friday’s Johnny Drennan Memorial Invitational at Father Ryan was canceled.

Wilson Central took team honors, with Cleveland finishing second.

Summit 285-pounder Ryan Smith won his weight class, pinning Wilson Central’s Jesse Richardson in 1:13 to improve to 14-0 on the year. Luke Justice and Maddox Reed finished second at 170 and 195, respectively, with Jarvis Little (113), Jackson Masters (120), Justin Noll (126), Landon Desselle (132) and Finley Jameson (152) all placing third.

Independence’s Tanner Willett was runner-up at 160, with Chris Witt (145) and Gabriel Hall (182) finishing third.

Team scores: Wilson Central 226; Cleveland 149.5; Summit 149; Blackman 141.5; Fairview 127.5; Centennial 91.5; Independence 72.5; Brentwood Acad. 66

Championship results: 106 – Logan Fowler (Clv) p. Paul Johnson (WC), 1:42; 113 – Justin Bradford (Blk) d. Nick Mercante (WC) 9-4; 120 – Hunter Borders (WC) p. Arlo Laxton (Clv), 4:51; 126 – Charles Randall (Clv) d. Connor Warnock (WC) 6-3; 132 – Jackson Bradford (Clv) d. Mason Sells (Blk) 6-1; 138 – Trae McDaniel (Clv) md. Riley Bennett (Frv) 16-8; 145 – Cole Fort (WC) md. Alex Rose (Blk) 10-2; 152 – Alex Ables (Cent) d. Steven Fisak (WC) 6-3; 160 – Justin Brown (Blk) d. Tanner Willett (Ind) 11-10; 170 – Brady Jarvis (WC) p. Luke Justice (Sum); 2:54; 182 – Kendrick Curtis (Frv) md. Matthew Hills (WC) 12-2; 195 – Patrick Styblo (Cent) p. Maddox Reed (Sum), 2:59; 220 – Ashton Davis (Clv) d. Noah Todd (WC) 1-0; 285 – Ryan Smith (Sum) p. Jesse Richardson (WC), 1:13