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Lady Lions reward senior, advance to region tourney

By Maurice Patton

COLUMBIA – Joshua Bugg made sure to stress that Columbia Central’s 66-56 win Monday night over visiting Lincoln County – a victory that clinched the Lady Lions’ first Region 4-AAA Tournament berth in seven years – was not about any one person.

The fourth-year coach did admit, though, that getting Jenice Bailey – the team’s only senior – to that tournament held some particular meaning.

“She’s played so hard,” Bugg said following the District 8-AAA tourney quarterfinal win, which sends Central (18-9) into a Wednesday semifinal contest against top-seeded Coffee County. “She’s been committed to this program. She’s been a better leader. We wouldn’t be here without her.

“If there’s a kid that deserves this, it’s her.”

Bailey was no charity case, just along for the ride, though. She scored seven points in a frantic first quarter as an undersized Lady Lions squad set the tone, taking an early 10-point lead, and added a second 3-point basket in the second period to help the hosts to a 39-31 halftime lead.

“We decided we were going to push it, play good defense, get on them and never let up,” Bailey said. “We never took our foot off the gas. We stuck with the game plan. We are small. We ‘front-guarded’ (their posts), got helpside defense, got ball pressure, and we ran.

“We’ve been working for it all year, believing we could do it, and we came out and did it.”

Despite the absence of guard Janiyha Riley and forward Jalei O’Neal, both sidelined with concussions, Central was able to generate offense with its pressure defense – making Lincoln County (10-13) uncomfortable, creating turnovers and scoring in transition while forcing the Lady Falcons to play at a pace not to their liking.

Columbia Central’s Josie Parks scored a game-high 27 points Monday night as the host Lady Lions defeated Lincoln County 66-56 in the District 8-AAA quarterfinals. Central will travel Wednesday for a semifinal matchup with regular-season titlist Coffee County. (Courtesy photo by Buffy Holt)

“They’re a little quicker, a little more athletic. It was tough for us,” Lincoln County coach Chad Tipps said. “We’d thought they’d try to push the pace, … We knew they’d be smaller, quicker, faster. We thought they’d try to get up into us. We didn’t handle it well.

“And they shot it well. ‘32’ has always been a heck of a player. They all shot the ball with confidence. Coach Bugg did a good job getting them going, playing with energy. That’s always easier when the ball’s going in. But you’ve got to give them credit.”

Josie Parks – No. 32 – scored a game-high 27 points, hitting four of Central’s 11 3-pointers and helping keep the fifth-seeded visitors at bay any time they got close.

Her trey just before the buzzer made it an eight-point game at the break, and after a more deliberate start to the second half, she countered an Annalise Malone 3 with one that extended the lead to 44-34. From there, Lincoln County pulled back within a possession on three different occasions in the fourth quarter.

An Anaya Mulholland trey, a Mulholland layup and a Saviya Morgan runner provided answers, and a Parks 3 with 3:38 remaining provided the virtual dagger — giving the Lady Lions a 60-52 cushion that  Lincoln County never overcame.

“I’m extremely proud of our players and the Columbia community,” Bugg said. “This isn’t about one player, one parent, one coach. It’s about a community that’s completely bought in, and we’ve gotten another week of basketball. I’m extremely proud of this team.”

Morgan and Bailey each added 10 points for Central – Bailey before fouling out with 3:17 left in the game. Malone finished with 19 points and Amelia Kate Richardson 12 to lead Lincoln County.

“The way we play defensively, we’re going to give up some stuff,” Bugg said. “We’ve got to tough it out. We’re not a halfcourt team (offensively). We’ve got some good plays, but we can’t run them back to back to back. But when we have eight players score, when six of them knock down 3s, and when all of them are playing hard defense, good things happen.

“Josie’s one of the best kids in our school, she’s one of the hardest workers, and she’s consistently a player you can count on.”

Columbia Central girls 66, Lincoln Co. 56

L 13 18 12 13 – 56
C 20 19 8 19 – 66

Lincoln Co. (56) – Allie Bonner 3, Maggie Paladino 9, Amelia Kate Richardson 12, Alyssa Sticker 5, Lele Stubblefield 2, Brynna Stubblefield 6, Annalise Malone 19
Columbia Central (66) – Saviya Morgan 10, Ryleigh Hamm 5, Anaya Mulholland 8, Jenice Bailey 10, Kiyanah Edwards 2, Emma Hughes 3, Josie Parks 27, Kaydence Houston 1
3-pointers – Lincoln Co. 7 (Bonner, Paladino, Richardson, Sticker, B. Stubblefield 2, Malone), Columbia Central 11 (Morgan, Hamm, Mulholland 2, Bailey 2, Hughes, Parks 4)

Postseason plans paused for District 8-AAA, District 11-AAA

SM-Tn Sports

Basketball tournament schedules for District 11-AAA and District 8-AAA have been set and reset, respectively, in consideration of the current and upcoming weather conditions.

In District 11-AAA, brackets were established at Wednesday’s seeding meeting after the majority of teams in the nine-team league were unable to complete their pandemic-interrupted schedules because of this week’s snow and ice.

“The agreement we came up with at the beginning of the season was that, if we couldn’t get all our games in, we’d (seed) on win percentage rather than total wins,” Ravenwood boys coach Patrick Whitlock said. “At that time, it was because of COVID, but now it’s because of weather.”

Page, which earned home games for both the boys and girls quarterfinals, was the only program to get in 16 district games. Franklin, ranked fourth in the Associated Press Class AAA statewide poll, was the clearcut No. 1 seed on the boys side, while fifth-ranked Brentwood is the girls top seed – just ahead of the Lady Patriots by virtue of the Lady Bruins’ one less loss.

The tournament will open Sunday with 3 p.m. play-in games – Spring Hill boys at Dickson County, Independence girls at Centennial – followed by boys and girls quarterfinals on Monday, semifinals on Tuesday and championships and consolations on Wednesday. All games will be played at higher seeds.

“That was really the only time you could do it,” Whitlock said. “We’re thinking Saturday is going to be the first day we could get back to practice. No one really wanted to play with no practice.”

Sunday

Boys play-in, Spring Hill (9) at Dickson Co. (8), 3 p.m.
Girls play-in, Independence (9) at Centennial (8), 3 p.m.

Monday

Girls quarterfinal, Independence/Centennial winner at Brentwood (1), 5:30 p.m.
Girls quarterfinal, Dickson Co. (7) at Page (2), 5:30 p.m.
Girls quarterfinal, Ravenwood (5) at Summit (4), 7 p.m.
Girls quarterfinal, Franklin (6) at Spring Hill (3), 7 p.m.
Boys quarterfinal, Spring Hill/Dickson Co. winner at Franklin (1), 7 p.m.
Boys quarterfinal, Centennial (6) at Ravenwood (3), 7 p.m.
Boys quarterfinal, Independence (5) at Page (4), 7:30 p.m.
Boys quarterfinal, Summit (7) at Brentwood (2), 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday

Girls semifinals at higher seeds
Boys semifinals at higher seeds
*5:30 p.m. (girls) and 7:30 p.m. (boys) tips if higher seed hosts both; 7 p.m. tip for single game

Wednesday

Girls championship at higher seed
Girls consolation at higher seed
Boys championship at higher seed
Boys consolation at higher seed
*5:30 p.m. (girls) and 7:30 p.m. (boys) tips if higher seed hosts both; 7 p.m. tip for single game

● District 8-AAA, which held its play-in games on Feb. 13, intends to resume tourney action Friday with boys and girls quarterfinals at higher seeds. Saturday and Sunday are set as alternate dates if the games cannot be played Friday, with semifinals scheduled for Monday and championship and consolation games Tuesday.

Friday

Girls quarterfinal, Shelbyville (6) at Lawrence Co. (3)
Girls quarterfinal, Lincoln Co. (5) at Columbia Central (4)
Boys quarterfinal, Shelbyville (7) at Lincoln Co. (3)
Boys quarterfinal, Lawrence Co. (5) at Tullahoma (4)
*game times to be determined; makeup dates Saturday or Sunday if needed

Monday

Girls semifinal, Shelbyville/Lawrence Co. winner at Tullahoma (2)
Girls semifinal, Lincoln Co./Columbia Central winner at Coffee Co. (1)
Boys semifinal, Shelbyville/Lincoln Co. winner at Coffee Co. (2)
Boys semifinal, Lawrence Co./Tullahoma winner at Columbia Central (1)
*game times to be determined

Tuesday

Girls championship at higher seed
Girls consolation at higher seed
Boys championship at higher seed
Boys consolation at higher seed
*game times to be determined; makeup date Wednesday if needed

Local hoops stalwarts included in final AP polls

SM-Tn Sports

Very little change was seen in the final Associated Press statewide high school basketball polls as they were released this week.

Three boys teams of local interest – Richland, Loretto and Summertown – held or improved their previous positions in the Class A Top 10, while 11-AAA standard-setter Franklin continued at No. 4.

On the girls side, Summertown maintained its prior Class A listing while Loretto moved up. District 8-AAA leader Coffee County is listed yet again at No. 3, with Brentwood from 11-AAA at No. 5 yet again.

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The top 10 teams in each of Tennessee’s three Division I non-financial aid classifications and the top five teams in each of the state’s Division II financial aid classifications as selected by Tennessee Associated Press-member sportswriters and broadcasters follow (first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 15, total points based on 10 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 10th-place vote and previous ranking):

Boys Class AAA

1. Houston (11)                       17-3    132  2
2. Bearden (1)                        24-2    118  1
3. Siegel                             22-3    117  3
4. Franklin (2)                       23-2    100  4
5. Oak Ridge                          22-4    79   5
6. East Hamilton                      16-3    61   6
7. Bartlett                           16-7    47   7
8. Arlington                          16-4    38   8
9. Dobyns-Bennett                     22-4    37   9
10. Science Hill                       24-5    11   10
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Boys Class AA

1. Jackson South Side (12)             17-1    129  1
2. Upperman                           20-4    110  3
3. Greeneville (1)                    22-6    87   4
4. Bolivar Central                    17-6    84   2
5. Kingston                           19-5    79   5
6. Grundy Co.                      18-1    72   6
7. Sullivan East                      17-6    38   8
8. Creek Wood                         21-4    27   NR
9. Tyner Acad.                      15-2    23   NR
10. Elizabethton                       16-6    21   7
Others receiving 12 points or more: Fulton 17

Boys Class A

1. Madison Academic (10)               20-2    126  1
2. Clay Co. (1)                    21-2    117  2
3. Richland (2)                       20-1    99   3
4. Loretto                            15-3    91   5
5. North Greene                       25-4    76   4
6. Summertown                         18-7    43   6
7. Jo Byrns                           13-3    42   7
8. Union City                         17-7    32   NR
9. Humboldt                           15-5    26   9
10. Oneida                             17-4    24   8
Others receiving 12 points or more: South Fulton 16; Perry Co. 15

Boys Division II-AA

1. Christian Brothers (12)                          20-0    129  1
2. Knoxville Catholic (1)              18-3    118  2
3. Montgomery Bell Acad.                                12-1    104  4
4. Brentwood Acad.                   16-3    88   3
5. Memphis Univ. School                                12-4    57   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Baylor 18

Boys Division II-A

1. Christ Presbyterian Acad. (8)                            22-3    123  1
2. First Assembly Chr. (4)        16-0    120  2
3. Goodpasture                        22-1    104  3
4. Knoxville Webb (1)                  25-2    74   4
5. Evangelical Chr.               12-6    68   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Webb-Bell Buckle 12

Girls Class AAA

1. Bradley Central (4)             21-1    130  2
2. Bearden (10)                    23-1    128  1
3. Coffee Co.                   25-1    104  3
4. Blackman                        15-3    89   6
5. Brentwood                       19-4    81   5
6. Stone Memorial                  20-4    72   4
7. Lebanon                         21-4    42   9
8. Maryville                       21-4    38   10
9. Riverdale                       16-3    36   7
10. Sevier Co.                   24-4    24   8
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Girls Class AA

1. Jackson South Side (8)          18-0    131  2
2. Upperman (3)                    26-1    123  1
3. Northview Acad. (2)           26-1    107  3
4. Westview                        21-1    97   4
5. Macon Co. (1)                18-5    81   7
6. Grainger                        26-3    67   5
7. Meigs Co.                    15-4    59   6
8. Creek Wood                      23-5    37   8
9. Westmoreland                    20-3    26   T10
10. York Institute                  19-6    17   9
Others receiving 12 points or more: Sullivan East 16

Girls Class A

1. Gibson Co. (11)              27-1    135  1
2. Summertown (1)                  23-3    120  2
3. McKenzie (1)                    23-1    111  3
4. Clarkrange                      21-5    88   4
5. Loretto                         15-6    69   7
6. Van Buren Co.                21-2    65   5
7. Houston Co.                  17-2    52   9
8. Peabody                         22-5    48   6
9. Tellico Plains (1)              19-0    43   10
10. Jo Byrns                        15-2    29   8
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Girls Division II-AA

1. Ensworth (14)                   16-1    140  1
2. Brentwood Acad.               18-6    121  4
3. Briarcrest                      6-2     111  5
4. Father Ryan                     17-3    100  2
5. Hutchison                 9-2     88   3
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Girls Division II-A

1. Lakeway Chr.  (13)          23-5    137  1
2. Univ. School of Jackson              19-3    124  2
3. Webb-Bell Buckle (1)    22-2    116  3
4. Tipton-Rosemark          13-2    98   4
5. Trinity Chr.         19-7    60   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Clarksville Acad. 19

Top-10 tests loom for locals

SM-Tn Sports

Snapping a four-game losing streak Tuesday night will be a challenge for Summit, as the Spartans are set to take on visiting District 11-AAA frontrunner Franklin.

The Admirals are ranked fourth, for the third consecutive week, in the Associated Press Class AAA boys basketball statewide poll and come off an 83-70 win Monday over Independence – their 17th straight.

Summit has dropped decisions to Brentwood, Centennial, Ravenwood and Independence in succession, as personnel issues continue to plague the 2020 Class AAA sectional participant.

In the boys Class A rankings, Richland (No. 3), Loretto (No. 5) and Summertown (No. 6) each maintained their positions from last week – the last two despite the Mustangs’ 64-53 homecourt win over the Eagles in District 12-A play Friday. Richland hosts Summertown in a nondistrict matchup Thursday.

Coffee County’s girls, the class of District 8-AAA, continue at No. 3 this week, as does Summertown (No. 2) following its second regular-season victory over Loretto. The Lady Mustangs slipped slightly, from fifth to sixth.

Columbia Academy’s girls open postseason play Tuesday against Webb-Bell Buckle, ranked third in Division II-A.

——————————————————

The top 10 teams in each of Tennessee’s three Division I non-financial aid classifications and the top five teams in each of the state’s Division II financial aid classifications as selected by Tennessee Associated Press-member sportswriters and broadcasters follow (first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 8, total points based on 10 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 10th-place vote and previous ranking):

Boys Class AAA

1. Bearden (4)                        22-1    126  2
2. Houston (10)                       16-3    125  1
3. Siegel                             20-3    111  3
4. Franklin                           20-2    96   4
5. Oak Ridge                          20-4    65   7
6. East Hamilton                      14-3    51   5
7. Bartlett                           15-7    50   10
8. Arlington                          14-3    45   6
9. Dobyns-Bennett                     20-4    29   NR
10. Science Hill                       23-4    26   8
Others receiving 12 points or more: Brentwood 19; Morristown East 15

Boys Class AA

1. Jackson South Side (14)             17-1    140  1
2. Bolivar Central                    16-5    112  2
3. Upperman                           18-4    108  3
4. Greeneville                        18-6    78   6
5. Kingston                           17-5    72   8
6. Grundy Co.                      15-1    55   T10
7. Elizabethton                       16-5    42   9
8. Sullivan East                      17-6    32   7
9. Fulton                             14-5    27   NR
10. Loudon                             15-6    26   4
Others receiving 12 points or more: Creek Wood 25; Covington 14; Tyner Acad. 13

Boys Class A

1. Madison Academic (9)                18-2    133  1
2. Clay Co. (2)                    20-2    126  2
3. Richland (2)                       19-1    113  3
4. North Greene (1)                    24-3    103  4
5. Loretto                            14-3    80   5
6. Summertown                         17-6    55   6
6. Jo Byrns                           12-1    55   8
8. Oneida                             16-3    40   7
9. Humboldt                           14-4    22   9
10. South Fulton                       15-5    13   10
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Boys Division II-AA

1. Christian Brothers (12)                          18-0    135  1
2. Knoxville Catholic (1)              17-3    121  4
3. Brentwood Acad. (1)               15-2    105  2
4. Montgomery Bell Acad.                                11-1    93   3
5. Memphis Univ. School                                12-3    76   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Pope John Paul II 15

Boys Division II-A

1. Christ Presbyterian Acad. (7)                            19-3    122  1
2. First Assembly Chr. (4)        15-0    119  2
3. Goodpasture (1)                    19-1    103  3
4. Knoxville Webb (1)                  23-2    88   4
5. Evangelical Chr.               12-7    63   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Girls Class AAA

1. Bearden (4)                     19-1    129  2
2. Bradley Central (9)             18-1    128  1
3. Coffee Co. (1)               22-1    108  3
4. Stone Memorial                  19-3    92   4
5. Brentwood                       18-4    70   5
6. Blackman                        11-3    64   8
7. Riverdale                       14-2    52   7
8. Sevier Co.                   23-3    40   9
8. Lebanon                         19-4    40   6
10. Maryville                       19-4    24   10
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Girls Class AA

1. Upperman (13)                   25-0    130  1
2. Jackson South Side              18-0    104  2
3. Northview Acad.               22-1    102  3
4. Westview                        21-1    93   4
5. Grainger                        22-2    81   5
6. Meigs Co.                    13-4    50   9
7. Macon Co.                    16-5    36   6
8. Creek Wood                      21-5    35   7
9. York Institute                  17-6    18   8
10. Westmoreland                    18-3    12   NR
10. Sullivan East                 18-4    12   NR
Others receiving 12 points or more: none

Girls Class A

1. Gibson Co. (10)              25-1    124  1
2. Summertown (2)                  21-3    107  2
3. McKenzie                        22-1    102  3
4. Clarkrange (1)                  20-4    88   4
5. Van Buren Co.                20-1    72   6
6. Peabody                         21-4    49   7
6. Loretto                         14-6    49   5
8. Jo Byrns                        14-1    41   8
9. Houston Co.                  16-2    33   9
10. Tellico Plains                  16-0    26   NR
Others receiving 12 points or more: North Greene 14

Girls Division II-AA

1. Ensworth (9)                    15-1    117  1
2. Father Ryan                     14-2    105  3
3. Hutchison (3)            16-1    99   2
4. Brentwood Acad.               14-6    83   4
5. Briarcrest                      15-3    76   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Baylor 17

Girls Division II-A

1. Lakeway Chr.  (11)          20-5    118  1
2. Univ. School of Jackson              18-3    97   NR
3. Webb-Bell Buckle (1)                 19-2    94   4
4. Tipton-Rosemark          12-2    88   2
5. Trinity Chr. Acad.        17-7    37   5
Others receiving 12 points or more: Clarksville Acad. 28; Goodpasture 12

Strong start, strong finish key Central road victory

By Maurice Patton

MANCHESTER – Columbia Central opened its District 8-AAA road matchup Friday at Coffee County with 18 straight points and closed it by going 13-for-16 from the free throw line in the final two minutes to knock off the host Red Raiders 60-43 and complete a regular-season sweep of the league’s preseason favorite.

“I thought we were locked in mentally,” Lions coach Nick Campbell said after his team improved to 14-6 (5-2). “It seems no one comes in here and plays well. It’s a tough place to play. I hope we never have to come back. If we do what we’re supposed to do, we won’t.”

In its last season as a member of 8-AAA, Central took sole possession of second place – a game ahead of Coffee County (8-7, 4-3) and a half-game behind Tullahoma, whose game Friday against visiting Franklin County was postponed because of a positive COVID test in the Rebels’ program.

Despite the strong start, though, the outcome didn’t come as easily as that early performance may have portended.

The Lions hit three first-quarter 3-pointers and led 20-5 by the end of the period. After a mini-Coffee County rally, they regrouped to score nine of the last 11 points and take a 34-17 cushion.

An offensive drought – which included some sloppy ballhandling – allowed the Red Raiders to get the deficit down to 47-39 with 1:56 remaining on a Hayden Hullett 3, and while Central went without a field goal the rest of the way, the Lions’ good work at the foul line let them seal the deal.

“We’ve been shooting free throws pretty well as a team,” Campbell said. “We’ve got to continue that.

“We start 18-0, 20-2. We’ve got to stretch those (leads) out, instead of letting teams come back and cut it to single digits. But we’re still learning as we go. We’re still playing a freshman, still got some young kids that have to sub. We played well (as a whole). We started really well defensively, but we relaxed.”

Q Martin scored a game-high 20 points to lead Central, with Cam Johnson adding 12; the two combined for five of Central’s seven treys. C.J. Anthony finished with 15 points and Jaxon Vaughn 10 to lead Coffee County.

Columbia Central’s Janiyha Riley (left) picks up Coffee County’s Bella Vinson at midcourt during Friday’s District 8-AAA matchup. Vinson, a Lipscomb University signee, scored a game-high 32 points in the Lady Raiders’ 59-28 victory. (Photo by Maurice Patton / SM-Tn Sports)

Long week for Lady Lions: Coming off an overtime loss Tuesday at Shelbyville, things didn’t get any easier for Columbia Central’s girls in their visit to sixth-ranked Coffee County.

The hosts scored 12 unanswered points to start the game and Lipscomb University signee Bella Vinson turned in a game-high 32 points in a 59-28 victory.

Chloe Gannon added 16 points for the Lady Raiders (18-1, 7-0) as the hosts’ height proved too much of a challenge for Central.

“Part of me thinks Shelbyville was worse,” junior guard Josie Parks said, comparing Friday’s result to Tuesday’s 59-54 defeat. “We felt we could win that one, but we were coming off four games in five days.

“We’re having to adjust to (facing) zones. Teams were playing us in ‘man’, and it wasn’t working. We’ve just got to adjust. It’s a process. They both hurt, but we’re going to learn and grow and get better.”

Janiyha Riley scored 10 points to lead Central (15-5, 3-3) offensively.

Columbia Central boys 60, Coffee Co. 43

Col 20 14 6 20 – 60
Cof 5 12 8 18 – 43

Columbia Central (60) – Cam Johnson 12, Demetrius McCoy 1, Q Martin 20, Omari Franklin 6, Bubba Perkins 6, Roni Bailey 6, Jordan Davis 9
Coffee Co. (43) – Tyler Taylor 5, C.J. Anthony 15, Kyle Farless 2, Hayden Hullett 3, Trenton Scrivnor 8, Jaxon Vaughn 10
3-pointers – Columbia Central 7 (Johnson 3, Martin 2, Franklin, Perkins), Coffee Co. 5 (Taylor, Anthony, Hullett, Vaughn 2)

Coffee Co. girls 59, Columbia Central 28

Col 2 7 8 11 – 28
Cof 16 11 18 14 – 59

Columbia Central (28) – Saviya Morgan 2, Ryleigh Hamm 4, Janiyha Riley 10, Ava Sykes 2, Jalei O’Neal 2, Emma Hughes 3, Josie Parks 5
Coffee Co. (59) – Emma Fulks 4, Bella Vinson 32, Elli Chumley 5, Remi Benjamin 2, Chloe Gannon 16
3-pointers – Columbia Central 1 (Hughes), Coffee Co. 1 (Vinson)