|SF takes all gold after finals sweep |
South Fulton struck gold twice Monday evening.
South Fulton’s Marina Barclay puts up a shot while she is fouled by Ridgemont’s Madilyn Hamilton (obstructed) and Ali McEwen.
In a girls’ thriller, Marina Barclay swished an improbable six-footer as the buzzer sounded to lift the Devilettes over Ridgemont 41-39 in the finals of the Obion County School System’s jayvee tournament.
Meanwhile, the boys’ trophy headed back to SF for the third time in the past four years after a 46-41 bettering of the Mustangs.
With the girls’ game tied at 39-all and under 20 seconds to go, Ridgemont’s Taylor Baker was sent to the free throw line for a pair of shots after a Haley McKinney foul.
Baker missed both of her charity tosses, with SF bringing down the rebound for one shot at the victory.
In between the first and second free throw, South Fulton called a timeout to ice the shooter and talk strategy.
After the second missed freebie, McKinney dashed down court, attacking the basket with six seconds remaining for one final shot.
However, the ball was tipped away, yet McKinney was able to kick-pass the ball at the last second into the hands of Barclay, who drained the bucket to give the Devilettes the dramatic victory and their first OCSS title since 1997.
“We wanted to hold the ball and go for a drive at the basket with six seconds left,” South Fulton girls’ coach Curt Lee said. “Haley went in, but there was a tip and the ball just landed in the right hands of the right person to make the shot.
“I’d guess sometimes it is better to be lucky in situations like this than to be 100 percent proficient.”
With the pair of victories, SF completes a monumental task with a sweep of all the top athletic titles (basketball, football, softball and cheerleading) offered by the OCSS.
SF 41, Ridgemont 39 (G)
After taking the lead 9-8 on Carly Coleman’s lone bucket of the outing early in the second quarter, the Lady Mustangs embarked on a 7-2 run to go ahead 17-10.
However, Barclay was also a deciding factor in the first half with seven unanswered points of her own, including a trio of buckets and a free throw that evened the count at 17-all at intermission.
Ridgemont (10-7) bettered SF 11-8 in the third to hold a 28-25 advantage with one period remaining.
In the final canto, the Lady Mustangs stretched their lead to eight points 35-27 at the 4:42 mark.
Moments later, SF got within two possessions down 35-30 after a Taleeah Cross trifecta.
The Devilettes (15-2) then outscored R’mont 11-5 for the remainder of the quarter en route to the come-from-behind triumph.
Ridgemont struggled from the charity stripe all evening long, hitting 19-of-36 free throws (50 percent).
“We knew coming in that we had three goals,” Lady Mustang coach Lance Gray admitted after the loss. “We had to limit our turnovers to 15 or less, shoot at least 68 percent from the free throw line and break the press.
“In the end, we only accomplished one of those goals and the free throws really hurt us. I told the girls after the game, it wasn’t the free throws we missed in the fourth quarter that were the deciding factor, it was the ones we missed when there was little pressure in the first three quarters that sealed our fate.”
Barclay was the game’s top scorer with 18 while Cross added a dozen for SF.
Ridgemont got 12 from Billie Jean Preuett and 11 from Paige Hicks.
SF 46, Ridgemont 41 (B)
The fourth quarter could be likened to a heavyweight title fight with both teams trading points as if they were right hands until the other could continue no more.
With under three minutes remaining in the game, SF took a 39-37 advantage after a Montre Lewis bucket.
However, Laprince Gauldin, who accumualted a game-high 20 markers, tossed in a deuce for R’mont on the next trip down the court to tie the game.
Lewis again scored, but Ridgemont’s Kevin Cumana drained a 2-pointer to even the count at 41 with 1:19 remaining.
After a missed free throw by Cumana, Khiry Lewis, who finished with 11 points, swished the pair of charity tosses that turned out to be the winning points for South Fulton (11-6).
Kendall Greer was a point shy of a double-double for SF with nine points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Clouse also was responsible for nine Red Devil points.
Michael Hussey tossed in six for Ridgemont.
Walks cursed R’mont in the final period with four extra-step whistles negating what could have been key offensive attempts.
“We got some very timely turnovers from them,” SF boys’ mentor Jeremy McFarland conceded after the triumph. “However, I don’t want to take anything away from our kids.
“Everything they did in practice and preparation for this season paid dividends tonight with the hoisting of this trophy.”
R’mont skipper Joe Cary was philosophical when summing up the feelings of his players and fans.
“In my years of coaching, I’ve learned that basketball is a game of ups and downs,” Cary said. “Tonight, we were just on the down side when the final whistle went off.”
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.