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Suiter’s ejection to cost OC coach dollars and time

Suiter’s ejection to cost OC coach dollars and time
Eddie Suiter watched most of Obion Central’s 59-36 girls’ triumph over Dyer County from a different vantage point than usual.
The head coach of the No. 1-ranked Lady Rebels was ejected from Friday’s contest early in the second quarter after picking up two technical fouls and viewed the rest of the game from the DCHS lobby, where closed-circuit broadcasts of Choctaw games are available.
The expulsion means Suiter will be fined $250, as mandated by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. TSSAA rules also state that a coach who is ejected must be suspended.
While the usual length of that suspension has been two games, OCCHS Athletic Director Tommy Victory said this morning he would petition the state’s governing body to suspend Suiter just one game — that Senior Night Tuesday when the Rebels host Crockett County. Victory said he hoped the coach still would be allowed to be part of the Senior Night ceremonies, despite not coaching.
TSSAA officials were in a meeting this morning and unavailable for comment or to rule on the matter by presstime. Media coordinator Matthew Gillespie told The Messenger that although the usual punishment was left up to each individual school in question, the TSSAA could step in and increase the number of games a coach is suspended if it deems necessary.
The next two games on the Lady Rebel schedule are critical to OC’s final standing in the District 13AA pecking order. Should Central beat both Crockett County on Tuesday and then win at Dyersburg Thursday, it would tie Gibson County for the No. 1 seed heading into the postseason tournament.
For his part, Suiter said he was whistled for the first technical after he felt one of his players was singled out for simply standing her ground, then got the second for not returning to his bench in a timely matter.
The coach claimed he did not seek to get ejected, but didn’t say the officiating crew was in the wrong, either.
“I deserved what I got; I’m not going to say I didn’t,” Suiter said of his banishment. “I didn’t do it on purpose, though.
“On the first one (technical), I was trying to take up for our kids. I don’t want our kids to have to retaliate for something that goes on on the court, and that’s what had happened on the particular play in question. The second one, I guess I didn’t get back in the coaching box quick enough and didn’t shut up.”
Suiter’s exile meant that assistant coach Mack Pirtle was thrust into the lead role on the Central bench.
With Pirtle calling the shots, the Lady Rebels (21-2, 8-2) kept pace with Gibson County (19-3, 9-2) and Milan (18-4, 9-3) in the race for the top spot in District 13AA with just one week remaining in the regular season.
Wins against CC and D’burg in Central’s next two games means the county locals can do no worse than tie for first and force a coin flip for the No. 1 seed in the upcoming postseason tournament.
Obion Central jumped to a 17-6 first quarter lead, then put the Lady Choctaws away with a 19-4 burst in the final period.
OC got good individual play from several players, particularly Jana Roney and Emily McGee.
Roney finished with a double-double, 19 points and 11 rebounds, while McGee was equally impressive with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. McGee was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
Kacee Eaves and Aubrey Reedy also turned in solid outings, each just a bucket away from double-digits in the scoring department.
The Lady Rebels shot 50 percent (19-of-38) from the field and 16-of-20 (80 percent) from the charity stripe.
Central’s accuracy was a sharp contrast to Dyer County, which made just 20 percent (11-of-51) from the field, including 3-for-26 from beyond the arc.
The Lady Choctaws also missed seven of 18 foul shots.
Dyer Co. 97, Central 56 (B)
The second-ranked DC boys forced 36 turnovers to send the Rebels to their fourth straight district loss.
The game was actually still relatively close at the half with the Choctaws up 40-27, but Dyer County kicked its transition game into high gear over the final two quarters with a 28-11 fourth quarter contributing greatly to the application of the 35-point mercy rule in the game’s final eight minutes.
Brandon Smith led OC (13-10, 5-5) and a trio of players to score in double figures with 16 points. Nick Gilliam chipped in with 12, while Cory Gibson tacked on 10.
Dyer County standout Justin Blake scored his 1,000th career point as part of a 15-point performance.
The Tribe (23-1, 11-0) has already wrapped up the 13AA regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming postseason tournament that will be hosted by Milan Feb. 11-18.

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