|Lady Rebel headline-grabber Fussell in 2A Miss Basketball spotlight again |
|By: By MIKE HUTCHENS, Messenger Sports Editor |
|Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:55 pm |
It’s big news that Chassidy Fussell is a Miss Basketball finalist for the second straight year.
Obion Central’s Chassidy Fussell ponders her next move during action earlier this season against South Fulton.
Her coach said it might be a bigger story if she wasn’t.
“I’d have been totally shocked if that weren’t the case,” first-year Obion Central skipper Lyle LaRue said after being informed that Fussell was again among the final three candidates for Class 2A’s highest individual honor.
“She’s certainly most-deserving.”
Fussell, a University of Texas signee who became the first OC player to be nominated for the award twice, was joined on the finalist list announced this morning by Heather Butler of reigning state champion and District 13AA rival Gibson County, and Taylor Mills of Gibbs High School in Knoxville.
The Miss Basketball winner in all three Division I classifications will be announced at the conclusion of their respective state championship games March 13 in Murfreesboro.
Rural West Tennessee also has a finalist for Mr. Basketball as West Carroll’s Thomas Greer — the son of former Obion Central head coach Mike Greer and past Union City standout Debbie (Christian) Greer — made the final cut for the honor in the Class A ranks.
The naming of the Fussell as a Final 3 candidate for the prestigious Class 2A girls’ honor for the second time in as many years was widely considered a no-brainer by most who have witnessed her spectacular offensive talents.
A 5-foot-10 offensive machine who ranks second all-time in OCCHS history with 2,421 points, she averaged 26.2 ppg during the regular season while leading the Lady Rebels to a No. 2 state ranking and a share of the regular season 13AA district title.
Twenty-one times in 27 regular season games Fussell scored 30 or more points and she hit for 40 twice, once during the season, the other time going for 43 in the district quarterfinals — her fifth career game of 40 or more.
The senior guard/forward proved to be not only a scorer, but a well-rounded standout as her averages of 11.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and two steals per-game suggest. A McDonald’s All-American nominee, she shot 55.8 percent from the field — including 36 percent from 3-point range — and 79.9 percent from the foul line during the regular season.
LaRue pointed to her unmatched work ethic as the characteristic that puts Fussell in an elite class.
“She’s in the gym before she has to be and before everyone else, and she usually is the last one to leave. Sometimes she has to be made to go home,” the OC coach said. “She’s worked hard at making herself a better all-around player and that’s evidenced by her increased assists average.
“You can look at her numbers and see that she’s so hard to defend. She has a scorer’s mentality, she can pass like a point guard, rebound like a power forward and has the shot blocking abilities of a post player. She’s seen virtually every kind of junk defense known the last two or three weeks, and she’s still produced great numbers. She certainly is worthy again of this honor.”
Butler, a dynamo guard who led Gibson County to an unbeaten state title run as a junior before becoming one of three Lady Pioneers to sign early with former coach Kevin McMillan at UT Martin, also has stellar numbers.
She’s averaged 25 points and five assists in helping GC to a 27-1 record and No. 3 state ranking heading into tonight’s 13AA title game against Westview. Like Fussell, Butler was an all-stater as a junior has scored more than 2,000 in her stellar career. She has been lauded as “an outstanding student with great character” by legendary Lady Pioneer coach David Russell.
Mills is a 5-4 point-guard who signed early with Kennesaw State and then put up huge offensive numbers for a Gibbs squad that lost seven of its top eight players from last season’s sectional club.
She’s averaged 26.6 ppg, twice scoring more than 45 in a single game. She’s also averaged 4.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.8 steals per-game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 81.5 from the foul line.
Greer, a 6-5 Austin Peay signee, is a four-year starter for his father and has averaged 26.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists each outing while leading the War Eagles to the District 13A championship in both the regular season and tournament play.
Also a McDonald’s All-American nominee, Greer has nearly 2,500 points and almost 1,000 rebounds for his career.
Brandon Herman of Grace Baptist and Clarksville Academy’s Malcolm Smith are the other two finalists for the Class A Mr. Basketball.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.