Mustang drought is over; SF gals regain crown

Mustang drought is over; SF gals regain crown
Mustang drought is over; SF gals regain crown

Ridgemont’s Nathan King drives to the rim against the defense of Brett Jackson on Thursday.
It’s been a long time coming for the Ridgemont boys.
So long, in fact, that many of the current players have no recollection of the school’s last Obion County School System boys’ crown.
As a matter of a fact, most of the athletes on this year’s Mustang squad were either in diapers or not born at all in 1998-99 when R’mont last wore the OCSS boys’ crown.
Yet, they’ll certainly remember Thursday’s happenings when the Mustangs claimed the OCSS title — overcoming an early deficit to best Lake Road 52-44 in the finale at South Fulton.
In the opener, the South Fulton girls earned the OCSS championship after a 38-23 victory over R’mont. It is the Devilettes’ first league title since the 2007-08 season.
All four of the OCSS finalists return to action at the Area 5 Tournament in SF with three of the teams seeing action on Saturday.
On the boys’ side, Ridgemont plays Hillcrest on Saturday at 3:30, while the Lake Road guys battle the host Red Devils at 6:30 the same day.
In the girls’ Area 5 draw, R’mont battles Paris Inman at 11 Saturday morning. South Fulton awaits the winner of that game at 7 on Monday.
BOYS
R’mont 52, Lake Rd. 44
The Mustangs (12-6) trailed by as many as six points during the early moments of the second quarter on Thursday evening.
Then, R’mont began to mount its comeback, chipping away at the Generals’ advantage until the last minute of the first half.
With 37 seconds remaining before the break, Hayden Cary — son of Mustang coach Joe Brent Cary — sank a jumper that tied the game at 19-all.
“I told the kids at halftime that it was basically a 0-0 game and we were starting fresh,” the elder Cary said. “It was time to step up. I told them they deserved to be here, but we had to prove it.”
Lake Road (9-5) began the second half with a deuce from Kyler Page to retake the lead momentarily.
However, Nathan King busted a trifecta with 44 seconds gone in the period to put R’mont ahead for the first time in the championship contest.
Tyler Mosley responded with a LR two to give his team a 23-22 advantage, but it was just a matter of time before the Mustangs went ahead for good.
The younger Cary caught fire, going on a 7-0 scoring spurt on his own with a 3-pointer sandwiched between a pair of buckets that put R’mont up 29-23.
Though down, the Generals didn’t give up.
Lake Road twice cut Ridgemont’s advantage to two points and stayed within at least five points for most of the final frame.
Mosley was key to his team’s second-half effort with 13 of his team’s 25 points in the final two frames.
At the beginning of the game, LR could do no wrong. The Generals were on fire from the opening tipoff and up by as many as seven points just before the first quarter ended.
“We’ve been a good rebounding team and are usually the ones that are aggressive to the basket,” coach Cary said. “In the first half, I think they used our game plan against us.
“They did what we usually do well. They were driving to the basket. They were scrapping for rebounds and loose balls.”
R’mont’s Cary and Lake Road’s Mosley tied for top-point honors with 17 points each. Additionally, Ridgemont’s Nathan King added 10 markers and Jacob Sisk offered nine.
The Generals had two other scorers in double digits. Page totaled 14, while Blake Berner had 10.
“The Cary kid hurt us,” LR coach Justin McMahan said. “We sold out to stop Sisk and (Kaleb) Byars and I thought we did a good job of that.”
After the game, R’mont’s King, Cary, Byars and Sisk were all named to the All-OCSS team as were Lake Road’s Alan Russell, Page, Mosley and Berner.
GIRLS
SF 38, R’mont 23
The Devilettes (17-1) kept Ridgemont in check during the first and third quarters, limiting the Lady Mustangs to just a 3-pointer and free throw combined in said cantos en route to Thursday’s title tilt triumph.
Meanwhile, SF scored 13 points in the opening quarter and 14 in the third to account for much of the difference in the final tally.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Devilette coach Curt Lee said after his team’ forced 20 Ridgemont turnovers in the title tilt. “We were able to hit a lot of shots early and make quite a few free throws to build a big lead.
“Our pressure gave them trouble and we executed our sets and got what we wanted more times than not.”
It should be noted that Ridgemont (8-10) did mount a comeback in the second quarter. The Lady Mustangs bested SF 10-5 in that period to pull within eight points (21-13) at intermission.
After the break, Ridgemont was unable to find the net from the field for nearly nine minutes of play. In the meantime, South Fulton pulled ahead even more — leading at one point by 23 points.
“We overachieved just to get to this point,” Lady Mustang coach Lance Gray said. “We lost our post player and rebounder (Kirstlen Petrie) in the jamboree and still made it this far. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
SF’s Sydney Easterwood led all scorers with a dozen points, while Carmen Hutchins had nine and Kristin Crocker totaled six.
Ridgemont’s Nichole Whitson finished the game with a team-best 10 tallies, while Stella Preuett contributed eight.
After the game, Easterwood, Sierra Coley, Crocker and Hutchins all were introduced as All-OCSS team members along with R’mont’s Landry Webster, Whitson and Preuett.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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