|View from top spot bad for finalists in county tourney |
|Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:02 pm |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
It was not a good night to be the No. 1 seed.
That proved to be good, and bad, for South Fulton.
Coming in as the top team in the boys’ tournament and the second seed in the girls’ event, the Red Devils split the championship games of the Obion County School System junior high basketball tournament, which finished up Monday night at Obion County Central High School.
The SF girls knocked top-seeded Lake Road from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 37-32 win in the opener. Then, No. 3 seed Ridgemont got off to a fast start and held off the Red Devils for a 50-41 decision in the nightcap.
Junior high play for some county teams will continue after the start of the new year.
SF 37, Lake Road 32 (G)
The Lady Generals were in their comfort zone throughout the first half, going inside time and again in building an 18-8 halftime lead, but SF forced the tempo in the second half and rallied behind the play of Taylor Rogers.
Rogers scored 12 points in the third period as she hit a pair of 3-point baskets, went baseline twice and put back a missed free throw to lead the Devilettes to a 23-22 lead with 1:33 to play in the third period.
“Rogers hit a couple shots and got happy, and everybody responded around that,” SF head coach Curt Lee said.
LR’s Avery Partin, who dominated play in the paint through the first half, scored off an inbounds pass to give the Lady Generals a 24-23 lead at the end of the third.
Rogers hit another three and took a steal the other way for a layup, putting SF ahead 28-25 early in the fourth.
SF never trailed again and capped its monster second half when Cassidy Ruddle threw in a shot while falling down to give her team a 37-30 lead with 42 seconds to play.
“I told the girls at halftime that I didn’t have anything to complain about because they were playing really hard at the time,” Lee said. “When you’re playing hard, you just have to let the game come and go. It was fun to watch, coming back from 10 down. It was fun to watch them play that hard and get after it like that.”
Partin and Hannah Cavness scored all of Lake Road’s points in the first half, Partin with six in the opening period.
“We’ve been pounding inside all year, and when teams start to guard us inside, we get it out and hit some threes,” LR head coach Emily McGee said. “But, that didn’t happen for us tonight.”
Partin finished with a game-best 22 points and Rogers was right behind with 21.
Ridgemont 50, SF 41 (B)
Klayton Hagan scored nine of his game-high 17 points on three 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Mustangs bolted out to a 20-2 lead and then weathered a South Fulton rally that had the difference down to one point on a couple of occasions in the second half.
“Hagan was on fire,” Ridgemont coach Joe Brent Cary said. “When he’s on, he’s on, and he was on tonight. He had a big game and really got us going.”
Jyriq Jones and Chris Morris each had five points in the second period, Jones hitting all three free throws after being fouled as time expired, as the Redmen battled back to within 10, 28-18, at the break.
South Fulton closed to within a point twice in the fourth, the second at 39-38, but Noah Cooper converted a three-point play and Hagan knocked down another triple to push Ridgemont’s lead out to 45-38 at 2:19.
“I applaud our kids for coming back,” SF head man Wes Miller said. “If we could have ever taken the lead, I felt we would’ve won. But, you have to credit King. And, their big kid (Cooper) played the best game I’ve seen him play. He made the big shots and the big free throws.”
The Mustangs turned the game over to point guard Nathan King, whose ball-handling had been a key the whole game and whose free throws in the final minutes sealed the win.
“Nathan has been my leader and consistent go-to player all year, and he did that for us tonight,” Cary said.
Behind Hagan, King finished with 14 points and Cooper scored 12 for Ridgemont. Jones topped the Red Devils with 16 points. Published in The Messenger 12.20.11