Once again, Lady Rebels take spot among state’s elites

Once again, Lady Rebels take spot among state’s elites
Messenger Sports Editor
With but one loss in 18 games — that a last-second decision to a heralded out-of-state foe — Obion Central’s girls have taken their rightful and customary place among the state’s elite teams.
The Lady Rebels were ranked No. 2 in the initial Associated Press state poll, released Monday afternoon, trailing only Upperman in the Class 2A listing.
It marks the sixth consecutive season the tradition-rich OC girls have appeared in the AP Top 10 at some point in the season.
And though some coaches claim to put no stock in such feats, current Central skipper Lyle LaRue is not one of them.
“I know some coaches pooh-pooh it, but I think it’s a big deal,” LaRue said. “I’ve never been one to say to the kids or anybody else that it doesn’t mean anything. I think it does, and even though it’s never been one of our goals in the preseason to be ranked, it is something that’s a little reward for the kids for their hard work.
“On the flip side, I do think it puts a target on your back when you play teams that aren’t ranked. You’re going to get everybody’s best effort, and that’s something we will and have always addressed with the kids. It’ll be great bulletin board material for our opponents.”
The Lady Rebels, whose only loss came to Columbia (Ga.) in the Naples Daily News Holiday Shootout in Florida, received 124 total points and four first-place votes in statewide balloting of sports writers and broadcasters. Those totals ranked second to Upperman (18-1), which collected 151 total points and 10 first-place nods.
Dyersburg, a District 13AA rival of Obion Central and a team OC beat by four points on the road earlier this season, is ranked fifth in the inaugural ratings of the season. The Lady Trojans’ (17-2) only other loss this year was a two-point setback vs. Lake County, which was listed atop the Class 1A rankings.
Central’s first challenge as the state’s second-best 2A team will be a stern one tonight as they play at Covington — a team tied for second in district play with Dyersburg behind the Lady Rebs.
In the first boys’ poll of the season, Union City (10-6), which upset reigning Class 1A state champion Lake County 63-60 on Friday, was listed in the “others receiving votes” category.
The Falcons, who lost again on Saturday to perennial double-A power Liberty, are ranked No. 3 this week with an 8-5 record.
The Class 2A pecking order has defending champ Bolivar second behind Christ Presbyterian Academy. Liberty is eighth and Jackson South Side tied for No. 10.
Dyer County (17-1), whose lone loss came vs. second-ranked Southwind, is No. 5 in triple-A.
A complete poll listing for both girls and boys can be found on page nine.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.10.12

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