Grace Academy Boys, Whitwell Girls Advance In Region 3-A

Friday, February 22, 2013 - by Jaime Barrett
When the Grace Academy boys' basketball team jumped out to a strong start against Whitwell on Friday night, it also helped the Golden Eagles get a head start on the rest of the Region 3-A field.

While the three other region quarterfinals will be played Saturday, No.
2 seeded Grace hosted both boys and girls games against No. 3 Whitwell on Friday.  The Lady Golden Eagles fell 42-29, but the Grace boys advanced to Tuesday's region semifinals with a 71-49 victory over the Tigers.

Although Whitwell took a brief one-point lead after opening with back-to-back 3-pointers, the Golden Eagles got two treys from Josh Smith in the first four minutes Friday, followed by nine straight points from Austin Powell to take a 21-11 advantage into the second quarter.

"Josh hit a couple of big 3s early that really got us going, and Austin had a great start," Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said. "We've had a tendency to start really slow this year, but tonight we were ready to play right off the bat. We had a great crowd from both teams, and I think that really fired the kids up."

After Justin Harris hit one of Whitwell's six 3-pointers with 2:31 remaining in the first quarter, the Tigers didn't score again until the 6:34 mark of the second. Over the next three minutes, the Golden Eagles extended their lead to 33-16, and the margin at the half was 18 points.

"We scouted them and knew who their shooters were," Mattheiss said. "They have several kids who can shoot, so we knew we were going to go man. We couldn't sit in a zone and let them shoot, and (assistant) Coach (Darris) Waters did a great job picking the right matchups for us tonight."

Grace (11-14) maintained its lead in the third quarter, and extended it in the fourth after another string of seven straight points from Powell, who finished with a game-high 23. Smith totaled 14 for the Golden Eagles and Blake Savard followed with 12, while Harris led Whitwell with 19. 

With the pressure of a first-round game off their shoulders, the Golden Eagles can now turn their attention to preparing for a semifinal matchup on Tuesday, when the tournament moves to Sale Creek. 

"Tomorrow we get to go up and watch Marion County and Silverdale," Mattheiss said. "We just keep telling the guys that we're one game away from going to substate. All we have to do is win one big game and we're in the region championship."

Whitwell girls 42, Grace Academy 29: The first quarter of the girls' quarterfinal ended tied at 7-7, but the Lady Tigers turned the tempo, and the tide, in their favor during the second period. Whitwell increased its pressure and pulled ahead 20-11 after holding Grace to just four points in the quarter.

"We rely heavily on our press," Lady Tigers coach Eric Zensen said. "After the first quarter, we started picking that up, and then we were able to speed up the game."

A long third-quarter scoring drought ended for Grace with four points from Sierra Nunley in the final 10 seconds of the period, and although the Lady Golden Eagles got within 13 points with just under seven minutes remaining, they got no closer the rest of the way.

Alyssa Coppinger finished with a game-high 18 points for Whitwell (24-8) and Paige Carter followed with 12. The Lady Tigers advance to the region semifinals to be played Monday at Sale Creek. 

"I thought we played hard and had great effort, especially on defense," Zensen said. "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well tonight, so we knew we had to get the job done on the defensive end of the floor, and I think we did."

Nunley finished with 14 points for Grace, which ends the season 10-15.

"These kids had a great year," Lady Golden Eagles coach Les Compton said. "Their record doesn't show what champions they are. They worked hard and had a great attitude."


(E-mail Jaime Barrett at jaimenbarrett@gmail.com)

Region 3-A Quarterfinals
At Grace Academy

WHITWELL GIRLS 42, GRACE ACADEMY 29

Whitwell   7  13  10  12  --  42
Grace       7   4    5   13 --  29

Whitwell (42) -- Gholston 2, Smith 1, Bennington, Atterton, Alyssa Coppinger 18, Paige Carter 12, Kilgore 8, Hedrick 1, Andregg, Johnson, Fuller, Blair.

Grace (29) --  Mouw 2, Turner, Gill 3, Jemane, Bonner 2, Goodman 4, Compton, Sierra Nunley 14, Carter, McMasters 2, Ruefernaught.

3-point goals: Whitwell 2 (Carter 2); Grace 2 (Nunley 2)


GRACE ACADEMY 71, WHITWELL 49

Whitwell  11   8  17  13  --  49
Grace      21  16 16  18  --  71

Whitwell (49) -- Meade, H. Patton 6, Chase White 10, E. Nunley, S. Nunley 3, Parris, J. Patton, Bryant 6, Justin Harris 19, McDaniel 5.

Grace (71) -- Slack 4, Hughes, Swanson 3, Hernandez 8, Josh Smith 14, Blake Savard 12, Tisdale, Godsey 2, McQueen 5, Matheny, Mason, Austin Powell 23, Cooke.

3-point goals: Whitwell 6 ( ); Grace 6 (Smith 3, Savard 2, McQueen).

Cleveland, Bradley Central No. 1 And No. 2 In State Wrestling Poll

Now in its 25th year, The Poll is primarily a measure of  dual meet strength  with some consideration to individual tournament strength.   Votes are cast by a state-wide panel of high school wrestling coaches and are based on a maximum Power Ranking of 100%.   STATE POLL:   RANK ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Central Boys Win Over Hixson

Chattanooga Police To Add 14 Officers After Violent Weekend; New System To Allow Local Testing Of Shell Casings

In the wake of a weekend in which five people were shot with two dying, the Chattanooga Police Department is adding 14 more officers, Mayor Andy Berke and Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday. The department is also utilizing a new system that will allow local testing of shell casings and avoid a long wait time after sending them off to Nashville. Chief Fletcher also said there ... (click for more)

Cleveland Mother And Father Indicted After 2-Month Old Tests Positive For Meth; Has Multiple Injuries

The father and mother of a two-month-old in Cleveland have been indicted for child abuse after the baby tested positive for meth and had multiple injuries. Cleveland Police said on Jan. 4 the Department of Children Services and the Cleveland Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit began a joint investigation on an aggravated child neglect/abuse case.  DCS and ... (click for more)

Proud Of Chattanooga And The Women's March - And Response (2)

I was very happy to participate in the Women’s March on Chattanooga yesterday afternoon. The diversity and the sheer numbers of women, men and children were incredible. One estimate was at least 3,000. Standing together with all of these like-minded souls was overwhelming and humbling.  I have rarely been so happy and so proud of my town.  One question is, why is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Puzzling Women

After Rhonda Thurman left the “Enlightment” meeting of the Hamilton Country School Board Saturday afternoon, she must have been catching up on the news when she posted this message on her Facebook page: “I am really trying to understand. I am a woman and I cannot think of one "RIGHT" I do not have. Can someone enlighten me?” Not one person enlightened Rhonda because nobody could ... (click for more)