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).

Chattanooga Holds Off Mercer For Big SoCon Win

If you wanted to see a lot of offense in a college football game, then you should have been at Finley Stadium Saturday afternoon. Playing in front of an announced crowd of 10,763 on a spectacular fall day, the Chattanooga Mocs took advantage of an offensive explosion as they improved to 4-0 in the Southern Conference and 5-3 overall with a 38-31 victory over the Mercer Bears. ... (click for more)

Photo Gallery: Mocs Win 38-31 Over Mercer

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)