On the face of it, the schedule-makers for District 7-AA didn't do Signal Mountain any favors. Going into their final district game of the season on Tuesday night against perhaps their biggest district rival, Notre Dame, the Eagles had to make another road trip Monday.
Playing at Lookout Valley, whose bandbox had been a snakepit for the Eagles since Day One, Signal Mountain came away with a win for the first time ever, 46-34, to improve to 16-10 on the season.
Tuesday night's game ends the regular season for the Eagles. What follows will be a 10-day rest before they play in the second round of the District 7-AA tournament.
“The rest will probably help us, actually,” said Signal Mountain coach Steven Redman. “I'm not a big fan of the long layoff, but we did that in case of bad weather and other coaches in the district like it.”
“This is not our favorite place to play,” Redman admitted. “We will take what we can get, but I thought our effort and our fundamentals were inconsistent tonight. Our bigs didn't go a good job of finishing plays tonight, but we made some poor entry passes as well.”
Steady marksman B.J.Wilkerson was the primary difference in the game, scoring 16 points despite just hitting 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. The other spark came from Braxton Reese, who picked the right time to join the scoring parade. All seven of hits points came in Signal Mountain's 10-point fourth quarter as the two defenses played each other to a virtual standstill otherwise.
The Eagles' big height advantage was of little use much of the night, and neither Griffin Moon (six points off the bench) nor starter Lannon Sowell (four points) was a factor offensively. Moon did add eight rebounds and a pair of blocks and Sowell swatted three shots away.
“Maybe we were looking ahead at Notre Dame, but one excuse is as good as another,” Redman said with disgust.
Coach Joe Galloway's Jackets were playing comeback ball all night, trailing by 12 before the first quarter ended. But only Kenqual Dozier had any kind offensive night, finishing with 15, including 10 of the Jackets' 15 second half points.
Galloway admitted he was relieved just to get the game in.
“The bad weather really messed up our schedule,” he said. “We play at Van Buren County (in a make-up game) Tuesday and we have two more games later in the week.”
All are District 6-A games, The Jackets are currently 4-4 in district play with four games at hand.
Signal Mountain Girls Earn Road Win, 46-30
The Signal Mountain girls, trying to leave a mid-season 12-game losing streak behind, won their third game of their last four Monday night, 46-30, over the host Lookout Valley girls.
Aryn Sanders was the difference, scoring 22 points for the Lady Eagles (9-17 overall), but Lydia Bledsoe scored her four points to open the third quarter. Savannah Walker led the 2-18 Lady Jackets with 11 points, all from the paint.
Signal Mountain 17 8 11 10 – 46
Lookout Valley 7 12 9 6 – 34
SIGNAL MTN.. (46) – Reese 7, Challenger 2, Jack Teter 11, Allison, B.J. Wilkerson 16, Gutierrez, Sowell 4, Hensley, Elwell, Moon 6.
LOOKOUT VALLEY (34) – Melton 2, Clounch 2, Kenqual Dozier 15, Pickett 7, Sanders, Morris 6, Jones 2.
3-pt. Goals: SM 2 (Teter, Wilkerson); LV 2 (Dozier, Pickett). Records: Signal Mtn. 16-10; Lkt. Valley 7-15.
Signal Mountain 13 15 13 8 – 46
Lookout Valley 6 6 10 8 – 30
SIGNAL MTN. (46) – Peterson 6, Allen 2, Aryn Sanders 22, M. Whitmire 4, B. Whitmire 2, Bledsoe 4, Beals 2, Levin, Heisser 1, McGowan 2, Feldnoff.
LOOKOUT VALLEY (30) – Hallowell, Foster 6, Savannah Walker 11, Mitchell, Hoge 4, Hall 2, Evers 7.
3-pt. Goals: SM none; LV 1 (Evers). Records: Signal Mtn. 9-17; Lkt. Valley 2-18.