Panthers Dodge Inspired Hixson, 71-70

Otis Steal, Besley Free Throws Difference in 6-AA Thriller

Friday, February 8, 2013 - by David Jenkins

The Hixson Wildcats will have to win a tough road game in the first round of next week's District 6-AA tournament in order to enjoy a home court advantage in the later rounds. Friday night's performance on Senior Night against the tough Brainerd Panthers should have the rest of the district rooting for Hixson to be one and done.

 The Panthers, by the margin of two Jay Besley free throws with eight seconds left, fended off the Wildcats 71-70 in the regular season finale for both teams.

In a game where there were 13 lead chances – nine of them in the first quarter alone – the Panthers took the lead for good, 67-66, with 1:08 remaining on two foul shots from Tyree Stubbs. But there was a lot of drama remaining.

Hixson's go-to center, D'Mondta Smith, who had already fouled out Brainerd center Orlando Moore in their head-to-head duel, attempted unsuccessfully to penetrate the Panthers' zone. He had to settle for an off-balance jumper that the Panthers claimed.

After a timeout, Hixson fouled Demarcus Otis (one of Brained coach Robert High's preferred shooters with the game on the line) with 20 seconds to play. Otis missed both free throws. But eight seconds later, Otis went from goat to hero by swatting the ball away from Smith, the ball glancing off the Wildcat's leg and going out of bounds. Besley was fouled a split-second after the inbounds pass and he did not miss his two chances.

Down 69-66, the Wildcats' point guard Allante Novene was fouled at midcourt, but the senior – playing perhaps his best game of his senior year – hit both of his foul shots to make it 69-68. Marques Tipton was fouled one second later and he coolly converted, but the Panthers somehow left Hixson gunner Chandler Abbott wide open for a would-be game-tying 3. It deflected off directly to Novene, who put it back with one second left to account for the final margin.

“With the game on the line, we want Besley, Tipton or Otis shooting free throws,” Brainerd coach High explained. “What does he do? Misses both ends. But then he makes the steal. Does it make up for missing the two free throws? No, it does not.”

High also didn't sweat Abbott's final shot. “From where we were seeing, I could see it was off-line. I said, 'It's off.'” High said.. “Our guys don't realize it, but you need a game like this going into the tournament. We (cancelled) the Austin-East game, but we have plenty of time now to work on things in practice.”

Before the fourth quarter drama, the night was a Can You Top This matchup between the Wildcats' Smith and the Panthers' junior post, Orlando Moore. Despite sitting out the entire second quarter, Moore fouled out with 1:03 remaining to finish the night with 23 points on 11 of 15 shooting with four rebounds. Smith's night consisted of 25 points (8 of 17 shooting), eight rebounds and 8 of 10 foul shots.

“It would have been a good matchup, but Moore got into foul trouble and two of them were what we call stupid fouls,” High said. Taking up the slack were Besley (14 points, 10 assists), Devonte Cooper (nine points) and Stubbs (six points, eight rebounds off the bench).

Hixson, which led by as much as six (39-33) early in the third quarter, got 14 points from Novene and high praise from his coach, Alex Disbrow. “Big plays, a big 3-pointer, a clutch shot. He came through like a senior on Senior Night,” Disbrow acknowledged. “I am very proud of my team tonight, but it is still being proud in defeat.

“We have to win a road game, but we know we are capable,” he added.

Abbott ended the night with 11 points and Allan Diaz scored 10 for a much-more balanced Hixson attack that normal. The Wildcats end the regular season 10-17, while Brainerd takes a 12-11 record into the playoffs.

Lady Panthers Close Out Regular Season With Romp

Freshman Jamee Ward scored 25 points and teammate Aisha Douglas bombed four 3-pointers en route to 16 points as Brainerd rolled over Hixson 52-30 in the regular season finale for both teams.

Ward, Brainerd's fabulous freshman, hit 6 of 6 foul shots, as part of improving the Lady Panthers to 12-11 overall for the season. Hixson was led by Marissa Hill's 10 points on Senior Night.

Brainerd 22 11 23 15 – 71

Hixson 20 16 17 17 – 70

BRAINERD (71) – Jay Besley 14, Marques Tipton 13, Demarcus. Otis 3, Glenn, Moore, Shropshire 2, Orlando Moore 23, Cooper 9, Stubbs 6.

HIXSON (70) – Almeda, Nelson 3, D'Mondta Smith 25, Hayes 7, Allan Diaz 10, Chandler Abbott 11, Allante Novene 14. 3-point goals: Brained 3 (Besley 2, Tipton); Hixson 8 (Abbott 3, Novene 2, Hayes, Nelson, Smith).

Records: Brainerd 12-11, 10-4 in 6-AA; Hixson 10-17, 3-10 in 6-AA. Brainerd 24 8 13 7 – 52 Hixson 5 3 6 11 – 30

BRAINERD (52) – Woods 2, Anisha Douglas 16, Rowland 4, Walker 2, Jamee Ward 25, Ellis 1, Robinson 2, Ashley, Sparks.

HIXSON (30) – Marissa Hill 10, Taylor 4, Harmon 8, Staten 5, Massengale 1, Slaughter 2, Nelson, Johnson, Raber, Yates, Fernandez, Newberry. 3-point goals: Brainerd 6 (Douglas 4, Ward 2); Hixson 2 (Harmon 2). Records: Brainerd 12-11, 9-3 in 6-AA; Hixson 10-12, 6-6 in 6-AA.




Dalton State Men's Cross Country Dominate In Twilight Invitational Meet

Varnell, Ga. – The Dalton State men’s cross country team dominated the seven team field in the first Dalton State Twilight Invitational Cross Country meet at historic Prater’s Mill on Friday. Defending Southern States Athletic Conference individual champion Geoffrey Kipchumba showed local fans just how good he is. With a time of 18:42, he was way ahead of second place Spencer ... (click for more)

Dalton State Golf Is In Second At Lindsey Wilson Tournament

Columbia, KY. – The first day of the two-day, 36-hole Blue Raider Classic finished with the hosts from Lindsey-Wilson on top of second place Dalton State by seven strokes. The Blue Raiders finished Friday’s first round with a ten under par 274.  Dalton State was three under par 281. The course is The Pines at Lindsey Wilson. It is a par 71 that plays at 6,650 yards. ... (click for more)

Grill Fire Causes Damage To Signal Mountain Home

A grill fire caused damage to a Signal Mountain home on Friday evening. At  7:23 pm , a 911 call was made reporting a house fire at 306 Dawn Street on Signal Mountain. The Signal Mountain Fire Department responded reported heavy fire coming from the back porch and eaves of the home. Signal Mountain FD requested a mutual aid response for additional manpower. The ... (click for more)

Civic, Political Leader Mai Bell Hurley Dies At 87

Civic and political leader Mai Bell Hurley has died at age 87. She was the first woman to serve on the Chattanooga City Council. Ms. Hurley was also a longtime advocate for the arts and a leader in United Way. She was a leader in Chattanooga Venture that led to the redevelopment of downtown and the riverfront.  She most recently served on the Library Board. ... (click for more)

Senator Corker: Americans Deserve To Know Where Their Elected Leaders Stand On The Iran Deal

As I traveled across the Volunteer State during August, I spoke with many Tennesseans about the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States, and other world powers. While opinions of the agreement vary, there is perhaps no greater geopolitical issue facing the world today than preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.  A strong agreement that would stop Iran from obtaining ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Ain’t A Whirlygust

I have lived in and around the state of Tennessee my entire life and I have spent the last 50 years writing words in stories every day. I love clever words, words that fit perfectly in a sentence. I also like funny words, clever phrases and all sorts of “slang” words. This week the Slate website came out with “The United Slang of America” and, naturally, I was eager to see what ... (click for more)