Ward Leads Brainerd Girls Past Polk Co.

Sophomore Sharp-Shooter Gets 26 In 45-33 Win

Friday, February 21, 2014 - by John Hunt

Brainerd's Lady Panthers didn't play their best game on Friday night at their Jackson-High Gymnasium, but they played well enough to advance to Monday's Region 3-AA semifinals at East Ridge.

The final result on Friday was a 45-33 victory over the Polk County Wildkittens, but the first half was much more impressive than the second for the Lady Panthers, who improved to 19-7 with the double-digit win.

Monday night's pairings for the girls semis include McMinn Central against Sequoyah at 6 and Brainerd against Loudon at 7:30. 

McMinn Central whipped Tyner by a 63-18 final while Sequoyah ended Central's season, 47-21.  And in the closest quarterfinal in the region, Loudon slipped past Hixson, 55-53.

"We wanted to play with great intensity where we wore them out running up and down the court, but we got a little sluggish in the second half," said Brainerd coach Tyrus Ward following the victory.

"Anytime you get a win in the first round of the region tournament, you have to be pleased, but we'll have to play better next time.  We've had a long week and several of these girls may have been tired, but we played well in spots and defensively, we did okay.

"Polk missed a lot of shots, but we just wanted to wear them down and let little sister take over," Ward said, referring to his younger sister Jamee, a Brainerd sophomore who led the way with 26 points, despite not having her best shooting night of the season.

Hannah Withrow scored on a putback and teammate Heather McLain converted a layup 24 seconds later as Polk County grabbed the early 4-0 lead.

Ward scored five straight points and Ebony Calloway converted a steal into a layup as the Lady Panthers took the 7-4 advantage at the 4:36 mark.

Ward sank another 3 around a pair of buckets by Polk's Mikayla McClary as the Wildkittens got to within 10-8 with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter.

By the time Polk scored again -- a 3 from the key by Isabella Liner with 3:26 to play before intermission -- the game was all but over as Brainerd scored 15 unanswered points.  Ward was the biggest weapon for the Lady Panthers as she scored eight of those 15 points.

Ward's final 3 of the game came with 11 seconds to play as Brainerd's lead at the break was a commanding 30-13.

With Ward scoring eight of Brainerd's first 10 points in the second half, the Lady Panthers had their biggest lead of the game at 40-18 with 1:45 to play in the third stanza.

The Wildkittens kept battling and started to hit some shots from the field, but the deficit was too big and the time too short to pull off the comeback.

Polk County coach Johnny Hayes pointed toward his team's slow start in the opening minutes as one of the keys to their loss.

"We just didn't come out ready to play in the first quarter.  We had too many turnovers and we missed too many open shots.  All of a sudden, the game was out of reach," the slender coach explained afterward.

"I was glad that we came out and played with energy in the second half, but it was too late after the way we played in the first.  We had a few nice runs, but we were basically just matching them point for point.

"We all knew how tough the Ward girl is as she has great moves and is extremely athletic.  She was our biggest challenge, but they had some other girls who stepped up and made some shots," Hayes added.

While Ward was tops for both teams with her 26 points, teammate Jameka Brown followed with nine points while Neisha Price added seven.

Liner was tops for Polk County with 10 points.  McLain was next with nine while McClary had eight and Withrow six.

Polk County, ending its season at 10-18, did enjoy a 29-23 advantage on the boards as Withrow snagged a dozen for the Wildkittens.  Calloway was tops for Brainerd with seven.

In other 6-AA games, McMinn Central topped Tyner 63-18 and Sequoyah beat Central 47-21.

Loudon edged the Hixson girls 55-53.

POLK COUNTY  8  5  7  13  --  33

BRAINERD   13  17  10  5  --  45

POLK COUNTY (33) -- Liner 10, Davis, Johnson, Waldroup, McLain 9, McClary 8, Trew, Muller, Withrow 6.

BRAINERD  (45) -- Ward 26, Brown 9, Walker 1, Price 7, Ashley, McClendon, Sparks, Calloway 2.

3-POINT GOALS: Polk Co. 2 (Liner 2); Brainerd 6 (Ward 4, Brown, Price).

MONDAY'S SEMIFINALS AT EAST RIDGE

McMinn Central vs Central 6 p.m.

Brainerd vs Loudon 7:30 p.m.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)


Signal Mtn Girls, Macon Co. Boys Win Region 4 Golf

PIKEVILLE - Four of the past five years, Region 4 of A-AA has claimed either or both boys and girls TSSAA state golf championships and next week the Signal Mountain girls and Macon County boys hope to make it five of six. Monday at the Fall Creek Falls National Park golf course, the Signal Mountain girls claimed their fifth region title in six years, while the Macon County ... (click for more)

Monday Prep Volleyball Roundup

Silverdale beat the Patriots of Chattanooga Home School 25-7, 25-8 Harper Sutton, 1 ace Molly Rumfelt 3 kills, 1 dig Katie White 16 aces, 2 digs, 1 kill Emma Dale 4 kills, 2 digs Elise Pearson 3 kills Silverdale plays at Boyd-Buchanan on Tuesday and at Chattanooga Christian on Thursday .   The Lady Irish defeated Bledsoe County in straight ... (click for more)

City Receives $400,000 Federal Grant To Study Passenger Train Service

The United States Department of Transportation has announced Chattanooga has received a $400,000 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to study the potential use of existing railways for a passenger rail system in Chattanooga. There were 72 awards announced in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Out of numerous grant applications across Tennessee, ... (click for more)

Former Assistant Police Chief Eidson Not Charged In Shooting Of Stepson On Englewood Avenue

Former Chattanooga Police Department Assistant Chief Kirk Eidson was not charged in the shooting of stepson Robert Ingle, 18, on Sunday morning in North Chattanooga. However, Ingle was charged with domestic assault and vandalism. In the incident shortly after 9 a.m. at 1049 Englewood Ave., Mr. Eidson said Ingle came to the house asking him to take him to their other house ... (click for more)

Dirt Decision At Camp Jordan May Come Back To Haunt East Ridge Councilmen

Wow. I thought the arrival of Bass Pro Shop would help bring East Ridge back to a position of prominence in the Chattanooga area, but the Council proved otherwise last night.  To the council - There is a reason that the developers want that dirt: It's valuable . You currently own it and the developer wants it. Bass Pro has already agreed to set up shop. They were going ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Switchings Are Nothing New

As best I can remember, I was switched with “tree branches” in at least five different Southern states when I was growing up. These seemingly endless and quite deliberate incidents of corporal punishment were not just doled out by my parents but others got into the act -- my grandmother, my aunts and or whoever else felt I deserved a whacking. There were even some notable African-American ... (click for more)