Huckabay, Clemons Lead Baylor Past GPS, 66-62

Harris,Ware Combine For 40 As Bruisers Fall To 14-9 Overall

Monday, February 03, 2014 - by John Hunt

Baylor coach John Gibson would rather have a  layup than a 3-pointer, but he's gotten to the point where he'll take what the opposing team is willling to give.

Facing arch-rival GPS at Baylor's Jimmy Duke Arena on Monday night, the Bruisers did an outstanding job of denying open looks inside, but the Lady Red Raiders made Plan B work just fine as they escaped with a hard-fought 66-62 victory.

Monday's victory was the third this season for Baylor over GPS, but this one was the closest of the three and came down to the final minute before Baylor prevailed.

While Baylor's inside game wasn't much of a factor, the Lady Raiders proved they can shoot from outside as they canned nine 3s for the game.

None were any bigger than the last one by sophomore Crosby Huckabay, who connected from the left wing with 17.2 seconds and broke a 61-61 tie.

Brooke McCurdy, a scrappy eighth-grader who you'll read a lot more about in the coming years, sank the first of two free throws with 5.5 seconds left before intentionally missing the second. 

Baylor's Kaleigh Clemons grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 2.6 ticks remaining.  She calmly swished both tosses to give her team a four-point edge as the Bruisers missed a half-court heave as the final buzzer sounded.

"We somehow found a way to win, but it's always a big win when it comes against your biggest rival in a region game," said Gibson moments after the game ended.

"There are a lot of games when we don't take nine 3s, but GPS didn't let us get it inside and they forced us to shoot from outside.  It's tough to beat the same team three straight times, but GPS has greatly improved since we played them the first time in December.

"Those 3s got us back in the game and allowed us to win tonight," Gibson nodded after his team had improved to 17-8 overall and 4-2 in region play.

The Bruisers came within a whisker of pulling off their biggest win of the year, but critical mistakes at the end doomed their chance of an upset.

"I thought we had a chance to win until we threw it away at the end.  You can't afford to make costly turnovers in a close game like this, but we just didn't take care of the basketball in critical situations," said GPS coach Jennifer "Curly" Williams after a quick talk with her team.

"I'm really pleased with our effort and I thought kids who came off the bench did a great job of doing what we asked.  We made some adjustments on defense and did all we could, but Baylor was super hot from outside.

"You certainly can't tell from our region record, but we've been right in the thick of most every game.  I'm just hoping that we can turn into that Cinderella team once the post-season begins," Williams added with a smile.

Akia Harris and Kara Ware both scored 20 points for the Bruisers, but Harris was limited to just two points in the fourth quarter when Baylor rallied from a five-point deficit.

Ware was a force on the inside all game as she had four points in each of the first three quarters before adding eight in the fourth.

Baylor had an 11-10 lead after the first quarter before and inside shot by Ware with 18 seconds remaining gave the Bruisers a 26-24 lead at the break.

A 3 from Huckabay with 2:25 to play in the third quarter gave Baylor a 41-38 lead, but GPS finished the stanza on a 10-2 run for a 48-43 lead with eight minutes remaining.

Clemons nailed a 3 to start the fourth quarter before Jutoryia Willis tied the score with a layup 30 seconds later.  A putback by Clemons gave Baylor a 54-51 lead before Sydney Shutters tied with a 3 at the 4:13 mark.

The game was tied two more times, the last at 61-all.  Harris had stolen the inbounds pass and scored on a short jumper from the baseline to knot the score with 42 seconds left and the Bruisers forced another turnover shortly afterward, only to watch as a bad pass gave the ball back to Baylor.

Huckabay then nailed her third 3 to give the Lady Raiders their final lead before Clemons put the icing on the cake with her two free throws.

While Harris and Ware were tops for GPS with 20 each, McCurdy followed with 10 and Shutters eight.

Mya Long, who had three of Baylor's nine 3s, finished with 17 points to lead the Lady Red Raiders in scoring while Abby Hubert followed with 15 points.  Clemons finished with 13 points after having just four in the first three quarters.  Huckabay was also in double figures with a dozen.

Baylor won the rebound battle by a 27-18 margin as Hubert grabbed nine for the Lady Raiders, including eight in the first half.  Harris was tops for the Bruisers with seven while Reagan Williams snagged four.

Baylor's next game will be in Cleveland on Tuesday night against the Bradley Bearettes while GPS will play again on Friday night against Father Ryan.

GPS   10  16  22  14  --  62

BAYLOR  11  13  19  23  --  66

GPS (62) -- Harris 20, Shutters 8, Williams 2, Ware 20, Crownover, Morgan 2, Hudson, McCurdy 10.

BAYLOR (66) -- Clemons 13, Willis 5, Huckabay 12, Simpkins 2, Hubert 15, Looper, Smith, Long 17, Popp 2, McMahan.

3-POINT GOALS: GPS 7 (Harris 2, Shutters 2, McCurdy 3); Baylor 9 (Clemons 2, Willis, Huckabay 3, Long 3).

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


Lookout Rowing Earns Club National Medals

It was a good weekend on the water for Lookout Rowing Club as five boats competed at the Club Nationals Regatta in Oak Ridge, with four in the finals and two earning silver medals. Men’s Lt Weight Double : A pair of local high school coaches - David Hall (Chattanooga Junior Rowing) and Anders Swanson (GPS) - combined talents and rowed to a silver medal ... (click for more)

Dan Bailey Still Plodding Along After All These Years

Dan Bailey has been retired from the Tennessee American Water Company for more than 10 years now, so he doesn’t get in a hurry to do anything. He jokes about how slow he runs these days, but he felt better when reminded that if it wasn't for people like him, there would be no overall winners in local races. The 71-year-old Bailey is originally from Indiana, where ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Requests For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (3)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)