State Bound: Tyner Holds Off Livingston Academy

Rams Now 25-3 Following 76-71 Win Over Wildcats

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - by John Hunt

The Tyner Rams played their last basketball game at home on Tuesday night, but they didn't want it to be the final game of the season.

A 28-point second quarter may have been the turning point as the Rams advanced to next week's state tournament with their 76-71 victory over the visiting Livingston Academy Wildcats.

It looked like a track meet in the first quarter as both teams raced up and down the  court with more energy to burn than they could control.  The score was deadlocked at 14-all when that first stanza ended.

The second quarter was a different story.

Trent Nivens scored on a drive from the wing and Wade Eldridge sank the second of two free throws in the first 90 seconds as the Wildcats had a three-point lead.

DeVante Jones, who scored 22 points to lead the Tyner attack, made a four-point play with 6:19 left before intermission and the Rams regained the lead for the last time at 18-17.

That lead slowly increased and was 29-25 when Sadik Spence scored for the first time.  With the talented senior scoring 11 points in the final 2:27, Tyner broke the game open late as Spence canned a pair of 3s in the last 20 seconds, including one at the buzzer that put the Rams up by 15 and sent the Tyner faithful into a frenzy.

The Wildcats were down at this point, but they surely weren't out.

Both teams played on fairly even terms in the third stanza as Tyner's lead had increased to 60-43 with a quarter remaining, but that's when Livingston Academy started playing and the Wildcats started connecting from long range.

The visitors from north of Cookeville went on a 15-2 run from the 6:18 mark until there was 3:22 to play to get within five points at 66-61 when Zac Craig hit the last of four straight 3s by his team.

The Wildcats forced a Tyner turnover and had a chance to get even closer, but Daaron Mastin had a big steal and a thunderous slam at the 3:02 mark to put Tyner back up by seven at 68-61.

Tyner then scored six of the next seven points as the lead stretched back to a dozen at 74-62 with 1:18 to play, but again, the Wildcats weren't ready to surrender.

The visitors went on a 9-2 run in the final minute and got  back to within five points one more time following two free throws by Craig with 17 seconds left, but nobody else scored as Tyner earned its first trip back to the state tournament in four years with its 14th straight win.

"We're going to the state, baby," Tyner coach Gerald Harris blurted after getting doused with a cooler full of cold water.

"I should have known that something was up when they asked for my cell phone.  I knew better than to think they wanted to take a picture, but I didn't care," he said, still wiping water from his brow.

"We finally made some stops at the end, but I'm so glad that they finally ran out of time.  Livingston Academy has a great team and I knew they were capable of coming back like they did.  They've been to the state tournament a bunch of times and they weren't going down easy, but that's what good 3-point shooting will do for you.

"But we hung in there.  We didn't control the tempo initially and we were in foul trouble the whole first half, but we've been in tight games before.  My guys came to play tonight and they were fully confident that we were going to win, even when it got close at the end.

"I told my guys that in order to win a state title, you have to get there first.  That's where we're headed," Harris concluded.

Wildcat coach Jimmy Miller had comments much like his Tyner counterpart.

"I've been playing and coaching against Tyner for a long time and that's the best team I've ever seen them have.  They are so athletic at every position and they made us work so hard for everything we got.  We were never able to get anything going offensively, but Tyner was just too fast and they shoot the ball too well," Miller praised the Rams.

"It was hard for us to bounce back down by 17 at the half, but my guys played their hearts out and that's what they've been doing all year long.  We had a few unforced errors that hurt, but most of them were a result of fatigue," the fourth-year head coach added.

Jones set the pace for Tyner with 22 points, but senior Alex Watkins may have been the unsung hero for the Rams as he finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots.  Perhaps his biggest victory came at the free throw line where he canned four of five.

Spence and DeQuan Hardwick were also in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Eldridge scored 22 points to lead the Wildcats while teammate Craig was next with 21.  Nivens finished with a dozen while Kaleb Qualls followed with nine and Crowder seven.

The Wildcats, ending their season at 22-11, had a 33-28 edge in rebounding as Eldridge snagged a dozen while Crowder and Craig had six apiece.  Watkins was the leader for Tyner with his 14.  Rodney Watson and Kevin Cameron were next with four each.

LIVINGSTON ACADEMY   14  13  16  28  --  71

TYNER                               14  28  18  16  --  76

LIVINGSTON ACADEMY (71) -- Nivens 12, Eldridge 22, Crowder 7, Craig 21, Qualls 9, Hollars, Linder.

TYNER (76) -- Watson 2, Spence 14, Mastin 6, Jones 22, Hardwick 10, Cameron 4, Strickland, Watkins 18.

3-POINT GOALS: Livingston Academy 11 (Nivens 3, Eldridge 3, Craig 3, Qualls 2); Tyner 6 (Spence 3, Jones 3).

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)



Tuesday Prep Volleyball Roundup

Notre Dame beat CCS 25-19, 29-27, 25-22 Notre Dame Stats: Claire Vander Werf - 9 kills, 1 ace, 7 digs Ragen Dobson - 1 kill, 38 assists, 1 ace, 3 digs, 3 blocks Kyla Mitchell - 4 kills, 3 aces, 2 digs, 2 blocks Kaylee Stone - 10 kills, 1 ace, 11 digs Ally Mildenberger - 10 digs Tess Scobey - 8 kills, 3 blocks Keri Klassen - 11 digs Sarah Desai - 1 block ... (click for more)

Covenant Tops Sewannee 2-1 In Season Opener

 In the opening match of the 2015 season, the Covenant men's soccer team defeated Sewanee 2-1 on Tuesday evening at Scotland Yard with two goals in the first half. Covenant goes to 1-0 on the year, while Sewanee drops to 0-1 overall. The match picked up very quickly as senior Noah Wiersema scored barely two minutes into the match from just inside the box. In the 32nd ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Unsecured Creditors Committee Asks Trustee Be Appointed For Fort Oglethorpe Hospital; Asks Bankruptcy Not Be Dismissed

The Unsecured Creditors Committee of Hutcheson Medical Center is opposing a motion by U.S. Trustee Guy Gebhardt for a bankruptcy judge to dismiss the bankruptcy for the financially-ailing Fort Oglethorpe hospital.   Instead, the group is asking Judge Paul Bonapfel to appoint a trustee to oversee the Hutcheson finances. In a 16-page motion, the committee said if the bankruptcy ... (click for more)

Developer Says CARTA To Lease 75 Parking Spaces At Renaissance Park Lot For New $14 Million Apartments

A member of the Vision Hospitality Group said Tuesday that CARTA plans to lease 75 spaces at the public parking lot by Renaissance Park for its planned $14 million apartment complex. Drew Hibbard, vice president of finance and investments, told members of the North Chattanooga Council of the Chamber of Commerce that it will be under a 50-year lease with the transit group that ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Is Right On The Muslim Threat - And Response (2)

Sheriff Hammond is exactly correct on the Muslims in Tennessee.  He sees with clear eyes the problem with the Muslims in our state and country.  They do want to take over Tennessee.  Our politicians are selling us down the river and allowing the trouble makers to dig in like tics and suck out the life's blood of our Constitution and take us over.  They ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Barners Trounce Who?

There is a website known as Grammarly that just completed a profound study. An automated proof-reading company (who I hope never finds out about me) collected 100 comments that each included over 50 words from the comment blogs of the nation’s preseason Top 25 college football teams. Then they fed them into the company’s huge algorithm computer and checked each fan base for punctuation, ... (click for more)