From Staff Reports
The halftime adjustments Southeast Whitfield girls basketball coach Mike Durham made to his schemes during Tuesday night’s game at Cass were minor.
But the attitude adjustment the Lady Raiders made was seen as major by the coach, and he credited that with turning things around as Southeast rallied to a 52-48 win despite an underwhelming first half.
“It was pretty exciting,” Durham said.
The Lady Raiders (6-4) trailed at the end of each period except the final one — they were down 20-8, 31-14 and 40-34 at the breaks — scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter and holding off the Lady Colonels.
“The first half, we just couldn’t really make a shot,” Durham said. “But you’re not going to make all your shots and free throws and box out and rebound all the time. But you can at least hustle up and down the floor, and we weren’t hustling and that gave them some transition buckets they shouldn’t have gotten.”
But that changed before it was too late to matter.
“We did a few things different,” Durham said. “We changed up a little bit and went to some full-court man, some full-court press in the second half. But the girls just started playing and they did what we asked them to do. That’s what we want all four quarters, but we finally got it in the second half.”
Sophomore guard Crickett Wyatt had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead Southeast. Megan Collins added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Tavi Parris chipped in 11 points and Judelle Herrera finished with nine.
The Lady Raiders took their first lead at 45-44 with “about two to three minutes” to play, Durham said, although Cass responded to tie the game at 47 before free throws helped Southeast hang on to the hard-earned win.
“It was a good game,” Durham said. “They’re starting to understand if they hustle and do all the little things like that, they can have some good things happen.”
Durham coached cross country and track and field at Cass the past four years before returning to Whitfield County this summer — he previously coached cross country and track at Northwest Whitfield — to lead the Lady Raiders on the court. Southeast went 32-39 over the past three seasons and was 1-25 last year.
• Northwest boys 67, Ringgold 47: Tanner Bailey had a team-high 14 points as the Bruins got rolling in the second quarter.
Northwest only led 19-17 after the first period but took a 36-26 lead into halftime.
“Early in the season, we’re getting off to really fast starts,” Bruins coach Ryan Richards said. “It was good to see us in a close game for a while and then respond.”
Tanner Quarles added 11 points for Northwest (7-1), while O’Shea Hill had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Andy Whisenant tallied nine points.
• Dalton boys 81, Pickens 60: A fast start sparked by an all-around night from Alex Bautista help the Catamounts roll to an easy road win.
Bautista poured in 24 points, adding nine steals and six rebounds as Dalton bolted out to a 20-3 start and never let its lead slip back into single digits the rest of the way.
Balance was one of the keys for the Cats (5-1) as Rico Mears (14 points), Brandon Painter (13) and Demond Rucker (13) all scored in double digits. Dalton also forced 28 turnovers.
“I feel pretty good about where we are,” Cats coach Mike Duffie said. “We have two tournaments over the next couple of weeks until we get to the sub-region schedule, and we just need to keep progressing. We have a lot of good parts.”
• Pickens girls 48, Dalton 46: In a game that was tight from the start, the Lady Cats struggled at the free-throw line and fell in Jasper.
Dalton ended the night 7-for-19 from the foul line in a game neither team led by more than six points at any point, Dalton coach Jeff McKinney said.
Maddie Howell led Dalton (9-2) with 12 points, while Taylor Behr added 10.
• Northwest girls 75, Ringgold 4: Thirteen different players scored for the Lady Bruins (7-4), who held the host Lady Tigers scoreless until midway through the second quarter.
Kaitlin Wade scored 13 points and Autumn Blackwell added 11 as both saw action only in the first half, which ended with Northwest ahead 49-2. The Lady Bruins beat Ringgold 78-13 on Dec. 4 in Tunnel Hill.
According to the results posted at Ga.PrepCountry.com, Ringgold is 0-6, having been outscored by an average of 44 points in those losses; they have been held to fewer than 20 points in half those games. The Lady Tigers started last season with 13 straight losses before finishing with a 7-19 record.
• Northwest JV girls 62, Ringgold 8: Lindsey Roberts, Madelyn Logan and Whitley Brooker each scored 11 points for the Lady Bruins (5-0), while Lexi Storey added 10.
• Cass boys 73, Southeast 45: Bryce Middlebrooks led the Raiders (1-10) with 18 points on six second-half 3-pointers. Chaz Payne finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.
• North Murray swept a pair of duals, beating North Carolina’s Hayesville 39-34 and host Fannin County 51-36.
Alex Gambino (106 pounds), Brett Bishop (120), Juan Salaises (152), Tyler McKee (160), Jeremiah Watkins (220) and Blane Anderson (285) each went 2-0 for the Mountaineers, who improved to 12-4 but found themselves hurting — again — at the end of the night.
The team has dealt with numerous injuries to starters this season, and on Tuesday they added two more to the list.
“One was a lower back injury, and he’s on his way to the hospital. That’s (126-pounder) Hagen Steelman,” Mountaineers coach Steve Colley said. “Then we lost Juan Carillo at 120 in the first match. He’s all iced up with a shoulder injury. He may have a dislocation, according to the trainer.”
Still, Colley said his team wrestled “great” in the face of more adversity. He was particularly pleased with Watkins, who trailed 14-2 against Fannin County before pinning for a much needed victory with North Murray trailing 24-12 at the time.
“That was the turning point of the match,” Colley said.
“... It was just a momentum changer, because we had lost two matches back to back that were just dogfights.”
• Austin McCall had two pins and was one of four double winners for Murray County as the Indians split a double dual at Model.
Murray County (11-7) topped the host Blue Devils 37-36 but lost 48-30 to Bowdon.
Other Indians who went 2-0 were Chavita Perez (160), Kevin Chavez (170) and Clay Thornbury (182).
• Northwest won two duals in a tri-meet at Armuchee. The Bruins beat Pepperell 57-20 and Armuchee 51-17.
Blake Hayes won both his 106-pound matches for Northwest. Bryan Gembe (113), Alex Reynolds (145), Garrett Gray (160), Jordan Pittman (170), Rodrigo Martinez (182) and A.J. Orozco (195) were the other Bruins to win twice. Reynolds is 13-0.
• Dalton was forfeiting five weight classes because of injuries, but the Cats still made it a competitive night in three duals, beating host Dade County 36-29 and falling 48-33 to Ringgold while also losing to Ridgeland. The latter dual finished with the teams tied at 42-42, but the Panthers won on criteria.
Dylan Carlile (126), Werner Braun (195) and Larry Fernandez were all 3-0 for Dalton, while Noah Burns (145) and Tyler Nolan (132) each had a pair of pins.
Cats coach Michael Keefe led Dade County’s program the past two seasons before returning this year to Dalton, where he had previously served as an assistant. Keefe’s twin brother, Josh, is Ridgeland’s coach.