Thursday, March 30, 2017

2016-17 TSWA All-State Girls Basketball Teams

Here’s a look at the 2016-17 all-state girls basketball team, as selected by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association:

Class AAA
Anastasia Hayes, Riverdale, Sr.
Jayla Hemingway,  Houston, So.
Rhyne Howard, Bradley Central, Jr.
Brinae Alexander, Riverdale, Jr.
Hale Hughes, Bradley Central, Sr.
Elizabeth Dixon, Ridgeway, Jr.
Jireh Washington, Memphis Central, Jr.
Johne’ Stewart, Memphis Central, Jr.
Tesia Thompson, Hamilton, Sr.
Sydney Newsome, Morristown West, Sr.
Emily Beard, Dickson County, Sr.
Kailey Rosenbaum, Dickson County, Jr.
Addison Byrd, Wilson Central, Sr.
Gabby Crawford, Munford, Jr.
Brianah Ferby, Stewarts Creek, Sr.

Class AA
Akira Levy, Upperman, Jr.
Jacobi Lynn, McMinn Central, Sr.
Erica Haynes-Overton, East Nashville, Sr.
Janiah Sandifer, Pearl-Cohn, Sr.
Shawnta Shaw, Pearl-Cohn, Jr.
Sydni Lollar, Greeneville, Jr.
Abby Greenwood, Upperman, Sr.
Paige Pipkin, Chester County, Sr.
Jamirah Shutes, Haywood, Jr.
Savannah LeGate, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Sr.
KeKe McKinney, Fulton, Sr.
Keeley Carter, Macon County, Fr.
Quanardra Miller, Jackson South Side, So.
Qua Hines, Gatlinburg Pittman, Sr.
Karli Combs, Grainger, Sr.

Class A
Ali Golden, Huntland, Sr.
Taylor Lamb, South Greene, Jr.
Kara Meadows, Clarkrange, Sr.
Caitlyn Yost, Forrest, Sr.
Abby Buckner, Middle Tennessee Christian, Sr.
Alyssa LeMay, Mt. Pleasant, Sr.
Braelyn Wykle, South Greene, So.
Chelsey Perry, Middleton, Sr.
Brynne Lytle, Trinity Christian Academy, Sr.
Kyleigh Hardy, Jackson County, Jr.
Courtney Pritchett, Pickett County, Jr.
Jesica Keith, Huntingdon, Sr.
Tess Darby, Greenfield, Fr.
Sydney Boykin, Clarksville Academy, Fr.
Kaylea Foster, Coalfield, Sr.

Division II
Ashtyn Baker, Northpoint Christian, Sr.
Anna Jones, USJ, Sr.
Antoinette Lewis, Harding Academy, Sr.
Jordyn Cambridge, Ensworth, Jr.
Sydni Harvey, Brentwood Academy, Jr.
Myah LeFlore, St. Benedict, Sr.
Bria Dial, Brentwood Academy, Sr.
Audrey Burdge, Father Ryan, Sr.
Riley Casey, Franklin Road Academy, Sr.
Allison Cowie, Battle Ground Academy, Sr.
Casey Collier, Webb School of Knoxville, So.
Lindsey Whiteside, Northpoint Christian, Sr.
Mya Long, Baylor School, Sr.
Selena Pruitt, Lausanne Collegiate, Sr.
Savanna Owens, Briarcrest Christian, Jr.

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 Best of West Middle School Girls Exposure Camp Recap

Patosha Jeffery and Power5 B Ball teamed up to bring The Best of West Middle School Girls Exposure Camp to Memphis, TN on March 4, 2017. Fifty-five players from Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas represented at the 4 hour event. The players went through fundamental and competitive drills as evaluators Dan Olson (Girls Basketball Report/espnW), Memphis Girls Basketball, Major Prep Sports, Tiger Sports Report and videographer, Mykal Anthony Media, were in attendance.

Click here to read entire recap and player evaluations

Memphis Players Shine at 2017 Battle at the Hive

Insider Exposure was in attendance of the Battle at the Hive event.

Check out what they had to say about 2021 Point Guard Se'Quoia Almond

Se’Quoia Allmond – 5’8 PG – 2021 – Bellevue MS – Memphis War Eagles 2021 – Nice size and build for an athletic PG, Allmond may have had the best handles at the event. Really nice in & out dribble, between the legs and behind the back, she was able to move the ball around even under pressure in heavy traffic. Had a nice euro step on a drive to the rack and played with an upbeat attitude and good motor.

Honorable Mentions:

Ciara Taylor – 2021 – Memphis War Eagles
Dionna Reed – 2021 – Memphis War Eagles
Destinee Wells – 2020 – Team Penny Wareagles/Houston
Megan Sanfrantello – 2020 – Team Penny Wareagles/Tipton-Rosemark

See entire Insider Exposure recap

Friday, March 17, 2017

Memphis area prospects in the NCAA women's tournament

From Commercial Appeal

The NCAA women’s basketball tournament begins on Friday and the Memphis area will have several rooting interests even though none of its college teams are involved this year. Here’s a rundown of the local prospects from the surrounding area that could pop up on your television screen in the coming weeks.

F Nina Davis, Baylor, Sr. — This 5-foot-11 post player, who was a Parade all-American and Tennessee’s Gatorade Player of the Year while starring at Central High School, is only the fifth player in Baylor history to register more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Though she averaged career-lows of 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season due to an influx of talent for the Bears, she is nonetheless a major cog in their quest to make the Final Four for the first time in five years. Davis earned Big 12 player of the year and second team all-American honors last season, when Baylor lost in the Elite Eight for the third straight season.

F Jasmine Joyner, Chattanooga, Sr. — The 6-foot-2 Southaven, Miss. native was the only player in the Southern Conference to average a double-double this season and earned first team all-conference and conference defensive player of the year honors as a result. She had eight double-doubles over the final nine games of the season. She averaged 13.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and nearly four blocks per game.

G Jaida Roper, Kentucky, Fr. — The former Houston High star was a late addition to Kentucky’s 2016 recruiting class and became a useful contributor right away for the Wildcats as this season progressed. She started twice in December and has played at least 10 minutes in 13 of the past 17 games. Roper is averaging 2.8 points and 1.2 assists per game.

G Olivia Cunningham, Toledo, So. — The Horn Lake, Miss. native began her college career at Murray State and has become a crucial reserve in her first season playing at Toledo. The combo guard is averaging 5.6 points per game and scored a season-best 20 points when the Rockets beat Northern Illinois to win the Mid-American Conference tournament championship game.

C Raquel Logan, Central Arkansas, Sr. — This West Memphis, Ark., native is starting for the Southland Conference champions and averaging six points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game this year.

F Tieraney Paylor, Central Arkansas, So. — The former Ridgeway standout is redshirting this year due to an achilles injury.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Olive Branch star, Myah Taylor, honored

image and article from Commercial Appeal

If there was any lingering doubt — and really at this point there shouldn't have been, but if there was — Myah Taylor has put it all to rest. The Olive Branch senior will go down as one of the best and most-honored girls basketball players in the history of the area.

Taylor cemented her legacy on Monday when she was named Gatorade's state player of the year for a record third straight time. The honor comes after the Mississippi State signee led the Quistors to the MHSAA 6A state championship with a 57-54 victory over Starkville at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson on Saturday.

Olive Branch ends the season 33-1 and is ranked 19th in the latest USA Today national poll.

"I had to sacrifice a lot but like my dad told me, now I can see the hard work has paid off," said Taylor. "Things like not going out with my friends ... I'll either be at home studying or in the gym.

"Don't get me wrong, winning the Gatorade award is great. But our number one goal all season was to win state as a team. That's what we worked toward all year; our motto was 'all in.' I couldn't have done any of this without my teammates."

The 5-6 Taylor — who is ranked 49th nationally in the class of 2016 according to ESPN HoopGurlz — averaged 21.6 points, 7.5 assists and 7 steals for Olive Branch this season while shooting 49 percent from the floor. Off the court she's just as impressive, maintaining a 4.10 grade-point average.

She capped her career with a 16-point, 9-steal, 6-assist effort in the victory over Starkville.

Anastasia Hayes, the Miss Basketball winner from undefeated state champ Murfreesboro Riverdale, was the Gatorade winner for Tennessee.


Georgia Tech has picked up another verbal commitment from a Shelby County girls basketball standout as Ridgeway's Elizabeth Dixon announced via Twitter on Sunday that she was headed to Atlanta.

"After heavy consideration and talking with family, I'm excited to further my education at Georgia Tech," she Tweeted. "I'm so excited and can't wait."

Dixon will be joined by another talented class of 2018 standout, Whitehaven sharp-shooter Jasmine Carson, who committed to the Yellow Jackets last month.

The 6-3 Dixon is currently the 20th-ranked junior in the nation according to ESPN HoopGurlz. She attracted serious recruiting interest from a host of strong programs, including Baylor, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida State, Louisville, Kentucky and Maryland.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Myah Taylor (Olive Branch) 3x MS Gatorade Player of the Year

Read Gatorade Player of the Year profile

Olive Branch finishes strong, wins the 6A title

image and article from

To get to where Olive Branch wanted to go, it was not going to be pretty.

But while the method of digging itself out of a double-digit hole and holding up the gold ball as the 6A state champions may have not been the preferred way to go about it, it was nonetheless effective.

Using a grinding full-court trap Olive Branch beat Starkville 57-54 on Saturday in Mississippi Coliseum, despite getting less than stellar games from both of its Dandy Dozen players.

“I’m just glad that it worked out,” coach Jason Thompson said.

Myah Taylor, the top player in the state and a Mississippi State signee (for the second game in a row, future head coach Vic Schaefer was watching), finished with 16 points, but she was 5-of-18 from the floor, 0-of-5 from 3-point range and even 6-of-16 at the free throw line. That’s not typical Taylor.

Mahogany Vaught was the player of the game with 14 points, but she was also 4-of-14 from the field. They, and their teammates, were struggling in the first half (8-of-27 FG), and it took a quick four-point burst just to make it 26-21 at halftime against the Lady Jackets (31-1).

“I told them that’s it a long haul, ladies,” Thompson said. “Sometimes a game may be over early but a good team is going to make you fight to the finish. I said, ‘We’re built for this.’ It’s no big thing to us.”

Thompson also made sure Taylor and Vaught knew he was going to ride with them throughout.

“I told them, ‘Stick to it. We’re going to find a way,’” Thompson said. “Win, lose or draw, you always want your best kids to have the ball to give you a chance to win. They’ve been doing it their whole life. Ain’t no different today.”

So as a team they ratcheted up the pressure, to great effect: Starkville turned the ball over eight times in the third quarter and 14 in the second half. The Lady Jackets went the last six minutes of the third quarter and first minute of the fourth without making a field goal.

“We rattled them, the ball-handlers,” Vaught said. “That’s really our game, defense. And it’s what turned us up in the second half.”

It led to some easy Olive Branch baskets, but also a lot of free throws for both sides (55 total). Starkville, to its credit, held on as long as it could on the defensive end, and it was still 49-49 with three minutes to go.

That’s when Taylor (who finished with nine steals) made a series of free throws, and then found Nadia Gillespie along the baseline for a jumper that made it 54-49 and effectively sealed it.

“Words can’t explain it,” Taylor said. “I’m just very proud of my team. Very excited.”

Central girls fall to Riverdale in AAA state title game

article from Commercial Appeal

The Tigers are most likely done for the season. The Grizzlies are in the middle of a puzzling slump.

But Central's girls basketball team showed Saturday there's still plenty to be happy about in Hoop City as it pushed the No. 1 team in the nation to its absolute limits. But in the end, Murfreesboro Riverdale showed it was legit as it held off the Lady Warriors 66-59 in a thrilling AAA championship game at the Murphy Center.

Central — which battled its way to the final after finishing in third place in the District 16-AAA tournament — ends the season 30-7. It was the school's first appearance in the championship game since winning it all in 2011.

"We knew we were the underdog team from Memphis, going up against the No. 1 team in the nation," said Central's Brianna Cooks.

But in typical grit-grind fashion, Central took it right to the favorites and found itself in the fourth quarter with a great chance to pull the upset.

Jireh Washington's 3-pointer gave the Lady Warriors a 52-51 lead with 6:45 to go in the game, and she hit a free throw moments later to tie it at 53. Riverdale — led by tournament Most Valuable Player Anastasia Hayes — responded though and was clinging to a 59-55 lead when Washington missed a 3 with 1:12 to go.

Free throws by Brinae Alexander and Aislynn Hayes then gave Riverdale enough cushion to ride out the storm.

Washington — who finished with a team-high 20 points — was terrific from beyond the arc, connecting on 5 of 6 attempts. Central shot 8 of 18 as a team but was a frustrating 13 of 40 on its 2-point attempts.

As coach Rashad Haynes said, the chances were there.

"We usually have five guards on the floor, and there were some second-chance opportunities where they made some and we missed some," he said. "The effort was there; the fight was there. But (we) didn't finish.

"A different play here and there, and maybe it's a different game."

Anastasia Hayes, a Tennessee signee who was named Miss Basketball earlier in the week, finished with 32 points and was a one-girl press-breaker against Central's furious pressure defense. Amanda Whittington added 11 points while Brinae Alexander pulled down 16 boards, all of them seemingly coming at demoralizing times for Central.

Riverdale ends the season 34-0 and is the sixth straight Murfreesboro team to win the state championship.

"Our mindset against them was the same as with any other team," said Central's Johne' Stewart. "We don't look at rankings or anything like that. We played them like we would any other team."

Cooks had her best game of the tournament, finishing with 17 points on 3 of 5 3-point shooting. Stewart added 14.

"It's hurtful," said Haynes. "But I'm very proud. I think we represented Memphis very well. And just a few more shots here and there ..."

Central girls advance to AAA final

article from Commercial Appeal

After 36 games, Central coach Rashad Haynes says he's still waiting for all of his girls to bring their "A-games" on the same day. Saturday will need to be that day.

The Lady Warriors advanced to the championship with a 72-59 victory over Dickson County Friday at the Murphy Center. Their reward? A match-up against the defending state champs, undefeated Murfreesboro Riverdale, which also just happens to be the No. 1 team in the nation according to USA TODAY.

"We've got one more chance, one game left," said Haynes. "We're still trying to figure out who we are."

Here are some hints. Central is athletic, tough and talented and causes all kinds of problems with its pressure defense. The Lady Warriors for 16 turnovers against Dickson County after forcing Oak Ridge to cough it up 21 times in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

Jireh Washington scored 23 to lead Central (30-6) while Johne' Stewart — who poured in 31 against Oak Ridge — added 18. But the Lady Warriors would have been hard-pressed to win without a terrific all-around game from Kynadi Kuykendoll, who scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with 5 of her team's 9 steals.

"(Rebounding) is about heart," the 5-4 Kuykendoll said. "It's not about height. They have five players; we have five players. You just have go in there and box out."

Kuykendoll's 3-pointer with 3:29 to go in the first half gave Central a 30-16 lead and they still led by eight (32-24) at the break.

"The key was pressure," said Haynes. "The continuous pressure that kind of let us get out and get some offensive creation. The opportunities are there and the kids are stepping up at the right time."

Three-point shooting also helped Central build its first-half advantage; the Lady Warriors connected five times from behind the arc leaving Haynes pleasantly surprised.

"No, that's not something we normally do," he smiled. "We've been consistently inconsistent."

Said Washington, who made 2 of 4 of her 3-point attempts, "We have been very inconsistent but we keep working."

Spurred on by their huge student section, the Lady Cougars pulled to within 40-34 as Emily Beard knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:32 to go in the third. But Washington responded with a jumper before Bionka Massie drained a long 3 from the corner at the buzzer to make it an 11-point advantage and Dickson County (29-8) was all but finished.

Kailey Rosenbaum, Dickson County's potent inside threat, finished with 13 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Olivia Rinehart came off the bench to score 10.

Saturday's 1 p.m. championship will be Central's first appearance in the finals since winning it all in 2011. Riverdale beat Central 80-58 when the teams met in the semifinals last year and will be formidable once again. But Central appears to be peaking at the right time. And it's March.

Haynes is keeping his fingers crossed.

"I talked pre-game about everybody trying to bring their A-game and how dangerous we could be," he said. "We're trying to get there."

Dickson County (59) — Kaelin Roberts 9, Cierra Smith 6, Raegan Purvine 8, Emily Beard 9, Kailey Rosenbaum 13, Olivia Rinehart 10, Sierra Morgan 4.

Central (72) — Brianna Cooks 7, Brittney Ivory 3, Kynadi Kuykendoll 16, Bionka Massie 5, Johne’ Stewart 18, Jireh Washington 23.

Records — Dickson Co. 29-8, Central 30-6.

Houston girls fall to Riverdale in AAA semifinal

Article from Commercial Appeal

For 16 minutes, the impossible looked possible Friday at the Murphy Center.

Houston, playing in the state semifinals for the first time in school history, went toe-to-toe with mighty Murfreesboro Riverdale and played them to a virtual standstill at halftime. But the Warriors took control of the game in the third quarter before eliminating the Mustangs, 69-50, in the AAA semifinals.

Riverdale (33-0), which is ranked No. 1 in the USA Today national rankings, will play for its second consecutive championship Saturday at 1 p.m. against Central, which ousted Dickson County earlier in the day.

The most successful season in Houston history ends 28-4.

"We're only losing three seniors," said first-year coach Ben Moore. "We started three sophomores and a freshman today so we have a chance to be back here.

"The run this team made through the region tournament was special. I knew we had a talented team but I didn't see that toughness until the region. With a first-year coach, they had to figure out a lot of things on the fly."

Despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor, Houston led by as much as five in the first half and trailed just 26-23 at the break. That was due in large part to the fact that Riverdale was even colder from the floor (27.8) percent.

But the Warriors scored the first nine points out of the gate to take a 35-23 lead and Houston never threatened. Brinae Alexander did most of the damage, hitting two free throws before converting a 3-point play and knocking down a nice jumper.

Alexander finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds to lead Riverdale.

"We knew somebody was going to make a run," said Moore. "We just hoped it would be us."

Said Riverdale coach Randy Coffman, "They stretched us out some in the first half and we got in a little trouble. I was telling them about 20 different things to do (defensively). We got big, decided we wanted to defend and get out and be Riverdale."

Miss Basketball winner Anastasia Hayes added 15 for Riverdale, which made 13 of 22 shots (59.1 percent) in the second half. Alexis Whittington chipped in with 12.

"We wanted to get them back," said Houston's Madison Griggs, whose team lost to Riverdale in a Christmas tournament last season. "But they're quick. They shoot the ball well and rebound."

Freshman Destinee Wells had 20 to lead Houston while Griggs and Miss Basketball finalist Jayla Hemingway finished with 9 apiece. Houston never did get its shooting stroke cranked up and ended the game 20 of 56 (35.7 percent).

"They went to that 1-3-1 and that really bothered us," said Moore. "We weren't very patient and we couldn't get buckets."

Houston (50) — Melisa Carter 2, Shaela Gardner 6, Madison Griggs 9, Jayla Hemingway 9, Rochelle Lee 2, Kennedy Maclin 2, Destinee Wells 20.

Riverdale (69) — Brinae Alexander 21, Anastasia Hayes 15, Aislynn Hayes 8, Amanda Whittington 5, Alexis Whittington 12, Alasia Hayes 7, Jalyn Holcomb 1.

Records — Houston 28-4, Riverdale 33-0.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Houston girls advance to Tennessee AAA semifinals

image and article from Commercial Appeal

Fake news. Alternate facts. In a world where the truth isn't as necessarily cut-and-dried, here's another perception that's taking a beating: Memphis girls basketball teams can't compete with their eastern and mid-state counterparts.

Houston advanced to the AAA semifinals Wednesday, surviving a cold-shooting, foul-filled game against Clarksville to win 58-45 at the Murphy Center. That puts the Mustangs (28-3) in Friday's 11:30 p.m. semifinal against defending state champion Murfreesboro Riverdale, which is ranked No. 1 in this week's USA TODAY rankings.

They'll be joined in the semis by Central, which eliminated Oak Ridge earlier. Both Houston and Central represent Region 8 and Mustangs coach Ben Moore said Wednesday's results definitely made a statement.

"I think you look at our region; we played Hamilton, White Station and Central in the region tournament," he said. "And White Station was fantastic all season. I think there were three or four teams from our region that could have made it to state and made a little run."

Instead it will be Houston moving on after winning the first state tournament game in school history. The Mustangs' only other appearance came in 2014 when they lost to Blackman in the quarters.

This one was a battle from the get-go. Houston won despite shooting just 37 percent from the floor and was certainly helped by the fact that Clarksville was even worse (26.7 percent, 3 of 15 on 3s). The only reason the Wildcats stayed within striking distance until the fourth quarter was excellent free-throw shooting; they shot 18 of 19 from the line.

"Survive and advance, that's kind of been our mantra the last couple of weeks," said Moore, who is in his first season at Houston. "We're happy to still be playing."

Jayla Hemingway, a Miss Basketball finalist who led Houston with 14 points, said her young team's first appearance on the big stage was a factor.

"I think we were nervous, kind of shellshocked at first," she said. "But our team is very close, like a family, and we were (eventually) able to get each other pumped up."

Hemingway — herself a sophomore — got plenty of help from freshman Destinee Wells, who finished with 13, and sophomore Madison Griggs, who hit a pair of 3-pointers to finish with 10. Houston never trailed after Griggs connected from the top of the key with 41 seconds left in the first half, giving the Mustangs a 26-24 lead at the break.

Hannah Goins scored 12 points to lead Clarksville (27-6), which finished in third place in the District 10 tournament before surprising many by winning the Region 5 tourney.

Clarksville (45) — Ellie Treanton 4, Deja Walls 7, Judy Cummings 8, Ailyah Miller 7, Lainey Persinger 2, Hannah Goins 12, Taylor Adkins 5.

Houston (58) — Melisa Carter 4, Shaela Gardner 7, Madison Griggs 10, Jayla Hemingway 14, Sammiyah Hoskin 3, Rochelle Lee 4, Shannon Sharp 3, Destinee Wells 13.


Despite a rare off night from senior star Myah Taylor, Olive Branch will be playing in its third MHSAA 6A state championship game in the last four years.

The Quistors (31-1) forced 22 turnovers and dominated on the glass in a 61-47 victory over Jackson Murrah at the Jackson Coliseum. The victory sends Olive Branch — ranked 19th in the nation according to USA Today — into Saturday's 6 p.m. championship game.

Mahogany Vaught had 23 to lead Olive Branch. Katie Blackmon grabbed 21 rebounds and almost out-rebounded Murrah by herself; Olive Branch won that battle 44-22.

Taylor, a Mississippi State signee and two-time Best of the Preps player of the year, had 12 on just 4 of 17 shooting. Olive Branch rallied in the second half after trailing 26-21 at halftime.

"I don't have to score because I know my teammates have my back," she told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "I continued to encourage my teammates that the game wasn't over and you see what the results were."

Murrah (45) — Jessica Almons 9, Regina Sampson 3, Keimoya Walker 15, Kasey Bradford 8, Nya Irvin 2, Zephorah Jones 8.

Olive Branch (62) — Katie Blackmon 11, En’dya Buford 10, Marika Owens 4, Sarena Shipp 2, Myah Taylor 12, Mahogany Vaught 23.

Central tops Oak Ridge in AAA girls state quarterfinals

image and article from Commercial Appeal

Central girls basketball coach Rashad Haynes says that when Johne' Stewart is hitting shots "she's the golden child."

Stewart and all the Lady Warriors were good as gold Wednesday at the Murphy Center.

The 5-8 junior poured in 31 points and was part of a ferocious defensive effort as Central defeated Oak Ridge, 74-63, in the quarterfinals of the AAA girls state tournament. The victory sends the Lady Warriors (29-6) into a 10 a.m. semifinal Friday against Dickson County. The winner of that one will play for the state title Saturday at 1 p.m.

"The key for Johne' is her defensive responsibilities," said Haynes, whose team is in the semis for the second straight season. "The players have a lot of freedom offensively as long as they stick to their defensive assignments. Our mindset is to identify ourselves regardless of who we're playing.

"If we're able to play the way we're capable of and to our strengths, I felt we could be successful."

Mission accomplished.

Central forced the pace from the outset and successfully created turnovers, leading to several easy buckets in transition that helped shake off some of the pre-game jitters.

"Some of them were kind of bug-eyed," said Haynes.

Oak Ridge finished with 21 turnovers, compared to just eight for the Lady Warriors.

"That was definitely part of it," said Wildcats coach Paige Redman. "I'd be a fool to sit here and say that wasn't a big part of it."

Said Haynes of his team's constant pressure on the defensive end, "You can prepare for it but it's nothing like until you see it and actually have to go through it."

Oak Ridge had no answer for Stewart either, who scored 24 points in the first half to help Central build a 41-29 lead at halftime. She finished 10 of 20 from the floor and 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, hitting 5 of 6 in the final minute to keep Oak Ridge at arms length after the Wildcats had closed to within 7 with 1:17 to go.

"I had to step up," Stewart said. "I had an offensive assignment and a defensive assignment but mainly that was my goal, to step up."

Others did as well. Kynadi Kuykendoll hit two 3-pointers to fuel Central's decisive second quarter and finished with 10 rebounds as well. And Bionka Massie — the lone senior on the roster — took over for Stewart in the second half, scoring 14 of her 16 points.

"It was as important as having five players on the floor," said Haynes of Massie's contribution off the bench. "It allowed us to maintain (the advantage)."

Oak Ridge, last year's state runner-up, ends the season 30-4. Desiree Bates led the Wildcats with 20 while Courtney Ellison and Mykia Dowdell contributed 14 and 13 respectively.

Oak Ridge (63) — Courtney Ellison 14, Jada Guinn 4, Destiny Kassner 8, Jaymi Golden 4, Mykia Dowdell 13, Desiree Bates 20.
Central (74) — Brianna Cooks 9, Brittney Ivory 4, Kynadi Kuykendoll 8, Ariel Lane 2, Bionka Massie 16, Johne’ Stewart 31, Jireh Washington 4.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Briarcrest girls fall to Brentwood Aca. at State Tournament

article and image from Commercial Appeal

Briarcrest's Savanna Owens (23) starts the fast break during Thursday's Division II-AA semifinal at Lipscomb's Allen Arena.
Longtime Briarcrest coach Lee Smith said this year's team was the youngest he's ever had. The Saints showed their age on the big stage Thursday.

Brentwood Academy took any suspense out of the game early, taking control of the game with a 16-3 run in the first quarter before winning 66-37 in the Division 2-AA girls semifinals at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena. The Eagles (25-6) will go for their fourth straight championship Saturday at 1 p.m. against Ensworth, which eliminated Father Ryan in the other semifinal.

For the Saints, who end the season 22-9, it will be another long ride back to Memphis after a disappointing state tournament appearance. One of Shelby County's most consistent programs, Briarcrest has advanced to the final four in seven of the last eight years, finishing runner-up three times and losing four times in the semis. Four times, they've had their season ended by Brentwood Academy.

But while those teams were laden with veteran standouts, this year's roster features only one senior, Morgan Hunt, who finished with four points.

"We have some good eighth-graders coming up so I'm optimistic," said Smith. "I feel really good about the future ... We just kind of got away from who we are. Not to discredit them, though; they're a very good team."

Briarcrest led 6-5 before the Eagles went on their decisive run to take a 21-8 lead after the first eight minutes. The Saints were never able to get it under double figures after that.

There were several issues. The Saints committed 25 turnovers and lost the rebounding battle 38-22. Briarcrest shot 34.1 percent from the floor (14 of 41) while Brentwood Academy connected on almost 50 percent of its attempts.

"Poor decision-making," said Savanna Owens. "And when you get behind against a team like that ... it's hard to dig yourself out."

Added Smith, "Offensively, I thought that we didn't panic. We knew what we wanted ... but we allowed one or two turnovers to get to us and we never did get ourselves settled down. I called two timeouts early in the first quarter trying to get us settled but we never got on track.

"And they killed us on the boards."

Owens, a junior, turned in a strong performance with 18 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the floor (2 of 6 from behind the arc). No other Saint reached double-digits though.

The Eagles got excellent balance, led by 14 from Maggie Brown. Kathryn Stockhoff scored 11 while Blair Schoenwald and Kallie Searcy added 10 apiece.

Northpoints Lindsey Whiteside, Ashtyn Baker talk about their win in TSSAA Division 2-A State Semifinals

Girls Basketball Scores - March 4, 2016

From Commercial Appeal

Central (54) — Eva Bailey 3, Brianna Cooks 12, Kynadi Kuykendoll 11, Ariel Lane 8, Johne’ Stewart 13, Jireh Washington 7.
Munford (29) — Gabby Crawford 10, Ali Gover 7, Shania Johnson 3, Johnna Jones 7, Kennisha Mason 2.
Records — Central 28-6, Munford 27-7.

Arlington (52) — Karlee Bates 4, Sarah Grandberry 11, Christina Nichols 4, Nya Stewart 2, Lanetta Williams 14, Caitlyn Wilson 17.
Houston (56) — Shaela Gardner 8, Madison Griggs 11, Jayla Hemingway 13, Sammiyah Hoskin 4, Rochelle Lee 2, Shannon Sharp 3, Destinee Wells 15.
Records — Houston 27-3.

Jim Hill (58) — Nakeisha Holcomb 9, Antionette Womack 19, Deandria Barnes 3, Sabrina White 2, Ladedra Bryant 7, Lakala Thornton 6, Truth Taylor 7, O. Olateru-Olagbegi 1, De’Aisha Herring 4.
Olive Branch (86) — Katie Blackmon 11, En’dya Buford 15, Dasia Harden 2, Dallas Hullett 2, Sarena Shipp 11, Myah Taylor 22, Mahogany Vaught 11, Sarah Cararas 2, Tyriana Gilbert 2, Taylor Woodhouse 8.
Records — Jim Hill 26-6, Olive Branch 31-1.

Girls Basketball Scores - March 1, 2016

from Commercial Appeal

Arlington (47) — Karlee Bates 6, Sarah Grandberry 5, Christina Nichols 9, Nya Stewart 6, Lanetta Williams 6, Caitlyn Wilson 15.
Munford (56) — Gabby Crawford 23, Ali Gover 5, Shania Johnson 2, Johnna Jones 19, Kennisha Mason 7.
Records — Arlington 24-9.
Central (54) — Brianna Cooks 27, Kailyn Downs 1, Brittney Ivory 2, Kynadi Kuykendoll 2, Bionka Massie 1, Johne’ Stewart 13, Jireh Washington 8.
Houston (61) — Shaela Gardner 3, Madison Griggs 13, Jayla Hemingway 17, Sammiyah Hoskin 4, Rochelle Lee 2, Destinee Wells 22.
Records — Central 27-6, Houston 26-3.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Best of West Middle School Girls Exposure Camp - March 4, 2017


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Jasmine Joyner (Southaven) Named SoCon Defensive Player of the Year

Read entire Chattanooga Womens Basketball Story

Myah Taylor, Clarion-Ledger Athlete of the Week

Myah Taylor

Olive Branch / basketball

By the numbers: She had 20 points, 9 steals, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in Olive Branch’s win over Warren Central, sending it to the MHSAA Class 6A quarterfinals.

Coach speak: “She was a fearless competitor on both ends of the court this weekend. She loves to play the game, and at a high level, since she was in middle school,” coach Jason Thompson said.

For the record: Taylor is a five-star signee with Mississippi State.

Birth date: June 4, 1999

Favorite athlete: Chris Paul

Favorite team: Mississippi State

Favorite TV show: Spongebob Squarepants

Favorite movie: Beyond the Lights

Dream vacation spot: Bahamas

Dream job: Wants to graduate with an engineering degree and help lead Mississippi State to the Final Four.