2017-2018 school year in sports

by | May 14, 2018 9:28 am

As is always the case in White County and Van Buren County, there was plenty of sports action during the 2018-19 school year in sports.

There were team accomplishments, individual accomplishments and feel-good stories. This list spanned across several different sports and highlights some of the accomplishments of White County High School and Van Buren County High School in the sporting world as the school year comes to a close

Warriorettes’ golf team headed to state tournament for the first time

The White County High School Warriorettes’ golf team made history, on Sept. 25, 2017, when they qualified for the state tournament for the first time as a team.

The Warriorettes had a span of five straight years sending someone to the state tournament from 2010 until 2014, but the Warriorettes couldn’t do it as a team until this year.

The Warriorettes won the Girls’ Region Title by one of the biggest margins ever. The Warriorettes finished with a team total of 169.

Makenzie Morton, who finished with a score of 82, led the Warriorettes. Mackenzie Burton finished with an 87, and Ansley Phifer finished with her best round of the year, an 89.

Sequoyah, who finished in second place, shot a team total of 181. Cleveland shot a 184 and Walker Valley finished with a 185. Cookeville finished in fifth place with a total of 196, with Soddy-Daisy rounding out the field with a 208.

After the match coach Eric Mitchell had this to say about the Warriorettes.

“This is the first time we’ve ever been to the state as a team, and that is awesome because we’ve made history today, and we’re going to the state,” he said. “You never know what can happen once you get there.”

Cross-Country season comes to an end in state meet

The 2017 cross country season came to an end this past Saturday in the state meet for both the White County and Van Buren County high school teams.

Both teams had runners travel to Nashville to compete in their respective state meets.

For WCHS, Evan Welch was the only runner to qualify for the Large School Division State Meet. Welch, a freshman, held her own throughout the meet and finished in 23rd place out of 192 runners. Welch finished with a time of 19:57.

After the race, Coach Mark Voyles had this to say about Welch.

“Evan had to battle early in the race even at the start,” he said. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving to get out, but she did a great job. She was in the top 10 early in the race, but she got worried she was running too fast. She eased up a little but held on gamely. She ran a good race for her first-ever running on the state course.”

For VBHS, the boys’ teams finished in 22nd place overall. Gavin Jaffre was the top finisher for VBHS, finishing in 42nd place out of 179 runners. Jaffre finished with a time of 19:50. Coming in next was Gabe Farless. Farless finished with a time of 22:21. The next finisher was Brennon Blanton. Blanton finished in a time of 24:02. Jaedyn Walling finished right behind Blanton, with a time of 24:40. Brandon Skiles finished next, with a time of 25:06, and rounding out VBHS runners was Simon Boyd, who finished in a time of 32:16.

Warriorettes shoot the lights out in Maryland

Last week, the Warriorettes traveled to Silver Springs, Maryland, for the Ed McGeogh Holiday Christmas Tournament. To say the Warriorettes had a good showing in Maryland would be an understatement. White County High School was leading 70-20 in the third quarter, with 1:29 left in the quarter, over the host school, Springbrook High School Lady Blue Devils, when the lights went off. A fuse blew, and there was about a 30-minute delay before they could get the lights back on. After the lights came back on, the Warriorettes would close out the victory, with an 87-33 win.

The Warriorettes would get into the championship game with a 66-53 win over the St. Charles Lady Spartans.

In the semifinals, with the Warriorettes trailing 8-7 and 4:20 left in the first quarter, the Warriorettes would close out the quarter on an 18-7 run to take a 25-15 lead. Gracie Dodgen and Kanden Reeves would knock down back-to-back 3’s to give the Warriorettes a 13-8 lead, with 3:34 left in the quarter. After a basket by the Lady Spartans, Julia Curtis would knock down a layup to give the Warriorettes a 15-10 lead. On the Lady Spartans’ next play, they would get a 3-point play to cut the Warriorettes’ lead down to 2. However, the Warriorettes would get three offensive rebounds on their next offensive set, and Reeves would knock down a 3 to push the Warriorettes’ lead to 18-13, with 1:54 left in the first quarter. St. Charles would get another basket to cut the Warriorettes’ lead to 3, but the Warriorettes would answer back with a 3 by Dodgen and back-to-back baskets by Hannah Leftwich to push the Warriorettes’ lead to 25-15 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, St. Charles would get the quarter started with a basket to cut the Warriorettes’ lead to 8, but the Warriorettes would answer back with a pair of free throws from Lauren Turner and an offensive rebound putback by Leftwich to push their lead to 29-17, with 4:44 left in the half. The Lady Spartans would then get another basket to cut the Warriorettes’ lead back to 10, but the Warriorettes would answer with a layup by Curtis and a pair of free throws by Leftwich to extend their lead out to 33-19, with 3:24 left in the half. St. Charles would cut the Warriorettes’ lead back down to 12 on a basket at the 3:06 mark. However, the Warriorettes would put together 6 straight points from Leftwich, Reeves, and Mia Murray to push their lead to 39-21, with 23 seconds left in the half. The Lady Spartans, though, would close out the half with a basket, but the Warriorettes would lead 39-23 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Lady Spartans would start off the quarter on a 9-3 run to cut the Warriorettes’ lead down to 10 at 42-32. However, the Warriorettes would answer back with an 8-1 run of their own. The Warriorettes would get back-to-back baskets from Turner, and then Kendreah Reeves would knock down a free throw to push the Warriorettes lead to 47-32, with 3:21 remaining in the quarter. After a free throw from St. Charles, Kanden Reeves would knock down a 3 to push the Warriorettes’ lead to 50-33, with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter. St. Charles would answer with the next 5 points to cut the Warriorettes’ lead to 50-38. However, Kanden Reeves would close out the third quarter with a 3 to give the Warriorettes a 53-38 lead heading into the final quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, the Warriorettes would open the quarter on a 7-2 run. Kendreah Reeves knocked down a 3 to open the quarter and push the Warriorettes’ lead to 56-38. After a basket by the Lady Spartans, the Warriorettes would get back-to-back baskets from Leftwich and Dodgen to push their lead to 60-40, with 5:43 left in the game. St. Charles would close out the game on a 13-6 run, but the Warriorettes would win by a final score of 66-53.

In the championship game, the Warriorettes would use their defensive pressure to turn turnovers into points. The Warriorettes forced Springbrook High School to turn the ball over 27 times, and 23 of those turnovers where steals. The Warriorettes would trail to start the game after Springbrook knocked down a pair of free throws to take a 2-0 lead, with 7:31 left in the game. The Warriorettes would answer, though, with a basket from Curtis and Kanden Reeves to take a 4-2 lead. After a basket by the Lady Blue Devils tied the game at 4-4, with 6:07 left in the first quarter, the Warriorettes would end the quarter on a 22-2 run. Kanden Reeves would get it going with a 3. Dodgen would then knock down a couple of layups to push the Warriorettes’ lead to 11-4. Mia Murray would then get her day started with a pair of free throws, and Dodgen would get a 3 to make it 16-4, with 2:52 left in the quarter. After back-to-back baskets from Leftwich and Kendreah Reeves made it 20-4, Springbrook would get their final basket of the quarter to make it 20-6, with 1:40 left in the game. The Warriorettes would get baskets from Leftwich and Paige Parker and a pair of free throws from Murray to extend their lead to 28-6 heading into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Dodgen would get the Warriorettes rolling with a 3 to push their lead 31-6. Then Leftwich and Curtis would both get a layup to extend the Warriorettes lead to 35-6. Leftwich would then get another basket at the 6:25 mark to give the Warriorettes a 37-6 lead. After a free throw from Springbrook, the Warriorettes would answer back with baskets from Murray and Turner to push their lead to 43-7, with 4:32 remaining in half. Springbrook would respond, though, with a pair of free throws to cut the Warriorettes’ lead to 43-9. However, the Warriorettes would get 5 straight points from Dodgen to extend their lead to 48-9, with 2:54 remaining in the half. The Warriorettes would close out the half on an 8-6 run and lead 56-15 heading into the locker room. The Warriorettes would get a 3 from Saige Johnson and Parker and a basket from Megan Sparkman to close out the half.

In the second half, the Warriorettes would pick up right where they left off. Leftwich would get the quarter going with a basket, and she would be fouled on the play. She would knock down her free throw to give the Warriorettes a 59-15 lead. On the Warriorettes’ next possession, Dodgen would knock down a 3 to push the Warriorettes’ lead to 62-15. After a pair of free throws from the Lady Spartans, Dodgen would answer with 5 straight points to give the Warriorettes a 67-17 lead, with 5:22 remaining in the game. On Springbrook’s next possession, they would knock down a 3, but Curtis would answer for the Warriorettes with a 3 of her own to give the Warriorettes a 70-20 lead, with 4:07 remaining in the game. Over the next 2:38, neither team could find a basket, but at the 1:29 mark, the lights would suddenly shut off. After about a 30-minute delay, the lights would come back on, and the Warriorettes would be outscored 13-12, but the Warriorettes would pull out the win 87-33.

After the tournament, Dodgen and Leftwich would be named to the All-Tournament team.

After the tournament, Head Coach Michael Dodgen had this to say about his team.

“Overall, it was a good tournament for us,” he said. “I feel like we played very well in situations in both games. We were able to execute offensively very well, and sometimes that happens when you play teams that are not familiar with you. We have a couple more games after this tournament where we can continue to work on some things, and then it gets down to district play. The trip, as a whole, though, was a good one, with us winning games, and the players got to see our nation’s capital.”

With the wins, the Warriorettes close out the 2017 portion of their season with a 12-3 record.

Warriors earn spot in District 6AAA title game

When two rivals meet, no one can ever predict the outcome.

That was definitely the case for the Warriors and Cavaliers basketball game, on Saturday night, at Rhea County High School. The Warriors came into the matchup as the number five seed but had won their last three games, and Cookeville came into the game as the number one seed. It took a full 32 minutes and an extra 4 minutes to decide a winner, but the Warriors pulled out the 59-51 win, earning a spot in the title game, on Tuesday night, against Stone Memorial, at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT. The win also secured a home region game, on Saturday night, for the Warriors.

Saturday’s semifinal game saw the Warriors fall behind after leading for most of the game, but the Warriors would hit a layup at the buzzer to force overtime, and, in the end, the Warriors won the game and will play for their fourth straight district title, on Tuesday night.

The Warriors would get their shot at Cookeville, on Saturday night, by picking up a buzzer beater win, on Friday night, against Rhea County. The Warriors would trail Rhea County by 5, with 1:34 remaining in the game, but the Eagles would miss the front end of the one and one free throw three straight times to give the Warriors a chance. Freshman Grant Slatten would score the final 9 points for the Warriors to provide them with the 52-49 win over the Eagles and put them in the semifinals.

On Saturday night, the Warriors took an early 4-0 lead on the Cavs, with back-to-back baskets from David Kinser. After a 3 by Cookeville cut the lead to 1, Micah Webster would hit a free throw line jumper to put the Warriors up 6-3. The Cavs would get another 3 to tie the game up at 6-6, though. However, the Warriors would get a layup from Masyn Winningham and Kinser to put the Warriors up 10-6, with 4:07 remaining in the game. Cookeville and the Warriors would trade baskets over the final 3:37 remaining in the half, and the Cavs would hit a 3 before the quarter ended, but the Warriors would lead 14-13 heading into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Cookeville would get their first lead of the game at the start of the quarter after hitting a layup to make it 15-14, but that lead was short-lived, as Winningham would knock down a 3 to put the Warriors up 17-15, with 7:05 remaining in the half. After 4 straight points by Cookeville gave them the lead at 17-19, the Warriors would score the next 7 points to take a 24-19 lead, with 51 seconds remaining in the half. Cookeville would hit a 3 to close out the quarter, but the Warriors would lead 24-22 at the half.

After halftime, the Warriors would come out and score the first 4 points of the quarter on a 3 from Webster and a free throw by Winningham to push the Warriors’ lead to 28-22. After a basket by Cookeville cut the Warriors’ lead to 4, Dyson Reece would hit a 3, and Kinser would get a layup to push the Warriors’ lead to 33-24, with 5:29 remaining in the game. However, Cookeville would close out the quarter on a 12-7 run, but the Warriors still led the Cavaliers 40-36 heading into the final quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, the Warriors would get a layup from Slatten at the 5:56 mark to push their lead to 42-36, but Cookeville would score the next 7 points to take a 1-point lead. The Warriors would get a free throw from Kinser to tie the game up at 2:08, but a pair of free throws by Cookeville would give them a 2-point lead, with 1:51 remaining in the game. The Warriors’ Reece would answer, though, draining a 3 on the next Warriors’ possession, with 1:42 remaining in the game, to give the Warriors a 46-45 lead. However, Cookeville would match the Warriors’ 3 to push their lead to 1:03 remaining in the game. Cookeville would then have two shots to put the game away but would miss the front end of a one and one, and the Warriors would have the ball, throwing it in on the sideline even with the free throw line, with 3.2 seconds remaining and down by two. Reece would throw the ball into Winningham as he was sprinting up the sideline. Winningham would catch the ball and rush to the other end of the court and hit a layup as the buzzer would sound to tie the game up at 48-48 to force overtime.

In overtime, the Warriors would get a quick bucket from Reece to take a 50-48 lead, with 3:23 remaining in the game, but Cookeville would answer to tie the game up at 50-50. Neither team could find a basket over the next 2 minutes to break the tie, but with 1:09 remaining in the overtime period, Winningham would pull up from behind the arc and drain a 3 to give the Warriors a 53-50 lead. The Warriors would close out the game going six of nine from the free throw line, and the Cavs would only get a free throw to give the Warriors a 59-51 win.

Winningham led the Warriors, on Saturday night. He finished the game with 21 points. Kinser and Reece joined him in double figures, with Kinser finishing with 12 points and Reece with 10 points.

The Warriors shot 51 percent, on Saturday night, going 13 of 23 on their 2-point attempts and seven of 16 from behind the arc. The Warriors also finished 12 of 19 from the charity stripe.

The Warriors held Cookeville to 35 percent shooting on the night. The Cavs were 12 of 29 on 2-point attempts and seven of 25 on their 3-point attempts. The Cavaliers were also 6 of 12 from the free throw line.

The Cavaliers outrebounded the Warriors 29-28 and won the turnover battle as the Warriors turned the ball over 13 times to Cookeville’s 10 miscues.

Mills has a year to remember

Caden Mills, a senior at Van Buren County High School, had a year to remember on the basketball court.

Mills started the year off before his senior season even began. Mills chose to continue his playing career at Tennessee Tech University.

Mills talked a little bit about why he chose Tennessee Tech.

“The coaches at Tech have stayed in contact with me throughout the whole process and just made me feel at home anytime I was around the campus, which means a lot to my family and me,” he said.

Coach Steve Payne, TTU basketball coach, had this to say about Mills on the Tech website.

“He is a 6-6, play-anywhere kind of guy who can shoot, pass, and handle the basketball,” Payne said. “He is only going to get bigger and   stronger, and he is a sneaky athletic, so I am very excited about his future. It will be a jump from Class A to Division I basketball, but every time I see him play against strong competition, both individually, and as a team, he always performs. I think he is that type of guy, and he will figure out how to be successful at all times.”

Mills would then become the 22nd player in Tennessee High School basketball history to ever score 3,000 points. Mills would finish his careers with the 13th most points in the Boy’s TSSAA history with 3,166 points. Mills would also finish his career with 912 rebounds and 307 steals.

On March 6, 2018, Mills added another achievement to his list. Mills, who is a Tennessee Tech signee, won the Class A Mr. Basketball award. Mills is the first Van Buren County boys’ basketball player to win the award and the second player from Van Buren County to win the award. Lakelyn Bouldin won the Miss Basketball award, in 2016.

Mills would close out his year by being named to the All-State team for the fourth straight time. During Mills senior season he averaged 27.9 points per game, seven rebounds per game, 3.2 assist per game, and 1.9 steals per game. He also shot a staggering 87.4 percent from the free throw line, 61.5 percent from inside the arc, and 40 percent from behind the arc.

Mills career at Van Buren County High School will go down as one of the best careers in Van Buren County and also one of the best in Tennessee High School Basketball.

WCHS archery team wins the 2018 NASP State Championship

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency hosted the National Archery in the Schools Program’s 12th annual state championships, March 28-29, in Murfreesboro.

The NASP State Championship was held at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum for the ninth consecutive year. Close to 2,000 students representing more than 130 schools competed in the tournament.

After finishing runner-up in the state last season, the White County High School archery team took that next step, on Thursday, winning the NASP state title. This is the third state title for the archery team since 2014.

Once back in the county, the championship team received a police escort back to the high school parking lot later Thursday night.

The archery team finished with a score of 3,339, with a 3,600 being the perfect score. The archery team won the tournament by nine points, beating Riverdale High School.

Cameron Dixon led the team finishing in fourth place in the high school boys’ division shooting a 289 out of 300.

Taylor Parks and Braxton Hutson also finished in the top 10 of the boys’ division, with Parks finishing with a 286, which was good enough for eighth place, and Hutson finishing with a 285, which was good enough for ninth place.

Sarah Robbins was the top shooter on the girls’ side, as she finished with a 278, which was good enough for a 13th place finish in the high school girls’ division.

The state championship and high score have now qualified the team for the NASP National Tournament that will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, in May.

WCHS Swim team wins divisional championship

The White County High School swim team put a lot of hard work in the pool this year and knew that they had a chance to make this a special year. The Warriors sent two of their swimmers to the state swim meet, with the Warriorettes sending one. The swim team found out recently that all of their hard work paid off for them as they were awarded the 2017-18 Middle Tennessee High School Swim Association Division III Combined Team Champion. This award is given out to the swim team that has the best overall year as a combined team. The WCHS swim team picked up wins in most of their meets throughout the season and was awarded for that this year.

Ken Craig, WCHS swim coach, had this to say about his team.

“The team has worked hard this season to improve on their strokes, and it paid off with a divisional championship,” said Craig. “Japheth Griggs and Tyler Vaughn were an integral part of the men’s points, and all of the women’s team contributed in some way to the overall combined team’s points. Japheth, Tyler, and Alexis Weatherly will be greatly missed next season.”

This is the first divisional championship in the WCHS swim team’s history.

Sixth Grade Warriorettes capture James C Haile Title

The White County Middle School 6th grade Warriorettes wrapped up their season, on Monday night, winning the James C. Haile State Championship. The Warriorettes defeated Upperman Middle School 27-14 in the championship game at Middle Tennessee Christian.

The Warriorettes jumped out to an early 4-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, and, in the second quarter, the Warriorettes used their defense to outscore Upperman 7-0 in the quarter. The Warriorettes would take an 11-1 lead into the locker room.

In the third quarter, the Warriorettes would increase their lead, outscoring the Lady Bees 6-4 in the quarter, and the Warriorettes would lead 17-5 heading into the final quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, the Warriorettes would outscore Upperman 10-9 and pick up the 27-14 win.

Celeste Reed led the Warriorettes with 12 points followed by Tatum Rittenberry who finished with 8. Rylee Savage netted 4. Laney Copeland tallied 2. Bradyn Taylor rounded out the scoring with 1 point.

Three Warriorettes were named to the All-Tournament team. Accepting those awards were Celeste Reed, Tatum Rittenberry, and Laney Copeland.

The sixth-grade Warriorettes finished their season with a perfect record of 12-0.

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