Top 10 sports stories for 2016
By Andy Southard | December 29, 2016 6:45 am
Last Updated: December 29, 2016 at 6:49 am
As I was trying to decide what I was going to write about this Thursday, I thought I would make a Top 10 list of the best sports stories that happened in 2016.
(1) The loss of a legendary sports icon and friend
On November 29th, we lost one of the biggest sports icons and mentors this town has ever known. Tammy “Pistol” Wilhite, was a great friend, mentor, and teacher to so many people in White County. Pistol taught me more about sports and life than I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was a mentor to me and so many other people in this town, and she loved everybody that lived in White County. Pistol took me under her wing four years ago before a football jamboree. She let me help her that year track tackles, and that was when everything started. Pistol and I went to college and high school basketball games, college and high school football games, she was at as many baseball games as she could be and we even went to quite a few volleyball games together. Normally if sports were going on that dealt with White County, Pistol and I were going to make an appearance at that game. I’m glad that I got to spend so much time with Pistol and the impact that she had on my life will shape me into the person and sports writer that I plan on becoming.
(2) Warriors break state record for 3’s in a season
During basketball season last year, there was one thing that everybody knew was going to happen: The Warriors were going to shoot a lot of 3’s and make a lot of 3’s. Last year the Warriors were able to break a state record for most 3 pointers in a season. On February 20th, at the 4:08 mark, Cade Crosland Was able to find some open space and hit a 3-point shot to give the Warriors the magic number of 345. A little bit earlier in the game, Jacob Fresh tied the mark.
(3) VBHS Eagles make it to Final Four of state tournament
In 2015 The VBHS Eagles made it to the State tournament for the first time, they would end up losing in the first round of the tournament. This year they went back to the state tournament and the Eagles would get their first ever win at the State Tournament with a 64-60 victory over Knoxville Grace Christian. The Eagles were one game away for the championship game and would end up losing to Booker T. Washington. In the semifinal game but each year, the Eagles have made it a little bit farther than the year before.
(4) VBHS Eaglettes make it to the State Tournament
The Van Buren County High School Eaglettes basketball team made their first ever trip to the TSSAA state tournament. The Eaglettes, despite playing a hard-fought battle, were defeated 70-66 by Gibson County in overtime. The loss ended the Van Buren girls’ season at 28-5. Lakelyn Bouldin finished out her career with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
(5) Warriors finish season undefeated
The Warriors who had just moved up to #2 in the state rankings earlier in the day were able to defeat Lebanon 82-71 to finish the regular season at 26-0. The Warriors would go on and win the District Tournament but be defeated in the Region Semifinals.
(6) Warriors break state record for 3’s in a game
The Warriors rained threes at Rhea County on Monday’s during the 107-75 victory. WCHS hit 31 out of 68 three-pointers in the contest. That shattered the old state record (25) of most made three-pointers in a single game. Pierce Whited tallied eight on the way to 24 points. Jacob Fresh hit seven and added 23 points. Ten different players hit at least one three for the Warriors, who improved to 24-0.
(7) Bouldin named Miss Basketball
Two years in a row VBHS Lakelyn Bouldin was named a finalist for Class A Miss Basketball. Lakelyn who had already signed with UT-Chattanooga at the time was one of three girls in Class A up for the award. The other girls up for the Class A award was Taylor Lamb (South Greene) and Ashlynd Wilkerson (MTCS). A statewide committee of sportswriters selects winners based on performance during the 2015-2016 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration. High school head basketball coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists.
(8) Crosland is headed back to state
Cole Crosland made it to the state tournament for the second year in a row. Crosland would end up losing in the first round of the tournament to the eventual state champion Sam Fischer, from Brentwood High School. Crosland is the first WCHS tennis player in school history to compete in two state tournaments. Both times he has been in the state tournament he has had to face off against the state finalist in the first round of the tournament.
(9) England earns a trip to state
Jade England had never thrown a shot put competitively when the WCHS track and field team began their season in March. But in May, the WCHS sophomore finished the season 11th in Class #A in the state of Tennessee and now holds the school record. England stood toe to toe with some of the strongest female athletes in the state of Tennessee and showed that she belonged. There were 16 athletes in the field. England’s best throw at the event was 33-07.00. That throw was good for third in her heat but did not put her in the top nine.
(10) Lowery tabbed as new Warrior football coach
Over the last 30 years, the White County High School football team has had ten different head football coaches and one of the biggest concerns during that period has been that the program could get no consistency because there was no longevity at the helm.
The longest stay during that time was five years, and the shortest was one season. A lot of fans of the program felt that a local person could remedy that problem.
When the new Warrior football coach was announced to the team on Wednesday, that concern was answered.
Jerry Lowery, a lifelong resident of White County, was introduced as the newest head coach of the Warrior football team.
Lowery has been a part of the White County school system for a great deal of his life. A 1976 graduate of White County High School, Lowery wore the maroon and gray uniform of the Warrior football team playing for Coach Dee Harris. Both sons, Josh and Caleb, played for the Warriors and he has also coached in the Warrior program at both the middle school and the high school. His wife, Tracey, is also a WCHS graduate and is the librarian at White County Middle School. She was a Warrior cheerleader during her high school days.
As Lowery assumes the reins of the team, he will be the first WCHS graduate to be the head coach of the Warriors since Donnie Farley, who was head mentor of the program, 1980-85.