Top 10 prep sports moments of 2011-12

Top 10 prep sports moments of 2011-12


Top 10 prep sports moments of 2011-12



Ten moments.

In Rutherford County it’s hard to pick just 10 moments that stood out during the 2011-12 school year in regard to high school athletics.

This past year has been full of achievements. There have been state champions (one team and seven individual). There have been runners-up.

There have been Cinderella runs, history-making achievements and magical nights in the athletic arena.

And, of course, there has been heartbreak.

Here are The Daily News Journal’s top 10 high school sports moments of the 2011-12 school year.

1. Best of field

Five teams were ranked in the top 50 in the country in the toughest Tennessee high school girls basketball tournament ever.

And Riverdale stood above the rest of the field when the final buzzer sounded on March 10.

Riverdale won its third state title — and second in three years — with a 70-55 win over previously unbeaten Science Hill in March behind the effort of Georgia signee Shacobia Barbee, who was awarded her second straight Class AAA Miss Basketball Award afterward.

Riverdale finished 34-3 for the season and ended fifth nationally in the final ESPN Hoopgurlz Fab 50. All three losses came to teams ranked in the poll at some point in the season.

2. Mathers adds to lore

The toe wasn’t close to 100 percent. It didn’t matter because Blackman senior I’Tavius Mathers had nine others that were just fine.

The Ole Miss signee rushed for a career-high 349 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns to lead the Blaze to a 41-38 nail-biting win over Farragut on Nov. 4 in the opening round of the Class 6A football playoffs. The win came three weeks after Mathers had severely sprained his left big toe in the regular season. Mathers had touchdown runs of 80, 8, 87, 3 and 7 against Farragut to put him over 2,200 for the season.

3. Squeezed out

Riverdale made school history when its baseball program won its first game in the state tournament on May 23. However, one play a game later topped it.

Riverdale ended four-time defending state champion Farragut’s season when freshman Drew Huff’s squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh scored Thomas Bradey from third to give the Warriors a 5-4 win. The winning run was one of two scored off Farragut closer A.J. Simcox, a Tennessee signee. The two runs were the only two Simcox gave up all season.

4. Baker’s big day

Brock Baker finally won a state title this year. And he won a second for good measure. After suffering his share of heartbreak and frustration over the last year, Baker won the 1,600 and 3,200 state titles in the Class AAA track and field state championships on May 25 during the recent BlueCross Spring Fling.

His victories came after he was chased down in the final moments of the 3,200 and settled for second in 2011. And he collapsed during the 2011 state cross country championships about 800 meters from not only a championship, but a state record.

Baker took his time in the 3,200 before taking off from the rest of the field, winning in 9:18.20, which was more than four seconds faster than second place. About nine hours later, he won the 1,600 in 4:15.10, which was nearly two seconds faster than second.

5. Blaze make hoops history

In a postseason of buzzer beaters, Blackman’s final postseason win was the most memorable .

Darius Thompson hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to give the Blaze a 38-36 Class AAA sectional win over Bradley Central to reach the program’s first state tournament. The two free throws came after Bradley’s Miles Morgan was called for a technical foul for using profanity.

6. Boles breaks barrier

Siegel junior Ashlee Boles made Rutherford County history on the final day of Spring Fling with a landmark tennis win on May 25.

Boles whipped Dobyns-Bennett’s Josie Rogers 6-0, 6-2 in the Class AAA girls singles championship. The state championship was the first by a Rutherford County girls tennis player. It came three days after Rogers had defeated Boles in straight sets in Siegel’s team loss in the state semifinals.

7. Field of gold

Rutherford County may have exceeded expectations in 2012 in track and field. The county had three state track and field champions in field events alone. La Vergne throwers Alex Young (shot put) and Marcus Franklin (discus) showed they were the best in Class AAA on May 25.

That came a day after Eagleville’s Becca Browning won the Class A/AA high jump title after three straight state runner-up finishes.

8. Eagles soar to finals

The third time was definitely the charm for Eagleville’s baseball team. Eagleville reach the finals of the Class A state tournament in the Eagle’s third straight state tournament appearance before falling 8-1 to three-time defending state champion Decatur County Riverside on May 25.

Eagleville had to fight through the District 9-A tournament to advance in the postseason after falling to Cascade in its first postseason game. But the Eagles rolled through the region and into state.

9. Warriors have heart

A year after its heart was questioned, Riverdale took care of business, beating Oak Ridge 35-10 on Nov. 18 in the Class 6A football quarterfinals. Oak Ridge had defeated the Warriors a year prior in the same round and questioned Riverdale’s heart after the game.

Riverdale’s defense held the Wildcats to just 121 total yards and picked off four passes in one of its best performances of the year to improve to 13-0.

10. Eagles stay perfect

You know you have reached the big time when a country music star sings the national anthem.

Trace Adkins sang the national anthem, and an Eagleville football team that was plus-21 in the turnover ratio stayed undefeated in the most memorable season in school history on Nov. 11.

Eagleville defeated Columbia Academy 21-7 to improve to 11-0 and reach the Class 1A state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

Honorable mention

Marathon game: It’s a game that started on one day and finished the other. Blackman and Smyrna played 17 innings on April 17 in a game that finished on the 18th at Smyrna High. Blackman won 7-5.

Tiger runner: Andre Hillsman had a busy day at the Class A/AA state meet. The Central Magnet sophomore finished runner-up in the 3,200, fifth in the 1,600 and ran a leg of the 4×800 relay that finished fourth.

Foreshadowing: Eagleville opened the football season with a two-overtime 28-27 thriller against Class 3A Westmoreland on Aug. 19. It set the tone for the season for the Eagles that finished 11-1 for the best record in team history.

Queen pin: La Vergne’s Keysha Martin became the first from Rutherford County to win a state individual bowling title.

Cougar history: MTCS entered the District 9-A boys basketball tournament as the sixth seed. The Cougars ended the tournament on Feb. 17 as district champions for their first title in program’s history.

Softball shocker: Oakland hadn’t defeated Riverdale in softball in nine years until April 29 when the Lady Patriots beat Riverdale 10-4 in eight innings. The District 7-AAA regular-season loss was Riverdale’s first since 2009.

Oh so close: Riverdale junior Scottie Boykin didn’t lose a match to a wrestler in his weight class all season — until the state finals. Boykin lost to Pigeon Forge’s Cody Davis 9-4 for only his second loss of the season on Feb. 18.

Setting the pace: Siegel freshman Nicole Gardner finished second in the Class AAA state cross country meet by nearly 11 seconds to McMinn County’s Haley Ward.

Back to the region: Behind District 7-AAA MVP Makenzie Prince, Smyrna’s softball team returned to the Region 4-AAA tournament for the first time since 1996 and notched only the second region berth in school history.


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