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Sports
Baseball Tigers open season with sweep

The Tigers opened the new season in impressive fashion by defeating Marian University, 9-1, 2-1 and 4-1 in the opening weekend series. The Tigers pitching staff was impressive all weekend only allowing one earned run while striking out 26.

Game one: Tigers 9, Marian 1

The Tigers started the year with a bang at the plate by scoring five runs in the first inning and sending nine batters to the plate. Wes Sutton led the game off with a hit by pitch and scored on a double by Hogan Townsend. Tyler Hisey singled to put runners on the corners and Collin Wheeler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Garrett Dalton making his Tiger debut was also hit by a pitch and recorded an RBI. A sacrifice fly by Jay Brown drove in the games fourth run and Nic Bain drove in the fifth run to put the Tigers in a commanding lead.

The Tigers added runs in the second, fourth, and two runs in the fifth to extend the lead.

Bryson Morgan got the game one start on the mound and didn’t disappoint. Morgan went six strong innings while striking out seven and only allowing one run (unearned). Logan Mathewson was called on to pitch the seventh and recorded two strikeouts. Morgan’s performance earned him the NCCAA National Pitcher of the Week.

Game two: Tigers 2, Marian 1

A pitcher’s duel in game two as both pitching staffs pounded the strike zone and the defenses played great fundamental baseball. Riley Turpeinen made his Tigers debut with the start in game two and went three shutout innings allowing one hit.

The Tigers got on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning with a two-out RBI single by Hisey that plated Townsend.

The Tigers bullpen was called on in the fourth inning as Walker Waters threw two innings while striking out two. The Marian offense plated a run in the fifth inning to tie the game. A double play by the Tigers wiped out the treat and left the game tied at 1-1. The Tigers plated the winning run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Collin Wheeler.

The Tigers called on Cameron Ganci in the sixth and struck out two batters before turning the seventh over to Ryan Keefe. Keefe faced just three batters and recorded his first save of the season. Ganci recorded his first win as a Tiger.

Game three:

Tigers 4, Marian 1

The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the second as Dalton doubled and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jay Brown. The Tigers plated another run in the sixth when Dalton singled to drive in CJ Huff. After a run in the top of the eighth by Marian cut the lead to 2-1, the Tigers plated two runs to extend the lead on a solo home run by Sutton and RBI sacrifice fly by Wheeler.

For the third game in a row, the pitching staff was outstanding and kept the Marian hitters off balance. Sam McMillen started and went five shutout innings. Ganci made his second appearance of the series going almost three innings while striking out three. Keefe came on to record his second save as he threw the final one and a third innings with two strikeouts.

“Our team came out focused and ready to play this weekend! We played well in all aspects of the game. Our pitching staff was outstanding, and we played very good defense with a couple of great throws from our outfielders and we turned a key double play to stop a threat in a tight ball game. Our guys had a lot of fun and played loose and it showed,” said coach Shane Gardner.


Sports
Lady Chiefs win, Chiefs fall to Greenback

SEQUOYAH LADY CHIEFS 62, GREENBACK LADY CHEROKEES 45

The game started off close between the visiting Lady Cherokees and the Lady Chiefs, but Sequoyah pulled away for a big win thanks to a dominant second quarter.

Greenback connected on all three of their first three shots from behind the 3-point arc- one by Kianna Bishop and two by Madison Powers, but Sequoyah had a response from Hanna Carroll, who sank three treys of her own in the first quarter to keep the Lady Chiefs close. In the end, it was a free throw by Mahogany Presnell that gave the Lady Cherokees the 12-11 lead after one stanza.

After trading buckets to start the second, Sequoyah still found itself trailing by 1. A surge by the Lady Chiefs quickly changed that, however. A Grace Wiggins layup ignited a 16-2 run to close out the second quarter, as Mallorie Harrell came alive. The senior nabbed a steal and turned it into a score on the other end before sinking a 3-pointer, a layup, and two free throws. Carroll added her fourth 3-pointer and Wiggins capped the run with a jumper before a Presnell layup stopped the run cold. Carroll had a response, though, swishing her fifth 3-pointer just before halftime to give the Lady Chiefs a 34-20 lead.

Sequoyah got layups from Abbey Borden and Harrell to start the second half, but from there, the Lady Chiefs went quiet. Bishop and Presnell answered with three baskets on the other end, and baskets by Anna Morris and Powers cut the lead down to 9.

Sequoyah responded with their sharpshooting, as Carroll knocked down her sixth and seventh treys of the night- a new record for Sequoyah- and Harrell added two layups to balloon the lead back to 20 at the end of the third quarter.

Fouls continued to mount for Sequoyah in the fourth quarter, and it sent the Lady Cherokees to the free throw line again and again. Powers and Bishop combined to make 8 free throws and combined them with a Morris layup to create a fourth-quarter run. Sequoyah responded with the starters on the bench, however, and ended the game on a 6-0 run to take the win over Greenback on Senior Night.

Carroll led Sequoyah with 22 points, while Harrell added 15 and Borden totaled 14.

GREENBACK CHEROKEES 64, SEQUOYAH CHIEFS 59

After beating Greenback on the road early in the season, Sequoyah struggled to contain scoring threats in a late-season loss to the Cherokees on Senior Night.

Darrel Bailey and Hazen Carlton provided a spark for Greenback early, recording all of their first 14 points in the first quarter as the Cherokees worked the ball inside in the paint to great success. Joe Grant answered with a layup and Trevor Stakely added a layup and John Douglas Wiggins slammed home a dunk all in quick succession to cut the lead down to three very briefly, but a Tyler Cullen 3-pointer put an end to the momentum. Trying to get it back before the break, Grant sank a long 3-pointer for Sequoyah to cut the margin to 18-12 after one quarter.

Layups by Wiggins and Ethen Bledsoe and two free throws by Grant helped the Chiefs cut the margin down to two, but thats when Holden Willis went to work with three straight layups and a free throw.

Bailey added another layup as the lead ballooned back to 29-18.

Back to back 3-pointers by Dillon Stakely added to the Sequoyah cause, and perfect trips to the free throw line by Wiggins and Gavin McKee allowed the Chiefs to crawl back into the game at 32-28 at the end of the third quarter.

A Trevor Stakely layup to start the fourth quarter cut the lead down to just two, but that’s as close as the Chiefs would get. Cullen sank two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to give the Cherokees a cushion, and layups by Dillon Stakely and Cade Self didn’t help pull the Chiefs ahead as their comeback bid fell just short.

Joe Grant and Dillon Stakely led the way for Sequoyah with 11 each. John-Douglas Wiggins and Gavin McKee added 9.


Jerry Denham | Sports Photographer 

Trey Howard and Olivia White were crowned Sequoyah High School’s Homecoming king and queen last week.


Photo courtesy of Della Williams 

Tellico Plains Jr. High’s Lady Cubs won the championship of the Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference on Tuesday at Tellico Plains Jr. High.


Photo courtesy of Della Williams 

Players wrestle for the ball in the Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference championship game. The Tellico Cubs fell short, losing to Philadelphia in the title game.


Sports
Sports Briefs

Tellico Thunder softball signups

Tellico Thunder softball will hold signups from 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 16 at Tellico Plains High School’s gymnasium. Girls ages 7-14 are eligible to play. The cost to participate is $50. First-time players need to bring a copy of their birth certificate. Parents: Uniforms will be sized at the sign-ups so please bring the players with you.

SHS cheerleading tryouts

Tryouts for Sweetwater High School's cheerleading squad will be held soon. An informational meeting for new parents and potential cheerleaders will be held 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the school's cafeteria. A tryout clinic will be held 3-4:30 p.m. March 18-19 each day in the gymnasium. Tryouts will follow on March 21 in the school gym. Cheerleaders are asked to wear blue shorts, white T-shirts and athletic shoes for tryouts. Students who are interested in cheer can pick up packets from cheer coaches and teachers Jaclyn Cleveland and Dinah Ledford.


Sports
Sweetwater flips script, takes down Walker Valley

No. 3 SWEETWATER WILDCATS 51, WALKER VALLEY MUSTANGS 45

Earlier in the season, Walker Valley handed Sweetwater an overtime loss at home, one of the Wildcats only two defeats this season. The Wildcats handled the rematch well on Thursday and held on for a big win on Walker Valley’s senior night.

Sweetwater started off strong with layups from Austin Long and Kolbe Billingsley, and Matthew Kile and Dominique Oggs quickly got on the board with layups themselves. A 3-point play from Noah Duprey and a layup by Luke Wallace helped Walker Valley cut into the lead, but a 3-pointer by Billingsley quieted the crowd.

Another shot by Long and one by Kile helped the Wildcats stay ahead, and despite another Duprey layup, the Cats led 16-10 after one quarter in what would prove to be a tough defensive battle.

The Walker Valley defense got Sweetwater out of sorts in the second quarter, and the Wildcats only points came from a layup by Oggs and a jumper by Billingsley. The rest of the quarter was controlled by the Mustangs, who got scoring from five different players including a steal and dunk by Duprey that put Walker Valley on top at halftime 21-20.

The two teams traded buckets and the lead throughout the third quarter. Billingsley sank two straight shots for Sweetwater and Long added a layup, but Wallace and Duprey on the other end matched Sweetwater shot for shot. A resounding dunk gave Duprey the go-ahead points late in the quarter, but a nearly-half court shot by Kile at the buzzer fell true for the Wildcats, handing them a 30-29 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.

Down by one, the Wildcats took advantage of Walker Valley fouls and converted from the free throw line to take the lead. Alex Duke and Blake Campbell sank shots for the Mustangs to keep the game close in the final minutes, but a 3-point play from Billingsley and a layup by Oggs helped extend the Sweetwater lead to 44-40. Oggs made another shot, however, and with one minute remaining he stole the ball from the Mustangs and converted on the other end to give Sweetwater a 48-42 lead. The Mustangs started fouling, and though Jordan Munck made a 3-pointer at the end of the game, it was not enough and the Wildcats escaped with a 6-point win on the road.

Kolbe Billingsley led the way with a game-high 19, and Dominique Oggs added 13. Noah Duprey was the only Mustang in double figures with 15.

WALKER VALLEY LADY MUSTANGS 41, SWEETWATER LADY CATS 39, OT

Early 3-pointers by Laney Harris and Mauren Baker helped Walker Valley out to a hot start, but the Lady Cats hung tough with layups from Madison Robinson and Mikalee Martin. A free throw to end the first period gave Walker Valley the 9-6 lead early.

Sweetwater briefly claimed the lead on baskets by Trinity Upton and Martin, and held the lead with a layup by Abbey Barr, but the Lady Mustangs had an answer. Madison Rue put in two straight shots and Harris sank another 3-pointer to give Walker Valley the 18-13 lead after the first half.

Walker Valley came out with new fire in the second half. The Lady Mustangs limited Sweetwater to one field goal in the period as they continued to score. Harris added a layup and a 3-pointer and Kyndall Gibson chipped in a trey as the lead continued to grow, and Michele Benson added two layups at the end of the period to give Walker Valley its biggest lead at 33-17.

Mari Robbins opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer for Sweetwater, and Barr added a layup before Robbins chipped in two free throws. Just like that, the lead was down to 9.

Barr and Robbins converted from the free throw stripe to cut even deeper into the lead, and Robinson added back-to-back layups and two free throws.

Despite the surge, Sweetwater still found itself down by two with only 8.5 seconds remaining. Robinson answered the call and found the net, tying the game and sending it into overtime.

A Harris 3-pointer opened the extra period, and Sweetwater never seemed to recover. Barr cut the lead down to 1 with two free throws, but with time remaining, Sweetwater was forced to foul. With a chance to tie and possibly force double overtime, the Lady Cats got one last shot, but none of their efforts found the net and the Lady Mustangs took the close win on their home court.

Robinson led Sweetwater with 9 while Harris led Walker Valley with 17.