The Oneonta Redskins entered last Saturday’s Blount County Tournament championship games with a chance to win three of the four titles. Mission accomplished.
Oneonta won the B-team boys, varsity girls and varsity boys titles while Hayden won the B-team girls championship – a division in which Oneonta didn’t field a team.
Combined with the junior high sweep from the week before, Oneonta won five of the six county basketball tournament titles for 2011. Varsity Girls Oneonta 45, Hayden 44
Oneonta and Hayden had split a pair of regular season games with each winning on the other’s home floor. The finals match-up turned out to be the rubber match between the only two ranked teams in county – Oneonta came in ranked No. 7 in 4A; Hayden No. 10 in 5A.Hayden’s Krista Stricklin drilled a 3-pointer to start the game but that was all the Hayden offense could manage in the first quarter.
Oneonta got off to a decent start on offense and led 11-3 after the first quarter. Hayden came back with nine points in the second quarter but Oneonta scored 10 and the Lady Redskins led 21-12 at the half.
The first half of the third quarter belonged to Oneonta as the second-seeded Lady Redskins got balanced scoring to start the second half and led 36-19 at one point.
However, Hayden turned up the defensive pressure and forced a pair of turnovers that Stricklin converted into layups to cut the Oneonta lead to 36-21 after three quarters.
In the final period, the Lady Wildcats kept the pressure up and the Lady Redskins began to show some cracks. Hayden – behind the 13 fourth-quarter points of Stricklin – finally tied the game 44-44 with less than a minute left.
Oneonta worked the clock down before calling a timeout on the ensuing possession. Finally, with just two seconds left, Redskin freshman guard Abby Blackwood was fouled on a shot attempt. She hit the first and then deliberately missed the second so that the Lady Wildcats desperation attempt had no chance.
Hayden (18-5) got a huge game from Stricklin, who finished with a game-high 30 points (22 in the second half) and eight rebounds. Madison Durham battled foul trouble but finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Oneonta (21-4) was led by Destiney Elliott’s 19 points and 12 rebounds. Maddie Boyd added eight points and Abby Blackwood had six. Varsity Boys Oneonta 71, Cleveland 54
Two teams that rarely see each other – other than in the finals of county tournament – met up once again for the title. It was the ninth championship game appearance in a row for Oneonta and the sixth consecutive time that the Redskins and Panthers met in the finals.
The Redskins got off to a quick start and led 18-11 after one quarter. In the second quarter, the Redskin defense took over as Cleveland managed just five points and Oneonta’s 15-5 advantage in the quarter gave the top seed a 33-16 lead at the half.
Cleveland came out in the second half with a bit more fire and immediately began to attack the Redskins’ interior defense with 6’2 senior forward Thomas Horton getting four quick points.
Oneonta responded with a couple of long 3-pointers by Ryne Wester and Keenan Warren but Cleveland’s Josh Fallin began to heat up as well. The quarter ended with Oneonta still on top by 17 – 50-33 – but the Panthers seemed to have found some momentum.
In the fourth quarter, Fallin buried a couple of quick 3-pointers and 6’6 center Matt Hays converted inside and the Panthers were able to cut the Redskin lead to single digits.
However, Oneonta got a 3-pointer from James Russell and two more from Wester to extend the lead back out and the Panthers could not respond.
Cleveland (14-9) got 14 points from Fallin, 12 from Horton, and 10 from Hays.
Oneonta (19-5) got a game-high 17 from Wester and 13 from Warren. Eric NeSmith added nine points. All Tournament Teams Junior High Girls Stephanie Metzler, Appalachian; Sharley Miller, Hayden; Nisa New, Southeastern; Alysa Hathcock, Susan Moore; Heaven Randolph and Christian Fallin, Cleveland; Haley Glasscox and Jamie Gail Hudson, Locust Fork; Peyton Dempsey, Cheyenne Faber, and Meghan Claburn, J.B. Pennington; Kallie Killough, Grace Coefield, and Dynasty Sanders (MVP), Oneonta Junior High Boys Blake Gladden, Appalachian; Zack Day, Cleveland; Mauris Zamora, Southeastern; Dylan Shock and Blake Harris, J.B. Pennington; Todd Goodwin and Kolby Meacham, Locust Fork; Luke Wall, Brandon Butts, and Jackson Kirk, Hayden; Zac Dimmock, Joel Wester, Peyton Gilliland, and Xander Thomas (MVP), Oneonta B-Team Girls No report B-Team Boys (partial list) Houston Self, J.B. Pennington; Stephen Standridge, Micah Collum, and Justin Pass, Cleveland; Aaron Martin, Jonathan Butler, Hunter Gibbs, and Forrest McDonald (MVP), Oneonta Varsity Girls (partial list) Abbie Phillips, Appalachian; Jessi Holder, Cleveland; Kaylie Bullard, Susan Moore; Brandee Busenlehner and Alyson Burke, Locust Fork; Krista Stricklin, Madison Durham, and Anna Shelton, Hayden; Abby Blackwood, Charlsie Coefield, and Destiney Elliott (MVP), Oneonta Varsity Boys Jake Pettus, J.B. Pennington; Josh Holmes, Susan Moore; Jonathan Metzler, Appalachian, Seth Aderhold and Jared Hargett, Hayden; Clay Smith and Austin Burgett, Locust Fork; Chas Cornelius, Josh Fallin, and Matt Hays, Cleveland; Schyler Walker, Ryne Wester, Austin Owens, and Keenan Warren (MVP), Oneonta
This week’s schedule: Thursday, Feb. 3 Oneonta at St. Clair County (BB, VG, VB) 4:30 p.m. J.B. Pennington at West End (BB, VB) 4 p.m. Cleveland at Susan Moore ( VG, VB) 5 p.m. Victory Christian at Appalachian ( VG, VB) 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4 Hayden at Locust Fork ( VG, VB) 6 p.m. J.B. Pennington at Asbury (BG, BB, VG, VB) 4 p.m. West End at Appalachian ( VB) 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7 Oneonta at Vinemont ( VG, VB) 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8 Locust Fork at Holly Pond ( VG, VB) 6 p.m.