By Gary Robbins
The Stone Memorial Panther basketball teams hosted White County Friday night in District 6AAA action, with the Panthers defeating the Warriors 61-58, while the Lady Panthers were beaten 62-31.
SMHS 61, White County 58: A great crowd greeted the 14th ranked SMHS Panthers in their league battle with the 10th ranked Warriors. This was a great game and the crowd got their money's worth as the game went down to the wire in favor of the Panthers.
Luke Matthews was in good form, hitting back-to-back threes to open up a six-point lead for the Panthers, who needed every point to secure the victory.
The Bryan College signee hit another trey, along with Justin Simmons
to give SMHS a great first-period 27-18 lead.
Parker Hill continued to boost his team off the bench, as he hit a three-pointer to start the second period. He was three for three beyond the arc, with some timely shooting and good defense.
Tyler Yoder, who continued to lead his team in scoring, brought the crowd to their feet with highlight slam dunk in the second period over two White County defenders, after a Hill trey, led 26-22 with 5:08 left in the half.
The score was indicative of a close, tight game as Stone led 32-31 at the half.
Kordell Henderson of White County, who led all scorers with 23 points, got in foul trouble with his third foul to start the third quarter.
Yoder hit two big threes and Henderson picked up his fourth foul in the third, having to sit out several minutes.
With the scored tied at 46-46 at the start of the fourth quarter, Mitchell Ball came off the SMHS bench to hit a key trey to open the frame. Yoder followed with a trey and a lay-up to push the Panther lead to 53-46.
White County's Dalton Nash, who finished with 18 points, scored with 3:20 left to pull the visitors within two points at 54-52.
Matthews buried a big trey. After a White County score, Matthews took an inbound pass and went coast-to-coast, going strong to the rim, for a layup to give the Panthers a 59-56 lead.
Henderson used a good move down low for a basket to pull his team within one point at 59-58.
Both teams were in the bonus, and SMHS hit their free throws to win the contest. Yoder hit two free throws to make it 61-58 with 18 seconds left.
White County took possession, but was unable to get a shot off as they turned it over, giving SMHS the victory, which gave the Panthers the lead in the district at 3-0. White County, CCHS and Cookeville are all tied for second at 2-1, while both Warren County and Rhea County are 0-3.
Yoder led Stone with 21, followed by Matthews (16), Simmons (10), Hill (9), Ball (3) and Brandon Thomas (2).
The victory puts the Panthers in the league lead at 3-0, followed by White County (2-1), Cookeville (2-1), CCHS (2-1), Warren County (0-3) and Rhea County (0-3).
White County 62, Lady Panthers 31: The district match-up was well attended, as a good White County team came on the mountain and proved to be too much for the Lady Panthers beating them 62-31.
SMHS came out ready to play and seemed focused and intense to stay close, but trailed 13-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Tiffany Cokkinias hit a three to make the score 17-15 with 3:21 to go in the half, but the Lady Panthers were unable to close out the half as White County went on a 8-0 run.
Lacey Melton ended the run with a three-point play to cut the WCHS lead to 25-18. The Lady Panthers had a shot to pull with five points with 40 seconds left at 25-20, but the Lady Warriors hit a trey and two free throws to push lead to 30-20 at the break.
Abby Griffin hit a three right out of the gate to start the second half, but the Lady Panthers mustered one more point, as the White County outscored them 24-4 to swell the lead to 54-24.
The fourth period brought out the TSSAA mercy rule, when a team gets a 35 or more lead, the clock continues to run. The Lady Panthers cleared the bench and never could close the gap.
Statistical leaders for the Lady Panthers were Tiffany Cokkinias (four points, one rebound, three assists, two steals), Jordan Thompson (one assist, one steal), Kirsten Potter (two points, five rebounds, one steal), Lacey Melton (nine points, six rebounds), Riley Hunt (two rebounds, one assist), Abby Griffin (four points, two rebounds), Bailey Rutledge (seven points, four rebounds), Courtney White (two points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals), Sidney Early (two points, one rebound, one assist, two steals) and Hailey Coudriet (one point). Brittany Brun and Sam Gray also played.
After Friday's action, CCHS, Rhea County, Cookeville and White County share the district lead at 2-1, followed by Warren County (1-2) and SMHS (0-3).
The SMHS junior varsity teams also were in action Friday night.
The Lady Panthers, led by Hailey Coudriet and Brittany Brun with 10 points each, lost to the Lady Warriors 51-33. Others scoring for the Lady Panthers were Lexi Hinch (6), Sammie Jo Wyatt (3), and Sam Gray (5). Abigail Stine, Allison Padgett, Jenna Beaty, and Megan Cox also played.
The Panthers JV team also lost to White County by a score of 52-31.
Leading the scoring for the Panthers was Chandler VanNatter with 14 points. Other scorers were Austin Helton (6), Tristan Norman (5), Mason Baucum (4) and Shade Foster (2). Gage Cox, Nathaniel Sexton, Jamie Nichols, Andrew Wright, and Tanner Vincent also played in the contest.
(Editor's note: Tim Cokkinnias supplied the Lady Panther stats, while Rebecca Foster supplied the junior varsity scores.)