The 2013-'14 basketball season is over, but positive things have resulted from this year's action for both girls and boys teams from CCHS and Stone Memorial.
Lady Jet coach Radhika Miller summed up her team's success.
"This team is young and their goals are more alive than ever. At the beginning of the season, who would've thought this young team would finish 28-6 overall, 7-3 in regular season District 6 AAA, take down some powerhouses like Clarkrange and Livingston who are both playing in the state tournament, be and Midway Classic Tournament Champions," she said.
Makenzie Iles was named player of the year for the District 6AAA regular season with Destiny Carlton and Gina Dick making the All-District Team and Rebekah Teeple receiving honorable mention honors.
CCHS claimed District 6AAA Tournament champions title, with Gina Dick District 6AAA Tournament MVP and Iles, Carlton, and Teeple being named to the District Tournament All-Tournament Team.
As Region 3AAA runners-up, Dick, Iles and Carlton were named to the All-Region Tournament Team.
"For this team to play in the Sectionals vs. the #1 team in the nation was great. Wow! What a Season! What's next for the Lady Jets," added Miller.
"Our players will be joining their AAU travel teams to continue playing and competing. Most importantly, we will all take some time to enjoy the comfort and love of our family and friends. This has been a great season for the 2013-2014 Lady Jet Basketball Team and we have been going hard since November and working hard since last spring.
"We have so much to be thankful for and we have been truly blessed this season. Our team has witnessed, first hand, the results of hard-work, commitment, dedication, and teamwork. Their success is reflective of their motivation, diligent work ethic, and being coach-able," added Miller.
Teeple is the only senior.
"I am so proud of this team. We will miss her. She sets the example of what a leader encompasses. She has been and will continue to be a positive role model for our team and those who look up to her. She is a relentless hard-worker. She has great moral character. She sets the example and has always been committed to our team.
"Rebekah is the type of player that every coach wants on their team. She is irreplaceable. She will continue to be successful in all of her endeavors and her mark on this team will always shine through," concluded Miller.
The Lady Jets were ranked in AP's top 10 for several weeks, after opening the season with a 17-game winning streak which ended at Rhea County; however, they rebounded to finish 11-6 for an impressive 28-6 mark.
CCHS was 11-1 when scoring more than 80 points per game; 24-1 when scoring more than 70 points per game, were 27-2 when tallying more than 60 points per game and 28-4 when scoring more than 50 points per game.
They were 0-2 when tallying 50 points or less and 0-1 when scoring 40 points or less. CCHS led the state in scoring all season.
The Lady Jets won 19 contests by 30 or more points, allowing their deep bench to contribute.
The SMHS Panthers finished with a 27-6 record after their 69-55 substate loss to the Blackman Blaze in the Class AAA substate game.
Coach Neil Capps' Panthers finished second in the regular district race at 8-2, won the District 6AAA Tournament and the Region 3AAA Tournament. They also won the Renasant Bank Championship and finished 2-0 in a tournament at Siegel, which played Walker Valley in the other substate game Tuesday night.
"They were all team players and had a lot of talent. They put their team goals ahead of their individual goals. They achieved a lot and I am proud of them," said Capps, whose seniors won a total of 98 games in four years and was 44-6 at home.
Post-season honors were plentiful for the following Panthers:
Tyler Yoder: All-District, All-District Tournament and All-Region Tournament and MVP;
Justin Simmons: All-District, All-District Tournament MVP and All-Region Tournament;
Luke Matthews: All-District, All-District Tournament and All-Region Tournament;
Gage Spence: Honorable All-District, All-District Tournament,
Three of those four young men will be playing collegiately next year. Yoder and Matthews will be joining former teammates Brandon Cole and Robert Troino and former Jet Caleb Parsons at Bryan College, while Simmons will be heading to Tennessee Wesleyan.
Coach Will Foster's Jets finished with a 12-18 record, after receiving a forfeit win from Hardin Valley, which used an ineligible player in a game against the Jets Dec. 19.
They finished third in the Seahawk Classic in Hilton Head, SC, in December, were fourth in the district regular season (4-6), and finished fourth in the district tournament, losing to Walker Valley in the Region 3AAA opener.
Post-season honors were also abundant for the following Jets:
Logan Parsons: All-District; and All District Tournament.
Diego Poore: Honorable Mention All-District and All-District Tournament; Seahawk Classic All-Tournament.
Parsons is the only Jet senior and should wind up on someone's college roster in 2014-'15.
Coach John Walker's Lady Panthers finished 10-19 overall and 1-9 in the district. They were also 2-1 in the Bobcat Tournament at Oliver Springs and 2-1 in the Jon Loden Christmas Tournament at Midway in December.
Kirsten Potter was Honorable Mention All-District.
"Four seniors have led the 2013-2014 Lady Panther Basketball Team: Courtney White, Kristen Potter, Sydney Early and Jordan Thompson. This team has been very unselfish and has showed grit this season. This group of girls has been very successful both on and off the court.
"I am very proud to have been able to coach this group of girls. Each player has improved her individual skills this year and been committed to giving great effort everyday.
"The girls have been committed to improving every day in practice this year. This team is the first team in school history to beat Livingston Academy, which was a great way to start our year. I am very proud of this group of girls because of their attitudes, coachability, and character. Each of these four seniors will be missed by our program and will be difficult to replace," said Walker.
CCHS and SMHS battle each other during the regular season, but on the night of the District 6AAA championship games, fans from both schools were around for the other's game. That was a good thing for the community.Those student/athletes have grown up together and have family members attending the other school.
The CCHS cheerleaders joined their SMHS counterparts to form a tunnel for the Panthers to run through at the boys championship game. That's a sign of sportsmanship.
At both substate games against Blackman, Saturday in Murfreesboro, and Tuesday at SMHS, the community came out and supported both the Lady Jets and Panthers. In the capacity crowd at SMHS Tuesday, there were students, coaches and faculty from CCHS, along with fans and coaches from the surrounding area in attendance.
My hat goes off to Director of Schools Donald Andrews who attended the post-season games, especially at the substate game Saturday, where he made a point to talk to the Lady Jets at the game.
Kudos goes to the CCHS cheerleaders for finishing fourth in the Game Day competition at the National Cheerleading competition last month.
During the District 6AAA media day event last fall, the White County girls and Cookeville boys were picked to win the regular season by both the coaches and media; however, the rest of the two polls didn't go as predicted.
In the girls media poll, Cookeville, CCHS, SMHS, Rhea County and Warren County were picked behind White County, while the coaches picked White County, Rhea County and CCHS in a first-place tie, followed by Cookeville, SMHS and Warren County.
The final regular season poll had White County (9-1), CCHS (7-3), Rhea County (7-3), Cookeville (4-6), Warren County (2-8) and SMHS (1-9).
The coaches poll was more accurate than the media.
What counts was the Lady Jets won the district tournament over White County, with Rhea County third and Cookeville fourth.
In the preseason boys polls, Cookeville was picked first in both.
In the media poll, the Cavaliers were followed by White County and SMHS in a tie for second, Rhea County, CCHS and Warren County. The coaches had Cookeville, SMHS, White County Rhea County, CCHS and Warren County.
The final regular season standings had Cookeville (9-1), SMHS (8-2), White County (7-3), CCHS (4-6), Rhea County (1-9) and Warren County (1-9).
Again, the coaches poll was more accurate.
SMHS won the district tournament over Cookeville, with White County third and CCHS fourth.
Thanks to Gary Robbins, Walt Riches, Kay Matthews and Rebecca Foster for their assistance during basketball season.
The wrestling teams of Wes McNeely (CCHS) and Brian Parker (SMHS) also had outstanding seasons, sending wrestlers to the state individual tournament last Monday.
The spring sports teams at both CCHS and SMHS will start their regular season next week. There are two new coaches at SMHS — Adam Kefauver (baseball) and Jason Allen (tennis), who join holdovers Brittany Bilbrey (softball), Matt Bates (track and field) and Michael Husbands (soccer).
There are new coaches at CCHS — Laurie Kerr (tennis) and Tim Smith (softball), who join David Prichard (baseball), Ted McCaslin (track and field) and Cub Whitson (soccer).
Watch for the annual spring sports preview in a few weeks.
(Ed Greif is the Chronicle sports editor and his column appears periodically.)