Yantis ends playoff drought spanning two decades

From Staff Reports

CUMBY - It's been a long time coming, but the Yantis Owls and Lady Owls have both reached the state playoffs.

The Owls won a hard-fought game on the road over Cumby 44-35.

The last Owl team that advanced was in 1989 when coach Randy Smith led a No. 5-ranked team to the regional final where they fell to eventual state champion Avinger by one point.

The Owls were in a must-win situation going into Cumby. A Trojan win would have put them in the bi-district match-up which will be played in two weeks.

"It has been an up-and-down season with such a young team (only one senior). My guys have grown up a lot this year, and the last two games at North Hopkins and Cumby we have really stepped it up a notch," said Yantis coach Larry Tucker. "Cumby plays as hard and tough as anybody we play and they are always tough to beat at their place. Coach (Doug) Johnson does a good job over there. Once their kids get their basketball legs after playing football, they are always tough."

The Owls and Trojans fought to a 10-10 first quarter tie. The Owls fell behind 21-15 midway in the second period and fought back on a 3-pointer by Daniel Cerretani and five points from Jordan Davis to cut it to a 23-22 deficit going into intermission.

"We had missed a lot of shots in the paint in the first half. I just told the guys that the playoffs were only 16 minutes away and if we were going to go, we had to pick it up a notch," Tucker said. "We held them to 12 points in the second half."

The Owls took a 32-31 lead into the final quarter. Three steals by freshman Tony Garcia early in the quarter and buckets by Garcia, Cerretani and Zach Leatherwood and then a big putback by Thompson sealed the 44-35 victory.

Thompson had nine rebounds, while Davis (8), Leatherwood (6) and Randy Smith (6) each came up with crucial boards in the second half.

"I was worried before the game because my point guard, Cord Burnett, was at home sick. But Garcia played with the maturity of a seasoned veteran and really gave us a spark. Davis had a great floor game and showed some much needed leadership for us," Tucker added. "Big Thompson, Smith and Leatherwood all had solid games. Cerretani played well on both ends of the court. It was just a great game for us."

Cerretani led all scorers with 13 points. For Yantis, Davis had nine, Garcia and Thompson seven each, Leatherwood five and Smith three.

The Owls finished the regular season 14-13 and 4-4 in District 18-A, Div. I. Cumby dropped to 2-6 in district action.

Bloomburg is currently the second-place team in District 17-A and is the probable bi-district opponent for the Owls.

Saltillo 72, Sulphur Bluff 28

SALTILLO - Saltillo wrapped up the district season unbeaten with a thumping over Sulphur Bluff Tuesday night.

Derek McClure led three Lions players in double figures with 18 points while Travis Thompson scored 14 points and Miles Payne added 11 points.

Saltillo led 39-15 at the half and held Sulphur Bluff to 13 points in the second half.

Saltillo, which is the district champion, improved to 14-0 in District 22-A, Div. II and 23-5 overall.

Sulphur Bluff was led in scoring by Gerardo Rodriguez with 10 points.

Sulphur Bluff 6 9 7 6-28

Saltillo 16 23 19 14-72

Sulphur Bluff - Cody Austin 6, Merced Rodriguez 2, Gerardo Rodriguez 10, Michael Hale 5, Robert Messick 3, Joshua Clanton 2.

Saltillo - Chase Carr 7, Miles Payne 11, Jocsan Gamez 2, Stephen Mobley 7, Jimmy Methe 5, Derek McClure 18, Kenneth Poor 8, Travis Thompson 14.

GIRLS

Yantis 61, Cumby 47

CUMBY - It's been 17 years since the Yantis girls sent a team to the playoffs, but the Lady Owls secured their trip with their win on Tuesday.

Jamie Snider bucketed 22 points and Shelby Allen added 19 for the lady Owls, who finished in third place in District 18-A, Div. I with a 4-4 record.

Yantis led 23-11 after one period and doubled their advantage to 45-22 at halftime.

Lindsey Lemon and Scarlett Tarno each scored 12 points for Cumby and Courtney Stewart added 10.

Yantis 23 22 6 10 -61

Cumby 11 11 8 17 -47

Yantis - Jamie Snider 22, Shelby Allen 19, Jamie Gilliland 7, Rachel Spurgeon 4, Amanda McKinney 2, Amanda Collins 2, Stephanie Hogg 2, Blanca Reyna 2, Jayna Bevill 1.

Cumby - Lindsey Lemon 12, Scarlett Tarno 12, Courtney Stewart 10, Morgan Lott 7, Meagan Comer 2, Amber Hammons 2, Amanda Barrow 2.

Saltillo 53, Sulphur Bluff 6

SALTILLO - Saltillo jumped out to a 19-4 lead after the first quarter and a 39-4 lead at the half to stay unbeaten in District 22-A, Div. II.

The Lady Lions were led in scoring by Winter Stevens with 16 points and Bekah Rogers with nine points.

Saltillo (27-1), ranked No. 11 in Class A, Div. II, has now won 23 consecutive games and clinched the district title.

Sulphur Bluff 4 0 0 2-6

Saltillo 19 8 15 11 -53

Sulphur Bluff - Veronica Gutierrez 2, Danielle Jordan 2, Ginger Thompson 2.

Saltillo - Bekah Rogers 9, Candace Prather 2, Chloe Roberts 5, Winter Stevens 16, Stephanie Methe 6, Cara Geerts 3, Emily White 5, Jessica Gilbreath 6.

Miller Grove 57, Savoy 32

MILLER GROVE - In their final game of the season, the Miller Grove Lady Hornets picked up their third district win.

The Lady Hornets (7-24, 3-11) were led by senior Leslie Wagley, who scored a game-high 31 points.

"Leslie played well in her last game," said MGHS coach Gary Billingsley. "The girls ended the year playing hard and doing things right. I am proud of the effort they put in this year."

Billingsley said the team won five more games than they did last year and Wagley will be the only player they will lose next year.

Savoy 6 10 3 13 -32

Miller Grove 14 16 14 13 -57

Savoy - Moore 11, Thompson 11, Douglas 7, Malone 3.

Miller Grove - Leslie Wagley 31, Rebecca George 8, Jamie Hayes 7, Mari Delcastillo 4, Adrian Estrada 4, Dianne Sparks 3.

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