For Southeast Whitfield’s boys basketball team, the start of the season included a lot of frowns.
Sub-region play has been nothing but narrow wins — and wide smiles.
A year after winning just one game overall, the Raiders moved to 2-0 in Sub-region 7B-4A competition after edging out a 55-51 home victory against LaFayette on Tuesday. The Lady Raiders set up a sweep with their 41-33 victory earlier in the evening.
After blowing a 12-point third quarter lead, Southeast’s boys trailed 46-44 with less than six minutes to play in the game. The Raiders (3-12) were sparked by Bryce Middlebrooks’ jumper and Devin Gentry’s fall-away bank shot to reclaim the lead.
Ahead 52-51 with 51 seconds left and coming out of a timeout, Gentry drove through the lane and found Chaz Payne for an easy layup.
“I’m just glad (the play) turned out as well as it did,” Payne said.
After Lance Estus missed a mid-range jumper for LaFayette (7-8 0-2), Middlebrooks made one of two free throws with 10.1 seconds left to complete an 11-5 game-closing run.
“If we make free throws, then we win by 10,” said Southeast coach Jake Dickey, whose team finished 8-for-23 from the free-throw line.
“That’s two games in a row where our guys have found a way. That’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
Southeast beat Ridgeland 73-71 on Friday and now sits atop the sub-region standings with Dalton and Northwest Whitfield, which are also 2-0 in 7B-4A. It might be a surprise after the Raiders went 1-25 last season, lost 12 of their first 13 games this season and had then-leading scorer Josue Quintero quit the team after the seventh game.
“Everybody was fighting,” Middlebrooks said, “but then we started coming together as a team.”
Trailing 17-9 with less than a minute left in the first quarter, Southeast scored the next 12 points and 19 of 23 to grab a 28-21 lead with 1:42 left in the first half thanks to a trio of 3-pointers from Middlebrooks. The Raiders held a 33-23 lead at halftime and scored the first points of the second half.
Then the Ramblers went on a 19-5 run, including three straight 3-pointers from Pat-rick Simons, to take a 42-40 lead to end the third quarter.
“Give Southeast credit,” LaFayette coach Tommy Swanson said. “They outplayed us all night long. They got the lead and we came back. Sometimes when you come back, it takes the wind out of your sails.”
Payne had a game-high 19 points with 10 rebounds. Gentry had 11 points and 11 boards, and Middlebrooks chipped in 14 points. Stefan Edmondson led LaFayette with 15 points.
• Southeast girls 41, LaFayette 33: The Lady Raiders (9-5, 2-0) scored 19 points through a quarter and a half, but went cold for the next two periods. Fortunately for Southeast, the defense made enough plays.
The Lady Raiders jumped to a 19-2 advantage before the Lady Ramblers (9-9, 0-2) cut the gap to 25-13 at halftime, 28-19 after three quarters and 29-26 halfway through the fourth quarter.
“It wasn’t the first shot, but the second and third shots,” Southeast coach Michael Durham said. “We didn’t box out in the second and third quarters as well as we did early on.”
With less than four minutes to play, the teams traded three free throws each before Southeast’s Megan Collins scored inside, Cricket Wyatt made both her free throws and Wendy Perez scored off a steal and fast break to stretch the lead to 37-28 with around one minute left.
Tavi Parris led the Lady Raiders with 13 points and seven rebounds. Collins had 13 points — nine off 3-pointers — and added six rebounds. The two combined for 20 of the team’s 25 first-half points.
LaFayette was held to just two points through the first quarter and only scored two field goals in the final four minutes of the game.
“We did really good on defense,” Parris said. “We’re playing together and talking to each other.”
• Northwest Whitfield girls 66, Heritage-Catoosa 64 (2OT): Autumn Blackwell was fouled and made a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining in double overtime to lead the Lady Bruins to a Sub-region 7B-4A victory in Ringgold.
The victory was the end of a balanced night for Northwest. Three different players scored in double figures, and it was a Halle Ford 3-pointer at the end of regulation that kept it all going.
Ford ended the night with 14 points and four assists, while Kaitlin Wade scored 16 and Macy Weeks had 14 and six steals. Sarah Thomas finished with 10 rebounds.
“Just the fact that it was a (sub-region) road win was great, but we learned a lot about the team,” Northwest coach Greg Brown said. “We had three people foul out, and we had other kids come off the bench and step up and make plays when we needed to help carry us through.”
• Northwest boys 72, Heritage 49: O’Shea Hill had 16 points, while Kaleb King added 11 as the Bruins (12-3, 2-0 Sub-region 7B-4A) took the easy win.
A 17-4 run that started late in the third quarter and stretched into the fourth put the victory away for Northwest. Tevin McDaniel and Dustin Stanley each finished with 10 points.
“We put a big run on them in that third, and Tanner Bailey and Andy Whisenant really sparked that,” Northwest coach Ryan Richards said. “They were big in that run.”
• Coahulla Creek girls 46, Adairsville 37: Macey Fossett’s 19-point effort paced the Lady Colts, who overcame a 17-14 halftime deficit to win their second straight game.
The victory came three days after Coahulla Creek recorded the first win in program history by beating Ridgeland 62-48 in Varnell. Tuesday’s win was both the first on the road and first in region play in program history.
Nikki Ross had 11 rebounds for the Lady Colts (2-11, 1-3 Region 5-3A), while Hannah Locke chipped in seven points. Coahulla Creek was ahead 30-25 going into the final period and stayed safely in front the rest of the way.
“We made some adjustments on offense,” Lady Colts coach Ryan Long said. “Defensively our intensity wasn’t there the first half, so I was proud of them for the way they came back in the second half with a lot more intensity and enthusiasm about them.”
• Coahulla Creek boys 73, Adairsville 70 (OT): Hunter Williams hit a floater at the buzzer to tie the game at the end of regulation, and the Colts hit their free throws down the stretch in extra frame to win for just the second time in the history of the program.
Coming on the same night as a win by the Lady Colts, it was doubly exciting for boys coach Matthew Queener.
“I am real excited that we won for the whole school and to have boys and girls win on the same night is even more special,” Queener said.
Forward Cordarius Tarver had the standout night with 21 points and 20 rebounds. Taylor Poteet, Williams and Jordan Tant each added 12 points for the Colts (1-11, 1-3 Region 5-3A).
• Dalton girls 74, Ridgeland 46: The Lady Cats (12-4, 2-0 Sub-region 7B-4A) got 19 points from Maddie Howell and 12 different players scored in an easy win on the road.
Dalton’s defensive pressure controlled the Lady Panthers, with the Lady Cats ahead by 11 at the end of the first quarter and 38-19 at halftime.
• Dalton boys 79, Ridgeland 68: Four different players scored in double figures, led by Brandon Painter, as the Catamounts rolled by Ridgeland.
Painter had five 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 23 points for the Cats (11-3, 2-0 Sub-region 7B-4A). Demond Rucker had 21 points and eight rebounds, while Alex Bautista had 17 points and Rico Mears finished with 14.
“They tried to trap us and hurt us with their pressure, but we handled it pretty well,” Dalton coach Mike Duffie said. “It led to a lot of open baskets.”
• North Murray girls 55, Ringgold 30: Sophomore post Erin Robinson had 14 points as she led the Lady Mountaineers (10-5, 3-2 Region 5-3A) to the easy road win. Eleven different players scored for North Murray, which was up by 20 points at halftime and held the Lady Tigers to single digits in each of the first three quarters.
• North Murray boys 58, Ringgold 24: The Mountaineers (14-1, 5-0 Region 5-3A) led 25-11 by halftime in a rout that wasn’t as polished as the final score indicated, but the team’s winning streak stretched to 13 just the same.
Zach Vess led North Murray with 20 points, while Austen Horn added nine and Drew Mosteller chipped in eight.
“I was pretty proud of the simple fact that we guarded extremely well,” North Murray coach Tim Ellis said. “We weren’t very sharp offensively. We scored 58 points, but it was just an ugly game. But I was proud of our kids. They really held their composure well and took care of what they had to do.”
• Christian Heritage boys 56, Mt. Zion-Carroll 52: Will Patterson led all scorers with 15 points as the Lions pulled away late for the win in Carrollton. Cameron Locke scored 12, and Michael McKinney added 10 for Christian Heritage (5-4, 1-2 Sub-region 6A-A).
• Mt. Zion-Carroll girls 58, Christian Heritage 35: The Lady Lions’ Rebecca Leonard had 12 points and pulled down six rebounds, but it wasn’t enough in the road loss. Drew Tipton added nine points for Christian Heritage (5-10, 2-1).
• Murray County boys 59, Calhoun 53: The Indians led by as many as 20 during the second half and held on for the easy win over Calhoun.
Martin Contreras led the Indians (8-7, 3-2 Region 7-2A) with 13 points and five assists as everyone who got in the game for the Indians scored for the balanced attack. Cesar Romero had 11 points, all coming in the first half. Down the stretch, the Indians were 20 of 29 from the free-throw line to seal the win.
• Calhoun girls 66, Murray County 34: The visiting Lady Yellow Jackets limited the Lady Indians to two points in the second quarter to take a 39-10 lead into the locker room at halftime while rolling to the Region 7-2A victory. Calhoun (12-1, 4-0) is first in the region standings.
Caitlyn Sims finished with nine points to lead Murray County (5-10, 2-3), while Catlyn Richardson added eight.
• Northwest JV girls 64, Heritage-Catoosa 22: Karli Williams had 17 points and Peyton Maret scored 13 to lead the Lady Bruins (9-1) to the win. Whitley Brooker added eight steals and five assists.
• North Murray JV boys 43, Ringgold 28: Matt Clayton led the Mountaineers with 10 points as they remained undefeated through four games.
• Southeast JV girls 38, LaFayette 20: Emily Beck led the Lady Raiders (7-1) with 15 points.
Swimming and diving
• Dalton’s boys and girls were swept at Chattanooga’s Baylor School, with the Cats’ 166-92 defeat their first loss of the season. The Lady Cats lost 190-50. For the Cats (9-1), Taylor Dale won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 52.94 seconds.
No one finished first for the Lady Cats (4-6).