Category Archive: Sports

CCMS Lady Raiders Roll Into CTC Basketball Semifinals

Bella Vinson of CCMS basketball

The Lady Raider basketball team of Coffee County Middle School opened the defense of their CTC conference title on Monday night taking on Warren County.  As has been the case for most of the year, the Coffee County defense led the way in the CTC tournament opening round win.  The Lady Raiders found their scoring touch early as they dropped Warren County 46 to 26 to advance to Friday night’s semifinal round.

After a back and forth first 2 minutes, Coffee County forced 6 Warren County turnovers in the first period to race out to a 17 to 4 lead after 1 quarter of play.  Coffee County went on a 26 to 7 run in the final 10 minutes of the first half to lead by 23 at the half and put the game out of reach

The Lady Raiders were led in scoring by Bella Vinson who scored 31 points which included a 7 for 7 performance at the free throw line in the first half.  Kiya Ferrell finished with 6 points while Kylie Phillips chipped in 5.  The win improves Coffee County to 15 and 4 on the season.

The Lady Raiders will return to action on Friday night in a semifinal matchup with the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between North Franklin and West Tullahoma.  That game will tip off at 5:00 PM at Tullahoma High School.  The Red Raiders open play on Tuesday night as they will take on North Franklin in an 8 PM game at Tullahoma High School.


CHS Wrestlers Finish 3rd at Border Battle Duals Meet

CHS Wrestler Joseph White(in black)

The Red Raider wrestling team of Coffee County Central High School hosted the annual Border Battle 4-way duals match on Friday night at the Coffee County Raider Academy.  The Raider team picked up a team win over Franklin County 33 to 30 while barely falling to Shelbyville 30 to 19.  Coffee County had few answers for the depth of the Tullahoma team in a 63 to 6 decision.  Joseph White(132 pounds), Rein Bozich(138), Owen Teague(145) and  Reid Lawrence(160) all had good nights getting wins in 2 of their 3 matches.

Against Tullahoma, White(132) got the lone points for Coffee County as he captured a pinfall win.  Bozich(138) and Reid Lawrence(160) both battled to decision loses while Teague(145) lost his match in a tiebreaker.  Dustin Duke(106) lost in a technical fall.

Against Shelbyville, Bozich(138) and Teague(145) captured decision wins.  Reid Lawrence(160) and Noah O’ Shields(126) prevailed in a pair of forfeit wins.

Against Franklin County, Coffee County won all but one of the contested matches to capture 3rd place in the meet.  Noah O’Shields(126), Joseph White(132) and Reid Lawrence(160) all got pinfall wins over the Rebels.  Owen Teague(145) captured an 11 to 10 decision for the Red Raiders.  Dustin Duke(113) and Rein Bozich(138) each captured 6 points with forfeit wins over the Rebels.

The CHS grapplers return to the mats on Tuesday night when they travel to Murfreesboro for a 3 way duals match with Blackman and Siegel.  The match will be held at Blackman High School and will get underway at 6 PM.

Sophomores Watkins, Abernethy and O’Neal lead Motlow State Lady Bucks into 2017 softball season

2017 Motlow Lady Bucks – Members of the 2017 Motlow Lady Bucks softball team, front row from left: Riley O’Neal, Sarah Wilson, Kathleen Sledge, Ashton Watkins, Taylor Mitchell and Breanna Owens. Back row from left; Miranda Cooksey, Caroline Abernethy, Chelbie Gannon, Ciera Dobbins, Jamaica Johnson, Taylor Honea and Renee Bolduc. [Photo by Jeff Reed Photography]

After compiling a winning season under first-year head coach Janice Morey last year, Motlow State’s softball program is on the rise. Sophomores Ashton Watkins, Caroline Abernethy and Riley O’Neal will be expected to lead the Lady Bucks when the 2017 campaign gets underway this weekend.

Motlow will open the season Jan. 27, when it travels to Clearwater, Fla., to begin three days of competition against some of the nation’s top JUCO softball programs. The highlight is Saturday morning at 11 a.m., when the Lady Bucks will play Central Florida, which finished last season ranked second in the nation.

The Lady Bucks’ home field on the Moore County campus is in the process of a significant facelift. The facility will feature new backstop netting and a brick backstop wall, a new scoreboard, and a new 20-foot tall ‘green monster’ leftfield wall. The first home game is March 3, with TCCAA rival Chattanooga State visiting for the first conference series of the season.

Watkins, Abernethy and O’Neal are three of six returning sophomores who are expected to play key roles for the Lady Bucks. All three, along with Taylor Mitchell, were starters last season and critical to Motlow’s 28-24 season under Morey, who was hired in November 2015 to take over a program that had only one winning season in the previous four years.

“We expect great leadership physically, mentally and emotionally, from our returning starters,” said Morey. “Conference play tends to be quite a dog fight every weekend, so our experienced players will need to teach our younger players what it takes to compete against a conference opponent for four games over two days.”

Morey will have five returning sophomores, two redshirt freshmen, a transfer and five true freshmen to fill out her roster this season. She originally signed seven freshmen and had seven returning sophomores, but four decided the rigors and challenges of playing college softball were too much and they chose to end their playing careers.

“Our numbers are a little low this year,” Morey continued. “But we expect that to pay off for our freshmen by the end of the season. The amount of extra repetitions they will get during practice and games should give them the confidence and understanding of what it takes to perform in this league by the time we get to the conference tournament at the end of the season.”

Watkins, a shortstop from Lewisburg, is the Lady Bucks’ top returning offensive producer. She hits for average and hits with power, batting .377 in 151 plate appearances last year and leading the team with seven home runs. In addition, she slammed 13 doubles, four triples and drove in 28 runs.

Abernethy, from Spring Hill, is the backbone of the outfield, holding down the centerfield position and was named all-conference in 2016. She hit .341 last year with six doubles, a triple and 19 runs batted in. As the leadoff hitter, she led the team in stolen bases with six and was only caught one time. Her plate discipline is excellent, striking out only 10 times last year in a team-high 182 at bats.

O’Neal, from Fayetteville, stepped into the catcher position last season after an injury to a classmate and performed outstanding. She batted .306 in 134 plate appearances with five doubles, three home runs and 31 runs batted in. She also had a great eye at the plate, walking 16 times while striking out only six, and proved herself in the clutch by hitting .500 with two home runs and nine runs batted in at the conference tournament.

Mitchell, also from Fayetteville, played in every game for the Lady Bucks last season, starting many of them in the outfield. She hit .218 with a double and five runs batted in. Motlow will need increased production from her this year.

Tullahoma’s Taylor Honea saw limited action last year and will be expected to contribute more during the coming season. Joining her will be a pair of redshirt freshmen, both of whom sat out last year due to injury. Both Kat Sledge, from Whitwell, and Jamaica Johnson, from Shelbyville, will have an opportunity to contribute.

Renee Bolduc is the transfer, coming to Motlow after spending her freshman season at Calhoun Community College in Alabama. Bolduc will have one season at Motlow and will be counted on to add quality depth in the infield.

Although Morey has not yet had a full recruiting cycle as head coach, she has brought in five quality freshmen who should get plenty of playing time. Motlow places a premium on recruiting student-athletes from its 11-county service area, and the five incoming freshmen fit that bill nicely.

Outfielder Chelbie Gannon is from Shelbyville, pitcher/infielder Breanna Owens is from Fayetteville, pitcher Sarah Wilson comes from Sparta, outfielder Miranda Cooksey is from Lewisburg, and catcher/infielder Ciera Dobbins comes from LaVergne after playing at Stewarts Creek High School.

Coffee County Basketball Splits at Shelbyville on Friday Night

Jacey Vaughn of CHS Basketball[Photo by Demarco Moore – Manchester Times]

Hitting the road for the 2nd time this week, the Coffee County Central High basketball teams visited Shelbyville on Friday night for a district doubleheader.  After a hot start, the Lady Raiders saw Shelbyville pull away in the final minute to defeat Coffee County 42 to 35.  The Red Raiders broke open a close game late in the second quarter to coast to a 67 to 36 win.

Turnovers and missed shots at the rim doomed the Lady Raiders bid to upset district leading Shelbyville.  Coffee County turned the ball over more than 20 times in the game including 3 times in the final minute.  Coffee County raced out to a 12 to 6 lead after the first quarter, but the Eaglettes closed the gap to 1 at the intermission.  A back and forth 2nd half saw the lead change hands five times before Shelbyville went ahead with 3:55 remaining in the game.  Coffee County trailed by 3 points with 38 seconds remaining but 3 straight turnovers let Shelbyville escape with the win and the season sweep over the Lady Raiders.

Jacey Vaughn led the Lady Raiders in scoring with 8 points.  Alliyah Williams and Holli Smithson each added 7 points and Aerial Williams chipped in 6 points.  Vaughn, who hit 6 free throws in the first quarter, was named the Crazy Daisies player of the game.  The loss snapped a 4 game district winning streak for the Lady Raiders and dropped Coffee County’s record to 14 and 5 overall and 4 and 3 in district play.

Stephen Sullivan of Red Raider basketball[Photo by Demarco Moore – Manchester Times]

Leading by 2 points with 4 and a half minutes to go in the first half, it appeared that the Red Raiders were going to have their hands full with a determined Eagles squad looking for their first win of the year.  Coffee County turned up the defensive pressure and closed the half out on a 16 to 4 run to carry a 14 point lead into the half.  In the second half, Coffee County used solid defense and effective ball movement to squash any hopes of a Shelbyville rally.

Stephen Sullivan was the leading scorer for the Raiders as he had 14 points to lead a Raider attack that saw 4 players finish in double figures and 12 players tally points in the game.  Tyrese McGee finished with 11 points while DeAaron Rozier and Garrett Eldridge finished with 10 points apiece.  For his continued solid play, Sullivan earned the Crazy Daisies player of the game award.  The win improves the Red Raiders to 18 and 4 overall and 5 and 2 in district play.

Coffee County is back at home on Tuesday night when Lawrence County invades the Joe Frank Patch Gym.  The girls’ game will tip off at 6 PM.  Thunder Radio will bring you live coverage beginning with the Powers Storage pregame show at 5:50.

Tori Bell Signs to Play Softball at Chattanooga State

CHS senior softball player Tori Bell signs to play softball at Chattanooga State next season surrounding by family and coaches, Front Row(left to right): Jeff Thompson, step father; Sydney Bell, sister; Tori Bell; Kim Thompson, mother; Rennie Bell, grandfather. Back Row(left to right): Barbara Bell, grandmother; Blythe Golden, Chattanooga State head coach; Steve Wilder, Coffee County head coach; Jackie Wilder, Coffee County assistant coach; Brandon McWhorter, former Coffee County assistant coach;

The chance to play at one of the most successful junior college softball programs in America was too much of an opportunity to pass up for Coffee County senior Tori Bell.  Bell, a catcher who has led the Lady Raiders in homeruns the past 2 years, signed a scholarship offer with Chattanooga State on Friday at a ceremony at CHS.  Bell became the 2nd member of the Lady Raider class of 2017 to sign a softball scholarship.

The Lady Tigers of Chattanooga State are looking to return to the Junior College World Series in 2017 after back to back 3rd place finishes in the nation in 2014 and 2015.  Chattanooga State is coached by Blythe Golden, herself a former catcher, who “hit it right off” with Tori in their first meeting.  “I like a (tall) catcher and Tori has a great arm and will bring a lot of tools to our program” said Golden.  “We expect Tori to come in and compete on Day #1 to be our starting catcher” added Golden.

When asked, ‘why Chattanooga State’; Bell was quick to point out that she felt that the Lady Tigers are “the best fit” for her.  “I loved the campus and their coach” added Bell who went on to say, “I am prepared to go in and work my butt off (to win a starting position).”  Bell had praise for her high school coaches Steve Wilder and former coach Terry Floyd.  “Playing high school ball for Coach Floyd and Coach Wilder has been a great experience and has really prepared me for college softball.”  Bell plans on majoring in exercise science with a career goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Coach Wilder expects Tori to continue to be successful at the college level due to her strong work ethic.  “Tori made up her mind up that it takes hard work to be successful and she is working harder than anyone we have right now.”  Wilder went on to praise Tori for her tenacity in overcoming injury and adversity during her high school career.   “She is blessed with an athletic body and I expect her to do special things for us this year and Chattanooga State in the coming years.”

Elementary League Sets Championship Matchups after Saturday’s Semifinals

Four games on Saturday have set up the finals for the Coffee County Youth Basketball League season title.  Two boys’ semifinals and 2 girls’ semifinals have set the stage for next Saturday’s championship and consolation games.

In the girls semifinals, top-seeded Westwood dropped North Coffee 34 to 20 in the first semifinal.  The Lady Eagles will take on defending champion New Union who squeaked past Hillsboro 18 to 17.  North will meet Hillsboro on Saturday in the girls’ consolation game at 9 AM..

In the boys’ semifinals, top-seeded and defending champion College Street raced past Hickerson 35 to 22.  The Cougars will take on their city rival Westwood in Saturday’s final after the Eagles got past Hillsboro 25 to 16.  Hickerson and Hillsboro will meet in Saturday’s other consolation game scheduled for 10 AM at CHS.

The league’s final weekend is coming up on Saturday at the Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gym as the girls’ consolation game will get underway at 9 AM.  The boys’ consolation is scheduled for 10 AM.  At 11 it will be a cheerleading exhibition by each school’s cheerleading squads.  The girl’s championship game is set for noon with the boys to follow.  Thunder Radio will be on hand to record each championship game and downloads will be made available at our website.  Additionally, Thunder Radio will rebroadcast the games sometime next week, so stay tuned to Thunder Radio for a date and time.

Central Tennessee Conference Basketball Tournament Starts on Monday Night

Coffee County Middle School basketball teams are back in action this week as they enter play in the Central Tennessee Conference postseason tournament. The CTC tournament will begin on Monday as the Lady Raiders will take on Warren County at 6:30 PM at Tullahoma High School. The Red Raiders open play on Tuesday at 8 PM against North Franklin also at Tullahoma High School. The conference tournament will conclude on Saturday.  You can click the brackets to get a full size for printing.

2017 CTS Girls Tournament(Click to enlarge & print)

2017 CTS Boys Tournament(Click to enlarge & print)

Forsberg Leads Comeback, Preds Beat Wild

After they fell behind to the top team in the Central Division and in a hostile building, the Nashville Predators still found a way to claim two points. Not bad for a grand finale.

Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third, and the Preds defeated the Minnesota Wild by a 4-2 final at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday night. It’s Nashville’s third consecutive victory, tying a season-high once more, giving the Preds 53 points, good enough to solidify third place in the Central Division. Plus, it came with a milestone in tow.

With the victory, Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette recorded his 500th career win behind an NHL bench, becoming the 25th in League history to accomplish the feat.

“It could [have been] a day where you pack it in and fight for another day, and we didn’t do that,” Laviolette said. “We just kept fighting. So I think i’ll remember [the milestone] because of that more than anything.”

“That was a big one,” Captain Mike Fisher said of Laviolette’s win. “It’s a lot of wins and deservingly so. He’s done a great job.”

After Minnesota took a 2-0 lead early in the first period, the Preds settled down, controlling the play in the second and leading to James Neal’s 16th of the season. As the third frame began, it didn’t take long for Forsberg to collect his 13th of the season to knot things at 2-2, prior to striking a second time at 13:24 for a 3-2 Predators advantage. And that was all it took.

“Our start wasn’t great, but after that, we got going,” Forsberg said. “You just get back in the game and [Pekka Rinne] bailed us out in the first period, but after that we played better.”

If the Predators were to win on Sunday night, they needed a hero in the third period. Enter Filip Forsberg.

The Swede scored twice in the final frame, first to tie the game, 2-2, and then with 6:36 remaining to give Nashville their first lead of the night, the only one they’d need. Fosberg has 10 goals in his last 19 games, five of them game winners, including three on this road trip alone.

“He playing great,” Fisher said of Forsberg. “He’s finding the net and doing some great things and playing with that confidence we’re used to seeing. It’s awesome.”

In classic bookending fashion, the Predators concluded the road trip just how they started it. After a comeback win in Colorado, scoring three unanswered goals to defeat the Avalanche, Nashville completed the same task in Minnesota, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit to ultimately defeat the Wild and collect two more points.

The Wild scored twice in the first 7:31 of the game, but that was all they managed to muster as Nashville took over, sustaining pressure throughout the second and third periods to score four unanswered.

“We were slow getting out of the gate,” Laviolette said. “I don’t think that we were moving that fast, and I blame part of that on myself. We were trying to make sure we were doing the right things out there. The second period, we took the brakes off the players and got them moving and tried to play a much more aggressive game. That seemed to get us going in the right direction.”

“After the first 10 minutes, I thought we kind of took over the game and we just played a really solid, hard game,” Fisher said. “We tightened up defensively. They came at us pretty strong, it was a 2-0 lead then. After that we tightened up a lot better.”

With the exception of a 1-0 loss in Vancouver, the Predators had themselves quite an excursion away from home. Nashville collected four wins and eight points to regain a playoff position – third place in the Central Division to be exact – over the course of the last week. All while facing plenty of adversity along the way.

“It hasn’t been the smoothest thing, lot of things out of our control, and not necessarily the fault of anybody in particular, but things that just happened,” Laviolette said. “Our guys have just rolled with it and stayed focused and played some pretty good hockey along the way.

“Falling down 2-0 to the top team in our division, fighting back on them in their own building… they’re playing terrific hockey and they showed that in the first period. But it was a good road trip where the guys really dug in and made some noise, made up some ground.”


The Predators return home for a two-game set prior to the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend, beginning Tuesday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Bridgestone Arena.

Filip Forsberg scored three-game winning goals during the Preds five-game trip.

Nashville earned their second and third wins of the season when trailing by multiple goals during the recent excursion.

Pete Weber’s Postgame Report


Ryan Ellis Leads Predators Past Oilers 3-2 in Shootout

Ryan Ellis scored in the third period and added the shootout winner as the Nashville Predators snapped Edmonton’s four-game winning streak by beating the Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Viktor Arvidsson also scored in regulation for the Predators, who have won five of six.

Matt Hendricks and Milan Lucic had the goals for the Oilers, who got 42 saves from Cam Talbot.

Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots for the win.

Nashville went up 2-1 seven minutes into the third when Ellis’ long knuckler beat Talbot up high after appearing to deflect off the glove of defender Brandon Davidson.

Edmonton tied it again on a power play with 4:29 left in the third. Leon Draisaitl sent the puck in front and Lucic tipped it past Rinne to end a 12-game scoring drought.

CCMS Closes Regular Season with a Split at Harris

Kylie Phillips(right) of CCMS on defense against Harris

The Coffee County Middle School basketball teams ended the regular season in Shelbyville taking on Harris Middle School on the Eagle’s homecoming on Thursday.  In a pair of games that that saw each team rally from 1st quarter deficits, the Raiders and Lady Raiders split the conference contests.  The Lady Raiders fell 20 to 19 while Red Raiders won 32 to 27.

A game winning shot at the buzzer rimmed out for the Lady Raiders in a defensive struggle in the girls’  game.  Harris took the lead with 8 seconds remaining and after a Coffee County time out, Bella Vinson got an open look for a 25 footer at the buzzer that rimmed out as the final horn sounded.  Coffee County held Harris to 10 points in the final 3 quarters after falling behind 10 to 2 in a turnover filled first period.

The Lady Raiders were led in scoring by Kylie Phillips who finished with 5 points.  Vinson and Kiya Ferrell each finished with 4 points.   The Lady Raiders will end the regular season with a record of 14 and 4 overall and 10 and 4 in conference play.

Trevor Horne(#52) of CCMS goes up for a shot over a Harris defender

The Red Raiders rallied from a 4 point deficit in the 1st quarter as they held Harris to 2 points in the 2nd quarter.  Coffee County tied the game with a minute remaining in the 3rd quarter on a Jaxon Vaughn 3 pointer before dominating the 4th quarter.  Trevor Horne contested every Eagle shot in the paint and finished with 9 blocked shots.

The Red Raiders were led in scoring by Vaughn who had 11 points, Horne and Trenton Scrivnor each finished with 6 points for Coffee County who improved to 11 and 7 on the season and 7 and 7 in conference play.

Coffee County is back in action next week as they enter play in the Central Tennessee Conference postseason tournament.   The CTC tournament will begin on Monday as the Lady Raiders will take on Warren County at  6:30 PM at Tullahoma High School.  The Red Raiders open play on Tuesday at 8 PM against North Franklin also at Tullahoma High School.  The conference tournament will conclude on Saturday.

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