Sports

Josi Tallies Twice, Preds Top Stars to Take Season Series

Roman Josi in action [Photo courtesy of nhl.com]

Roman Josi tallied twice in the third period, and the Nashville Predators came back to defeat the Dallas Stars, 5-3, on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

The victory gives the Preds a win in the season series against the Stars (3-2-0) and sees them get back to within one point of first-place Winnipeg in the Central Division.

The triumph in Texas is a welcomed rebound after a 5-1 loss in Vegas on Saturday, and it gives Nashville life once more with a gritty road win against a potential playoff opponent.

“We just had more speed, more attitude, and we just worked harder,” Josi said. “We weren’t happy with the way we played in Vegas, and we had two days here to sit on it. We knew we had to play a lot harder to be successful, and we did that tonight.”

Nashville seized their first goal in the opening 20 minutes since the last time they faced Dallas on Feb. 7. For a Preds team that was more than ready to deliver a strong start and stop having to answer questions on their lack of production in the opening period, Brian Boyle crashing the net and knocking in his second with the club was significant.

“He’s been terrific,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Boyle. “He just does so much for the team. It’s what he says in the room, his leadership, his size, his presence, his physicality and the fact that he can chip in goals, it’s a really good addition for our group.”

Jason Spezza answered for the Stars at 3:31 of the second by firing a wrister from the high slot past Pekka Rinne. After the pair of second periods in the previous two games (against Montreal and in Vegas) were a sore spot, Nashville was better on Tuesday night in Dallas, and by a decent amount.

The Predators allowed three goals in the middle frame, but scored two of their own to force a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes. First, Rocco Grimaldi got behind the Stars’ defense and deked Anton Khudobin with an inside-out move to put Nashville ahead 2-1.

Two goals for the Stars in 26 seconds brought back memories of frustration for the visitors, but the Predators calmly answered only 20 seconds later with Filip Forsberg backhanding in a rebound for his 21st and a tie game once more – and what a clutch reply it was.

“A response after a goal against is always huge, no matter what the score is or what situation you are in,” said Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis, who had three assists on the night. “We got down there in the second for a shift or two and got right back on it before it ended, and that set the momentum in the right direction in the third for us.”

“That was huge,” Laviolette said of Forsberg’s goal. “We talked about it as we went out for the last period there, Fil’s response to get that… That’s when something can get away from you, and Fil’s response was excellent.”

In the third, it was Kyle Turris who dropped a pass off for Josi, and the Nashville captain circled around the Dallas net, came back out to the slot and got a friendly bounce to give the Preds their third and final lead of the evening. Josi iced it late with an empty-netter, and Rinne held strong to earn his 21st win of the campaign.

Tuesday’s win was satisfying for the two points alone, but the fashion in which the Predators not only evened the score after giving up two in short order, but followed through with a solid effort in the third makes it feels even better.

And after a thrilling, five-game season series, they may not be done with each other just yet.

“We played a desperate team that played with a lot of edge and a lot of attitude tonight,” Laviolette said. “They’re fighting for their lives, and like us, they’ve had some games not go their way, and that makes them on point trying to grab the points. I was really happy with the response from the last game and the fact we were able to come back from that game and put it away.”

Notes:

Craig Smith participated in warm-ups, but ended up missing the game with a lower-body injury. Frederick Gaudreau took his place in the lineup. Matt Irwin and Cody McLeod rounded out the Predators’ scratches for the contest.

Nashville has now earned at least a point in nine of its last 11 games versus Dallas (8-2-1), and the Preds have scored at least four goals in eight of their last 10 victories over the Stars.

The Predators begin a three-game homestand on Thursday when they’ll host the L.A. Kings.

Jarius Key Beats Buzzer as Motlow Bucks Edge Saluqis

Motlow State’s Jarius Key got a perfect pass from teammate Josh Greer and sunk a layup as time expired to give the Motlow Bucks a thrilling 69-67 win over Southwest Tennessee at Copperweld Arena Saturday afternoon.

The Bucks (12-4, 16-10) maintained their position tied atop the TCCAA standings. Walters State (13-4, 22-7) holds the tiebreaker over the Bucks due to the Senators beating Motlow twice this season, but if the Bucks can win their final two games and Walters State loses to Roane State Saturday, Motlow could still win the regular season title. The Bucks travel to Jackson State Wednesday and close the regular season at Columbia State Saturday.

The visiting Saluqis led the Bucks 31-25 at halftime as neither team shot the ball well in the opening 20 minutes. It was Motlow’s bench, led by Jayvon Humphrey and Key, that sparked the comeback and win in the second half. The Bucks finished the game shooting 45.5 percent from the field, with Humphrey and Key combining to go 12-16 and Humphrey hitting 5-6 three pointers. Motlow hit 8-19 from beyond the arc and 11-18 free throws.

The Bucks were strong underneath the basket, winning the rebounding battle 45-34, and Motlow dished out 22 assists while forcing the visitors into 18 turnovers.

Humphrey led Motlow with 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Key had 14 with seven rebounds. Greer had 10 points and six assists, including the game winner to Key. Kin Webster scored six with four rebounds, Leo Castillo had four points, six rebounds and five assists, and Marcus Lacey added four points and nine rebounds.

The Bucks were coming off a 113-105 overtime loss to Dyersburg State last Wednesday in a game that saw Motlow have six players score in double figures. Bryce McBride had 18, Lacey 16, Josh Endicott 14, Humphrey and Greer 13, and Darius Harding 11.

Coffee County Anglers Have Strong Performances at Saturday Tournament

Seven boats from the Coffee County Youth Bass Club competed on Saturday at Percy Priest Lake in a combination State Trail and Region Tournament.   136 Angler teams from across the state were in attendance in the high school division.  The high school Raider anglers managed a Top 6 finish and 2 finishers in the Top 25 for the event.

The junior angler team of Kalyn Mantooth and Lance Marcrom captured the win in the junior division.  Mantooth and Marcrom landed 3 keepers on the day that tipped the scales at 6.04 pounds.

The brother tandem of Branson and Dawson Wells were the top finisher as they caught 4 fish weighing in at 10.09 pounds to grab 6th place in the high school age division.  The team of Colby Thurmond and Jacob Garms finished in 24th place with a 3 fish stringer weighing in at 5.54 pounds.  Briley Sain and Caden Freeze came in 45th place with a single fish weighing in at 3.37 pounds.  Isaiah Owens and Garrett Davis finished in 52nd place with a 2.71 pound bass and the teams of Chris Tudor/Sawyer Banks and Adam Petty/Jayden Yates tied for 68th place.

In the state trail standings, Thurmond and Garms are the top Coffee County team as they sit in 32nd place.  In the South Central Region standings, the Wells brother are the top team in the region after 5 events.  Thurmond and Garms sit in 5th place.  Defending Region championship team of Owens/Davis are in striking distance in 10th place while Delainee Driver and Grayson Mangrum are in 22nd place.

The Raider anglers will hit the water again on Saturday, March 2nd when they fish a region tournament at Tims Ford.  Blast off will be at first light from the Winchester Bass Club.

CHS Baseball Team Wins Saturday Scrimmage

The Coffee County CHS baseball team hit the diamond on Saturday for their first scrimmage action of the spring.  The Red Raiders hosted Grundy County in a 10 inning preseason tilt at Powers Field.  The Red Raiders “looked better than I expected considering how little time we have had on the field” said Raider coach David Martin.   Coffee County claimed an 11 to 9 win in the scrimmage.

The highlight of the day was the performance of the Raider pitching staff that limited Grundy County to 4 hits with 18 strikeouts, but gave up 8 walks in the process.  The Coffee County defense did allow 8 unearned runs.  The Raider bats pounded out 11 hits on the contest led by Griffin Meeker who had 3 singles and drove in 3 runs.  Noah Bradshaw had a single and a double and drove in 2 runs while Skylar Bratcher had a pair of singles and 1 RBI.

On the bump, Hayden Skipper struck out 5 in 2 innings of work allowing a single hit.  Meeker pitched 2 innings surrendering a walk and no hits with 4 K’s.  Zack Milan, Owen Neel, Braden Brown, John McKelvey and Gage Edwards all saw time on the hill for Coffee County.

The Raiders scrimmage game at Forrest on Monday was cancelled due to wet field conditions.  Coffee County is set to travel to McMinnville on Saturday for a scrimmage game with Warren County.  Action will get underway at noon.

Salukis Run Win Streak to Seven with Sweep on Final Day of Puerto Vallarta Challenge

Brianna Jones of Southern Illinois softball [Photo by siusalukis.com]

By: Will Becque, SIUSalukis.com

The Southern Illinois University softball team swept a pair of NCAA Regional qualifiers from a year ago, Sacramento State and North Dakota State, Saturday night to go 4-0 at the Puerto Vallarta Challenge. SIU, which improved to 7-2 on the season, has now won seven-straight games.

The Salukis (7-2) had three players recognized on the All-Tournament team, including Tournament MVP Brianna Jones. Jones went 4-0 in the circle with a microscopic .74 ERA. The three-time All-MVC First Team selection allowed just 13 hits in 19 innings of work. She also struck out 18 while walking just four.

Ashley Wood and Jenny Jansen also earned All-Tournament honors. Wood hit a team-best .615 (8-of-13) with two extra bases hits and 3 RBI while in Puerto Vallarta, while Jansen hit .412 (7-of-17) with three extra base hits, including her first home run of the season, to go along with a team-high 7 RBI.

Game 1

The Salukis scored three runs in both the fifth and seventh innings to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets, 6-1.

Neither side scored in the opening four innings, but Southern finally got to Sacramento State’s starting pitcher Savanna Corr in the fifth as she approached the 100-pitch mark.

Megan Brown led off the fifth with a home run to left, her first of the season. Sidney Sikes drew a four-pitch walk before Maddy Vermejan doubled to right. After Susie Baranski walked, Jenny Jansen socked a pitch to center field for a single that brought in Sikes. Massa followed with a deep fly ball to score Vermejan.

After the Hornets used a pair of hits to manufacture a run off Jones in the sixth, Southern put up another crooked number in the seventh as Jenny Jansen and Katelyn Massa hit back-to-back home runs to tack on three more runs and put the game out of reach.

Brianna Jones improved to 5-1 on the season with the complete game win. Jones didn’t allow an earned run to lower her season ERA to 1.11. She scattered five hits while striking out a season-high 10.

Jansen and Vermejan each notched a pair of hits in the win. Jansen went 2-for-3 with a home run and 3 RBI, while Vermejan went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Game 2

Southern clawed its way back from a five-run deficit to tie the game in the sixth and tacked on two more runs with two outs in the top of the seventh to defeat the North Dakota State Bison, 10-8.

The Salukis scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the second as Wood tripled to right to score pinch-runner Meredith Wernig from first. Megan Brown then reached on an error that scored Wood to stake SIU to a 2-0 lead.

North Dakota State cut SIU’s lead in half with a solo home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the second. The Bison added four more runs in the frame to go ahead 5-2.

Wood came through again in the top of the third. After Jansen roped a one-out double to right field, Wood brought her home with a single up the middle to bring Southern to within two, 5-3.

North Dakota State, however, answered with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the third to build an 8-3 advantage.

SIU didn’t flinch though and got four runs back in the top of the fourth. Brown led off the inning with a walk and Shelby Hodo followed with a base knock up the middle. Pinch-hitter Jordan Spicer singled up the middle to load the bases for Vermejan, who walked on five pitches to drive in a run. Jansen hustled down the line on the next at-bat to force an overthrow by NDSU’s pitcher that scored two and made it a one-run game.

SIU’s starting pitcher Claire Miller settled in and retired six of the next seven batters she faced to keep it a one-run game heading into the sixth inning. Vermejan led off the sixth by getting hit in the elbow. Baranski then laid down a bunt on the next pitch and Vermejan, noticing that the third baseman had been drawn in on the bunt, went from first to third and came around to score after NDSU’s catcher muffled a throw when she was attempting to cover third.

Jones entered for Miller and faced the minimum in the sixth thanks to an unassisted double play by Kyleigh Decker. In the seventh, Brown led off with a single, and a sacrifice bunt moved the lead runner to second. Sidney Sikes collected her first collegiate hit to move the runners to the corners with one out. Vermejan again earned a four pitch walk to load the bases. After NDSU recorded the second out of the inning, Jansen delivered a 2-RBI single up the middle to give SIU a 10-8 lead.

North Dakota State used two hits to get one run back in the seventh but Jones induced consecutive groundouts to slam the door and seal the win.

Jones earned the win in two innings of relief to improve to 6-1 on the season. Jansen was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI in the win while Wood went 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk and two RBI.

Up Next

The Salukis are at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn. beginning on Friday, Feb. 22. The Salukis open against Ohio at 11 a.m. and take on Western Michigan at 1:30 p.m. Southern will play a total of five games during the three-day event.

Lady Raiders Upset in District Finals by Tullahoma

Coffee County Lady Raider basketball All-District players (Left to Right) Ellie Graham, Abby Morgan, Jacey Vaughn & Bella Vinson[Photo Provided]

Facing off against old rival Tullahoma on Saturday afternoon, the Coffee County Lady Raiders entered the District 8AAA championship game with all the momentum.  Having won 10 in a row against the Lady Cats and riding a win streak that stretched back to December 29th, Coffee County entered the game as an overwhelming favorite.  Tullahoma engineered a strong defensive performance and led for the majority of the game, culminating in a made free throw after time expired, to get the 32 to 31 win over the Lady Raiders.

Tullahoma’s Julia Duncan was fouled on a 3 point attempt from midcourt as the final horn sounded and drained a free throw to stun the exceptionally large Coffee County fan section in attendance.  The closing sequence was set up after a Lady Raider turnover on a layup attempt with 2 seconds left.

Coffee County was led in scoring by Bella Vinson who had 16 points as she was named the Crazy Daisies player of the game.  Jacey Vaughn finished with 6 points and Abby Morgan added 5.  After the game, Vinson was named the District 8AAA Player of the Year while Morgan, Vaughn and Ellie Graham were named to the regular season All-District team.  Coach Joe Pat Cope was named the District 8AAA Coach of the Year.  Vaughn and Vinson were named to the all-tournament team.

The Lady Raiders will advance to the Region 4AAA tournament as a #2 seed.  Play in the region tournament begins on Friday night at home sites.  Coffee County will host the 3rd place team from District 7AAA at home on Friday beginning at 7 PM at the Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gym.

Download the broadcast at: www.thunder1320.com/downloads

Red Raiders Fall in District Finals to Hot Shooting Columbia

The Red Raiders with their runner-up plaque on Saturday night[Photo provided]

Reaching the district finals for the first time since 2006, the Coffee County Red Raiders tangled with the Lions of Columbia on Saturday night in Lawrenceburg.  A hot shooting Lions team hit 12 three point baskets as they stunned the top-seeded Red Raiders.  Coffee County fell by a final score of 63 to 50.

Columbia outscored the Raiders 12 to 6 in the final 4 minutes of the 1st quarter to build a 5 point lead that they would never surrender.  The Red Raiders closed the gap to 3 points early in the second quarter only to see the Lions find their long range shooting touch with 5 baskets from long range.

Coffee County was led in scoring by Darius Rozier who finished with 24 points.  Jaxon Vaughn added 15 points as he was named the Crazy Daisies player of the game.  Kyle Farless chipped in 13 points.  After the game, Rozier was named the District 8AAA Player of the Year while Farless named to the regular season All-District team.  Coach Micah Williams was named the District 8AAA Coach of the Year.  Rozier and Farless were named to the all-tournament team.

The Red Raiders will advance to the Region 4AAA tournament as a #2 seed.  Play in the region tournament begins on Saturday night at home sites.  Coffee County will host the 3rd place team from District 7AAA at home on Saturday beginning at 7 PM at the Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gym.

Download the broadcast at: www.thunder1320.com/downloads

Mary Anne Walker Grabs Wrestling Medal for Coffee COunty

Mary Anne Walker at the TSSAA State Tournament in Franklin[Photo Provided]

The Coffee County wrestling team closed out their most successful season ever on Saturday at the TSSAA state meet in Franklin.  Lady Raider wrestler Mary Anne Walker became the second medalist in program history as she claimed a 5th place finish in the 125 pound class of the girls’ tournament on Saturday.  Walker, a sophomore, finished the tournament with a record of 2 and 2 as she won the 5th place match in a first round pinfall.

Rey Reyes(at 182 pounds) was the highest finisher for the Red Raiders as he was eliminated in the round of 16.  Reyes was 2 and 2 on the tournament as grabbed a pair of pinfall wins on Thursday.  Reyes was eliminated just short of the medal stand by a pin on Friday morning.

Coffee County’s Brett Francis(120 pounds), Chris Seagle(220) and Jesse Hay-Smith(145) bith lost their only 2 matches on Thursday night.

You can see the official results online at: http://www.tssaasports.com/wrestling

Temple Baptist Christian School Finishes 2nd in Season Ending Tournament

Cody Swayze of Temple Baptist Christian School basketball

The Eagles of Temple Baptist Christian School closed out their season in Saturday at home in their very own Eagle Invitational.  Temple finished the tournament with a record 4 and 2 with both losses coming at the hands of tournament champion Victory Baptist Academy of Shelbyville.

The Eagles went 3 and 1 in pool play as they opened play on Friday with a 49 to 34 win over Faith Christian of Jamestown.  Cody Swayze led the Eagles in scoring with 32 points as Alex Gloden added 11.  . They followed up with a loss to Victory 60 to 45.  Swayze scored 29 in the loss while Gloden once again scored 11.  The Eagles closed out Friday with a 46 to 32 win over Philadelphia Christian.  Swayze scored 32 points in the win while Gloden finished with 10 points.

On Saturday, Temple opened with a 44 to 30 win over Dogwood Christian to advance to the title game.  Swayze paced the Eagles in scoring with 27 points while Mich Gloden added 9.  In the title game with Victory, foul trouble prevented the Eagles from the revenge win.  Victory pulled away late in a 76 to 53 win.  Swayze poured in 37 points while Mich Gloden added 8.

The Eagles ended the season with a record of 11 and 8.  Senior Cody Swayze ends his career as Temple’s all-time leading scorer as he finished his career with 2,197 points for his JV(middle school) and varsity(high school) career.

Preds Drop Decision to Golden Knights

Colton Sissons’s first-period tally was taken off the board, and the Vegas Golden Knights responded with the game’s first three goals to top the Predators, 5-1, on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

The result denies Nashville’s bid for a three-game sweep of their season series with Vegas and keeps them at 73 points. The Preds will complete their two-game trip in Dallas on Tuesday.

Nashville allowed 50 shots on the night, with goaltender Juuse Saros turning aside 45 of them to keep his club in it for most of the contest, undoubtedly the best player for the Preds.

“In front of Saros, we’re lucky it wasn’t 6-0 after two periods,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “We have to be a lot better in front of him.”

“It wasn’t a good game,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We were outdone in a lot of areas and the score reflected that.”

Sissons appeared to give the visitors their first goal in the opening 20 minutes since Feb. 7 and a 1-0 lead late in the first period, but a Vegas challenge showed the play was offside and the Golden Knights took their own 1-0 lead just a couple of minutes later.

Nashville struggled to protect the slot especially across the opening 40 minutes and goals by Max Pacioretty and Brandon Pirri put the Golden Knights up 2-0 with a whopping 41 shots on goal through two periods.

“The second period is, for me, unexplainable,” Laviolette said. “That’s back-to-back second periods where we just didn’t show up.”

“In the second, they just completely took over,” Josi said. “They were faster than us, they played better, they played right in front, they wanted it more, and it’s a really bad second period from us. We left Saros all alone.”

Kevin Fiala cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 3-1 early in the third period, but a failed power-play chance and a shot that went wide of the net on a 3-on-1 bid meant that was as close as Nashville’s comeback bid would go.

Oscar Lindberg’s goal and Pacioretty’s second of the evening stretched the Vegas lead to 5-1 in the final minutes of the third.

“We have to look at it,” Josi said. “It’s been happening too much that we play a good first and come out in the second flat and don’t play well at all… We’re capable of playing a lot better and we have to fix it.”

Notes:

Preds defenseman P.K. Subban took on his younger brother, Malcolm, on Saturday. The Subbans are one of 17 brother pairings currently in the NHL.

Miikka Salomaki took part in the Predators’ morning skate on Saturday and remains on Injured Reserve. Frederick Gaudreau, Cody McLeod and Matt Irwin were scratched for Nashville against Vegas.

Nashville will face Dallas at American Airlines Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. (CT). Be on the lookout on Monday for photos from the Cotton Bowl, the venue that will host the 2020 Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Preds and Stars.

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