The Lady Jackets finished up their season in the region tournament Friday night in Macon County. This was the first appearance in a region tournament for the girls’ basketball team in five years. They made it in spite of the tough schedule they faced and the obstacles they encountered.
This team’s seniors have had four coaches in four years, with their last coach resigning four months after being hired and only one month prior to the first game of the season. When this occurred in October, the assistant coaches and volunteers were left wondering what happened and what to do next.
Ricky Richards and Petie Baker had come out of retirement to be the girls’ team assistant coaches, and Amanda Ruehling had volunteered to help the new coach however she could. After many conversations and even more prayers, the group agreed that they could not leave the girls high and dry; thus Ruehling and Richards agreed to become co-head coaches to help the girls salvage their basketball season.
So began the unexpected journey of an old coach—who won the only state championship in Grundy County history—and his former player, who scored the last six points to win that championship. The guidance of these coaches and the leadership of the seniors helped lead these girls to a 14-14 record.
The Lady Jackets finished the year placing third in the regular season, and third in the district tournament.
“To say I’m proud and honored to be a part of this team is an understatement. I love these young ladies,” said Coach Amanda.
Macon Co. 84 – Lady Jackets 41
The Lady Jackets gave it their all against the number two seeded Macon County in their final game. Macon County, who had a 26-5 record, proved to be a tough team and ultimately controlled the game offensively and defensively. The Lady Jackets were able to make some small runs but they weren’t able to stop the offense of Macon County.
Lacy Nunley led the Lady Jackets with 12 points with two three pointers. Teah Bosio followed with 9 points including a three. Ragan Meeks scored 8 points with two from behind the arc. Peyton Mainord and McKenzie Broadway had 5 points each with Broadway hitting a three. Delaney Hughes contributed with 3 points.
The Jackets finished up their season in the region tournament Saturday, on their home court against Watertown. Getting to the region tournament was an accomplished goal for the team. Head coach and former Yellow Jacket Kevin Butner has had this group of young men for three years, one as an assistant and two as a head coach, and has helped develop and lead them to a winning season. This group of seniors and underclassmen went from a losing season of 8-20 last year to a 17-8 winning season this year.
The Jackets finished the year placing second in the regular season, second in the district tournament, and made an appearance in the region tournament for the first time in five years.
“You never want to see a season end. I can’t say enough about my seniors. They are an amazing group of boys that mean a lot to me. They have worked extremely hard to take the program to where it is now. I can’t thank them enough for the foundation they have laid for this program. This was definitely a season that the Jacket fans will always remember,” said Butner.
Watertown 65- Jackets 53
Grundy started out slow in the beginning as Watertown jumped out to an 11-0 lead before the Jackets scored their first bucket. The Jackets were able to make a run bringing the score closer at 15-18 by the end of the quarter. At the half, the Jackets were still down 27-35. In the third quarter, the two teams were trading buckets with both scoring 13 points each. As the game was nearing an end the Jackets had to start fouling as Watertown was trying to stall the ball. Watertown was spot on with their foul shots only missing three of their ten foul shots stretching their lead for the win.
Trey Hampton led the Jackets with 21 points with four threes. Noah Bean followed with 14 points. Cullen Anderson scored 12 points including a three. Josh Nance, Kenzie Hill, and Jordan Hackworth all had 2 points each.