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Middle school hoops season drawing to a close

  • Elly Leander jumps through two Northview defend- ers in the post-season district tournament. The LadySenatorswon39-28. - Ricky Williams

  • Blake Lowe (left) and Lincoln Tummel grab a rebound for Norris in the district tournament. - Ricky Williams

The middle school basketball season is nearing an end. Teams are jockeying for post-season positions.

Despite playing during a pandamec with all its cancellations and re-scheduling, players still made names for themselves with their play.

Norris boys

The Norris boys finished 10-4 for the season, with Coach Travis Tummel saying he was pleased with the results.

“I feel good overall,” said Tummel. “They were a one-win team last year. The kids played really hard. It just took a little while to learn how to win in close ballgames. I’m for sure happy with the outcome, and more happy about where the kids are both skill-wise and“basketball-IQ-wise versus the beginning of the year.”

Tummel said that while Brandon Dake has been awesome all year long, he would say that Cody Miller and Waylon Larue have improved the most over the course of the season.

“They’re the ones that surprised me,” said Tummel.

“I’m just proud of the kids,” he continued. “It’s been awesome to have the opportunity to be around them. They’re great kids with great families and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Norris Girls

The Norris girls finished 13-4 this season under first year head coach Savannah Cummings.

“I’m a proud coach,” said Cummings. “I think all of my girls have worked really hard and I’m thankful this has got to be my first year as a head coach with these girls.

“Carley Kitts has been phenomenal. She’s been a big leader on our team this year as an eighth-grader. Saylor Hutcheson is another girl who’s been a leader both on and off the floor for our girls.”

Norris beat Northview in the regional finals, qualifying them for the sectional tournament.

“We have not got to play in quite as many games as we had anticipated,” said Cummings. “But our girls have worked so hard and we’ve done pretty well.”

Lake City boys

The Lake City boys finished their regular season 6-3. Head Coach, Andrew Harrison said the season was great.

“We started out really strong, but had some setbacks due to COVID and other illnesses,” he said. “We start district tournament play soon, and have the potential to win the district for the first time in school history. We also have the potential to go to the sectional tournament three years in a row, which has never been done.”

Two boys from the team were named to the district’s “Best All Around”: Trent Strickland and Dylan Hopper.

Lake City girls

The Lake City girls finished their own season 3-7.

“It was a great season, too,” said Hopper. “Our girls improved tremendously. We had some ups and downs, but they never quit, and they always stayed motivated to get better and learn. They won in the first round of the district tournament and will play against Oakdale next.”

Emerie Bullock was an honorable mention for the team’s “Best All Around.”

Norwood boys

The Norwood boys basketball team had a rough season this year, finishing 1-8, with Coach Justin Taylor saying of the season: “There was a lot left to be desired.”

“We didn’t play as well as I thought we would,” said Taylor. “We didn’t execute when we needed to, or do the small things that helped take care of the bigger things to win as much as we wanted.”

Taylor said his eighth-graders bore the brunt of the weight this year, but one sixth-grader consistently stood out.

“My eighth-graders really carried the load this year, but toward the end of it, Reed White definitely stepped up,” he said. “He started the last five games, and I was just super impressed with his toughness and physicality all throughout the season.”

Norwood girls

The Norwood girls also had a rough year, going 1-8 themselves after a COVID outbreak sidelining the team.

“We ended up having a nice little COVID break that hit us right after Thanksgiving,” said Coach Justin Taylor. “Things just really never got back to normal after that, so we struggled to find our rhythm and any sort of flow after that. At the end of it, we only had seven girls on our varsity roster.”

Taylor said he was really proud of the sixth-graders, and how well they adapted throughout the season.

“All of the sixth-graders really stood out,” he said. “As the saying goes, they had to learn to fly as the plane was being built. We were super young anyway, but it really showed at the end just how young we were with how many sixth-graders we had starting each game. My last four games, I didn’t have an eighth-grader playing at all. We were just driving the struggle bus this season.”

Clinton boys

The Clinton Boys had a rough season this year, finishing sixth in their district before being eliminated midway through the post-season tournament. Their final record was 6-15.

Coach Ken White said the season was tough.

“We were dealing with a bunch of inexperienced kids, and COVID didn’t help us any,” he said. “These kids just needed more time together.”

White said he has a good group returning next year, though, and hopes their experience will translate to a strong team.

“We got a good nucleus of seventh-graders coming back that will have a lot of playing time,” he said. “We’re probably one kid away next year from making a really good run.”

Clinton girls

The Lady Hawks finished their regular season 8-2, tying for first place.

“I felt our season went really well,” said Coach Kristen Land. “We ended up tied for first at the end of the district, and that was our goal. We were able to meet that. A really good thing we did was we were able to win our really close games. The games we lost we were never really in them to begin with. That was good, we hit the shots we needed to hit.”

Land said that Allie York was the leading scorer for the season, while Bailey Burroughs was the leading rebounder.

“We had two others that really deserve some recognition, too,” she said. “Ashaunti Davis was steady and consistent the whole season, and Lanee Carmichael really stepped in when we had a couple girls out from contact tracing.”