Published: February 21, 2013
Two Rutherford County middle school basketball teams were crowned recently as the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association state champions, Rock Springs in the girls and Oakland in the boys division.
Rock Springs finished off a perfect season with a 25-0 record, while Oakland Middle only had two losses on the season in route to a state championship and a 21-2 record.
For the Lady Golden Knights, before the 2012-13 season, the team talked about needing to “hold the rope” in order achieve all of its goals, which included an undefeated season, along with a county and state title.
The Golden Knights defeated fellow county rival, the Christiana Middle Cougars, in the state finals 49-39, held Feb. 9.
“Our team sat down at the beginning of the season and decided we were going to make this team the best in the history of the school or even the county,” RSMS head coach Terry Patient said. “I told them for that to happen everyone would have to ‘Hold the Rope.’ I posted the poster below in our locker room and everyone adopted it. These girls held the rope and I am extremely proud of every one of them.
The Rock Springs team was filled with county All-Stars, like Tyra Hughes, Kesha Brady, the Ferby Twins – Brianah and Brandi. Even with a stellar linup, the team lost one of its best players and leaders, Kiyah Clark, because of a season-ending injury earlier in the season.
Patient was pleased with how everyone else on the team stepped in and filled an increased role in Clark’s absence.
“It felt great, because we had been playing for it for a long time,” Hughes said.
When the team returned to school the following week, the players were treated to a hero’s welcome by everyone else on campus, including a pep rally.
“Everybody was proud of us, and told us ‘good game, you brought another win home,’” Brady said.
Patient added, “When I walked into the gym the Monday after the championship, the whole student body began to cheer, and it was quite overwhelming. The pride of all of the teachers, students, and staff was evident with all of the wonderful words of congratulations and the similes on their faces.”
Speaking of success, the Oakland Middle boys’ basketball team continued winning tradition of the Charger athletic program in only three years of existence.
So far, the school has won county titles in football, baseball, softball, girls’ soccer and boys’ basketball. It was just another trophy to put in the case for the Oakland Middle faculty.
“The faculty and the students at the school have been very excited about the state championship,” Chargers head coach Brad Decker said. “School principal (Sandra) Eaton even rearranged the entire trophy case to make room for the five-and-a-half-foot tall trophy. For a school that is only in its third year, the school spirit and commitment to athletics is phenomenal. The faculty and students are very committed to the extracurricular activities at OMS. As a coach, I could not ask for better school support.”
Just like the girls’ champs, the Chargers also had to deal with losing a key player to injury during the season.
However, Decker and the other players was proud of how the team hung in and finished the job of winning a state title by defeating Kenwood, 39-19, on Feb. 9.
“All of that hard work paid off, that we started during the summer,” Charger All-Star Drew Blomberg said before the County All-Star game. “Coach (Decker) told us to do our job, and we will come out state champs.”
Other Oakland Middle All-Stars included Davonte Harris, Dre Litaker, Cody Miller and state tournament most valuable player Omar Lyons. Litaker, Miller and Lyons were named to the County All-Star Team, but they were unable to take part in the actual game because of prior school commitments.
Now the middle school teams head into the spring season competing in five different sports: baseball, softball, track, golf and boys’ soccer.