This past week at the Region 7-AAAA tournament in Dalton the Tigers made that goal a reality with a second-place finish to the Dalton Catamounts.
On Friday Ringgold will play its first state playoff game in “a long time,’’ Coach Jones said.
In fact, Jones said it has been “too long’’ since Ringgold (16-11) played its last state playoff game.
The Tigers defeated Gordon Central 55-38 on Thursday and Woodland 48-44 on Friday to reach the finals and a second-seed out of the region for the Class AAAA State playoffs.
Dalton (22-5) defeated Ringgold 67-54 Saturday evening.
The Tigers’ 3-point artist Jeb Black said Ringgold will now prepare for the ‘big show.’
“Sure, we wanted a region title,” Black said. “Now we want to make it to the Elite 8 in the state.”
Teammate Zach Ford said he walked away from the tournament with a “sense of pride.”
“I’m very proud of the way we played this week,” he said. “We’ve worked so hard to get here all season. And I think we proved some people wrong.”
Jones said he was impressed with the drive and determination his team displayed throughout the week.
“The kids just refused to quit ,” Jones said. “I’m so proud
Ringgold looked poised to pull another upset on Saturday against the Catamounts, but a grueling three-day schedule took its toll on the Tigers.
Black was dialed in on the rim with 14 first-half points as he led Ringgold to a 31-30 lead at the intermission.
After winning his fourth region championship, Dalton Coach Dennis Godfrey said, “Everything was going their way and we had to change it,” Dalton went to full-court pressure against the tired Tigers and went on an 18-2 run that ended Ringgold’s hopes.
The Cats also were able to slow Black to four second-half points and standout Anthony Lumpkin to 10.
Dalton’s Tony Seals led his team with 16 points and Franky Pinson added 14.
Ringgold boys shock Woodland
The Ringgold boys scored the final 11 points of the game to pull out a 48-44 victory over Woodland (19-5) on Friday to reach the championship game.
Ringgold got a pair of treys from Jeb Black to pull to within 44-43 with 1:11 to go. The Tigers’ Anthony Lumpkin then hit a lay-up with 48 seconds left to give Ringgold the lead at 45-44.
Black added two free throws in the final seconds and Lumpkin added one to complete the scoring down the stretch.
Black finished the game with 19 points and Lumpkin added 18 for Ringgold. Emanuel Holloway and Chris Morgan had 14 points each for Woodland.
Ringgold comes back to defeat Gordon Central
The ‘third time proved to be a charm’ for Ringgold Coach Steve Jones and his basketball team on Thursday.
Ringgold had lost to Gordon Central (14-13) twice this season, but would not be denied against the Warriors.
The Tigers mounted a comeback and defeated Gordon Central 55-38.
The win denied Gordon Central of a repeat trip to the state tournament.
“Give Ringgold credit, they got after us,” Warriors head coach Mike Duffie said.
Trailing 30-26 at the half, Ringgold stepped up the man-to-man defense in the third period and shut the Warriors out.
“That was as good of a defensive effort as I’ve ever had a team play,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, Ringgold was putting 11 points on the scoreboard to turn the game around with a 37-30 advantage entering the final period.
Shawn Gutierrez ended the Gordon Central drought with a quick trey to slice the lead to four early in the quarter. But Ringgold responded with eight consecutive points to extend the lead to 45-33. Gordon Central could not recover and would only get within nine in the final minutes of the game.
Zach Ford had 13 points for Ringgold. Anthony Lumpkin added 12 points and Jeb Black 10. Greg Gregory led Gordon Central with 13 points.
Gordon Central, 57 Ringgold girls, 45
The Ringgold girls season ended on Monday, Feb. 10, with a 57-45 loss to Gordon Central (12-14).
Ringgold Coach Wally Tallent said he was disappointed with the Tigers early exit, but commended his team for improvements he said they had made over the season.
“We played them (Gordon Central) closer than we did last time,” he said. “That’s all I can ask.”
Ringgold finishes the season at 6-20.
Junior post Brittany Modrall said she had hoped for a better finish.
“We felt like we had something to prove this week,” Modrall said. “We had the potential to win and we had the talent to be competitive this season. But things just don’t always go you’re way.”
Ringgold started slow trailing 14-1 in the beginning of the first quarter. But Modrall helped bring the Tigers back.
Ringgold cut the margin to 14-9 behind the efforts of Modrall, who finished with 14 points.
Ringgold’s Rachel Norris and Carey Carpenter opened up the third period with back-to-back treys to make it a 27-25 battle.
But the Warriors hit 9 of 17 free throws in the final quarter to secure the win.
Amy Freeman led Gordon Central with 15, including two treys.
Carpenter had 11 points, including a pair of treys.
Rome destroys LFO’s hopes of a state berth
LFO Coach Jerry Jones and his Warriors will have to wait until next season for another shot at the state tournament.
The veteran coach led his team to the state after a losing season last year, but wasn’t as fortunate this season.
Jones said his team “overcame a lot of adversity this season.”
“These boys are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. I’ll remember this team.”
With LFO dressing only six varsity players, Rome handed the Warriors a 62-48 loss on Monday night.
Twin brothers Bo and Clay Guest combined for 23 points for LFO.
“We played hard, but we just couldn’t get off a shot,” Jones said. “Rome is good team and with only one guy over 6-foot, we really didn’t have a chance.”
Rome eliminates Lady Warriors
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe trailed 24-23 at the half. But Rome outscored the Warriors 14-9 in the third period on Tuesday, Feb. 11 and went on to record the 46-32 win.
Katie Speiser was the only Lady Warrior to reach double digits. The guard netted a total of 16 points, including two treys just days after scoring her season-high of 32 points against LaFayette.
Keanna Harris led the Wolves with 11 points and Sarah Collins added 10