2016 Sports Year in Review

By SCOTTY NICHOLS
Sports Editor

The 2016 calender year was one of ups and downs with sports in Itawamba county. As always, we provide a year-end review of selected highlights and memorable moments from the various athletic fields and courts graced by Itawamba’s athletes.

1/7 – Mantachie’s Montgomery drops 37 on Tish County

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Mantachie eighth grader McKinley Montgomery drives past a Tishomingo County defender for two of her game-high 37 points during the Lady Mustangs' win at the Peggy Bain Christmas Classic at Alcorn Central.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Mantachie eighth grader McKinley Montgomery drives past a Tishomingo County defender for two of her career-high 37 points during the Lady Mustangs’ win at the Peggy Bain Christmas Classic at Alcorn Central.

GLEN – Mantachie’s eighth-grade phenom McKinley Montgomery started the year off with a bang, when she dropped a career-high 37 points in the Lady Mustangs’ 59-51 victory of class 4A rival Tishomingo County at the annual Peggy Bain Memorial Christmas Tournament at Alcorn Central high school.

1/22 – Mallory ends Lady Indians’ drought against Pontotoc
FULTON – IAHS star forward, and Delta State-signee, Tori Mallory ended a bitter drought with, perhaps, one of the sweetest moments of her prep career.
The Lady Indians hadn’t defeated rival Pontotoc since the 2010 division 1-4A tournament, and Mallory calmly knocked down a jumper from the elbow of the free-throw line to break a 40-40 tie and elevate her IAHS squad to a huge win with the buzzer-beater.

2/17 – IAHS retires Brian Dozier’s jersey
FULTON – Former Itawamba AHS and Southern Miss baseball

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM 2016 was a big year for former Itawamba AHS standout baseball player Brian Dozier. Dozier, now with the MLB's Minnesota Twins, followed up his 2015 All-Star season by breaking the American League record for home runs hit by a second baseman in a single season. Dozier is pictured speaking to a Fulton crowd at a ceremony to retire his high school jersey at H.D. McGee Field at Fulton City Park back in February.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
2016 was a big year for former Itawamba AHS standout baseball player Brian Dozier. Dozier, now with the MLB’s Minnesota Twins, followed up his 2015 All-Star season by breaking the American League record for home runs hit by a second baseman in a single season. Dozier is pictured speaking to a Fulton crowd at a ceremony to retire his high school jersey at H.D. McGee Field at Fulton City Park back in February.

standout, and current Minnesota Twins’ second baseman, Brian Dozier, was honored by his high school alma mater by having his jersey retired.
In a ceremony which included many of Dozier’s former high school teammates, coaches, past and present members of the IAHS baseball program, family, friends, fans and various media outlets, Dozier gave a short speech before having a display of his old No. 1 jersey, which he wore as a member of the IAHS Indians from 2002-2005, hung on the centerfield fence of H.D. McGee Field at Fulton City Park.

4/13 – Tremont, Mantachie archery three-peats as state champs
JACKSON – Tremont and Mantachie high schools continued their dominance of archery at the 1A and 2A levels by each capturing their third-straight state championship, pulling off an Itawamba county “twin three-peat.”
Mantachie’s Timothy Gatlin was the star of the day, as he shot an incredible 290, including perfect 10s on 21 of his 30 total shots on the day.
IAHS also inched closer to an archery state title, finishing second to Lawrence County in class 4A.

5/11 – Lady Mustangs fall just short of 2A state title series
MANTACHIE – The Mantachie Lady Mustangs saw their remarkable 2016 fastpitch season come to a bitter end, as they fell at home to defending 2A state champion and powerhouse East Webster.
The Lady Mustangs navigated to an impressive 25-4 record before falling to the Lady Wolverines, who were 26-0 at the series end.
The young Mantachie squad set the school’s best mark with their 25-6 record and displayed promise for the immediate future.

6/15 – IAHS hosts successful Maikhail Miller Memorial Alumni Baseball game

Photo by Casey Nichols 2009 IAHS baseball member Shante Rogers (gold) tries to avoid a tag from 2016 Indian Hunter White during the Maikhail Miller Memorial IAHS Alumni Game.

Photo by Casey Nichols
2009 IAHS baseball member Shante Rogers (gold) tries to avoid a tag from 2016 Indian Hunter White during the Maikhail Miller Memorial IAHS Alumni Game.

FULTON – Former IAHS standout athlete and Ole Miss/Murray State quarterback Maikhail Miller was tragically killed in an automobile in late-January of 2016, and former teammates, coaches and friends introduced an alumni baseball game to raise money for a scholarship fund, in his honor.
The contest featured Miller’s 2009 IAHS teammates, who were knocked out of the 4A playoffs by eventual state champion West Lauderdale in the third round, and his younger brother, Vijay’s, 2016 team.
The youthful Indians held on to fend off a furious comeback attempt by the elder Indian squad, for a 4-3 win.

8/1 – Fulton’s Webster gets top-10 finish in Forrest Wood Cup
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Joseph Webster didn’t waste any time making the most of his opportunity on the professional FLW circuit, by recording a 10th-place finish at the Forrest Wood Cup in Huntsville, Alabama.
Webster averaged nine pounds of fish per day at the four-day tournament, to solidify his top-10 finish.

9/14 – Netflix’s “Last Chance U” visits Fulton
FULTON – The Netflix original docu-drama series “Last Chance U” spent a day in Fulton, chronicling a day in the life of former IAHS and current East Mississippi Community College quarterback Vijay Miller.
The series focuses on specific players with various backgrounds, and Miller was chosen as a subject to follow throughout the 2016 football season.
Season two is set to release on Netflix in July of 2017.

9/21 – McDonald, Dozier setting milestones at professional levels
Fulton natives Ally McDonald and Brian Dozier made headlines in the LPGA and MLB in mid-September.
McDonald, a former IAHS and Mississippi State golf star, has competed on the Symetra Tour and punched a ticket for a card on the LPGA Tour in 2017. She earned a spot in the LPGA Evian Championship tournament in Evian, France, and managed a 30th-place finish among the best female golfers in the world.
Meanwhile, Dozier set an American League record for most home runs by a second baseman in Major League Baseball history.
Dozier, a 2014 home run derby participant and 2015 MLB All-Star, slugged 42 home runs during the 2016 season to break the record.

10/19 – Dorsey becomes first Itawamba school to feature bass team
DORSEY – With school sports variety at an all-time high, Dorsey

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Members of the 2016-2017 Dorsey fishing team are, standing left to right, coach Sandy Webb, Mickey Hood, Garrett Byers, Marcus Litton, Aaron Steele, Chance Williams, Kaitlyn Bethay and coach Carson Cook. Seated left to right, Gracie Attwood and Chasity Moore.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Members of the 2016-2017 Dorsey fishing team are, standing left to right, coach Sandy Webb, Mickey Hood, Garrett Byers, Marcus Litton, Aaron Steele, Chance Williams, Kaitlyn Bethay and coach Carson Cook. Seated left to right, Gracie Attwood and Chasity Moore.

Attendance Center became the first Itawamba county school to chart new waters -literally, as well as metaphorically- by introducing a bass fishing team.
Itawamba Community College introduced its bass team in 2015-2016, and the sport seems to be picking up steam.
With Dorsey the first school to make the move, other county schools are poised to follow their lead.

11/9 – IAHS swimming makes splash in state competitions
FULTON – In only its third year of existance, the Itawamba AHS swim team racked up on medals in the 2016 state swimming contests.
The Indians produced a pair of state champions, siblings Cooper and Ginny Ray Clevenger, while Eliza Johnson finished second to Ginny Ray in the 100-meter fly for a silver medal.
The girls relay team, consisting of Clevenger, Johnson, Tori Suggs and Katherine Pate, also produced a bronze-medal showing in the 200-meter medley relay.

11/23 – Montgomery named 1-2A co-player of the year

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Mantachie freshman McKinley Montgomery enjoyed a wildly successful 2016 sports year. Lettering in nine different varsity sports before taking a high school class, Montgomery started 2016 by dropping a career-high 37 points on the hardwood against Tishomingo County then helped guide the Lady Mustangs to the north 2A fastpitch finals in the spring, before slamming 25 home runs for the slowpitch team, to kick off her freshman year, and was later named division 1-2A co-player of the year.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Mantachie freshman McKinley Montgomery enjoyed a wildly successful 2016 sports year. Lettering in nine different varsity sports before taking a high school class, Montgomery  helped guide the Lady Mustangs to the north 2A fastpitch finals in the spring, before slamming 25 home runs for the slowpitch team, to kick off her freshman year, and was later named division 1-2A co-player of the year.

MANTACHIE – McKinley Montgomery finished 2016 as strong as she started, being named division 1-2A’s slowpitch co-player of the year, along with East Union’s Emily Coggin.
Montgomery possesses a wide skill set on the field and was instrumental in the Lady Mustangs’ success by driving 25 home runs.
Montgomery’s teammates Mackenzie Guin, Emilee Clouse, Lynsey Barber, Jade Miller, Hannah Sparks and Hallie Lindsey were also named to the all-division 1-2A team.

*Compiled by Scotty Nichols

scotty.nichols@journalinc.com
Twitter: @ScotNic24

About Scotty Nichols

Graduate of THE University of Mississippi. #HottyToddy. I like sports. And BBQ.

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