It was Hall of Fame weekend on the campus of Cleveland State Community College as the inaugural class was inducted into the Cleveland State Cougar Hall of Fame at a luncheon on Saturday morning at the Mountain View Inn.
Steve Williams and Gene Meadows were honored in the men's basketball category while Zandra Montgomery, Data Caldwell, Liz Hannah and Melinda Shell were inducted for women's basketball.
Rhonda Snow and Kim Gentry were inducted for women's softball while Mike Fitzgerald, Mike Moore, Scott Bell, Ted May and Larry Simcox were the inaugural baseball inductees.
Jim Gibson, Lynn Griffith and Ralph Buckner Jr. were the tennis inductees while Mike Benson, Tom Maupin and Winston Prince were the golf representatives.
In the coaches and administrators category, Joe Crabtree, Hugh Walker, Steve Longley and Jim Cigliano were the honorees while Robert Kincaid and Norma Davis were inducted for Meritorious Service.
After all the morning festivities had subsided, it was time for the Cougars and Lady Cougars to move down the hill to L.Quentin Lane Gymnasium for a huge Region VII Conference matchup with their rivals to the south the Chattanooga State Tigers.
Chattanooga State rained on the Cougar parade though, as they swept both games with a 79-74 win in the men's contest while the Lady Cougars had a tough time in the women's contest as they dropped a 59-46 decision to the Lady Tigers.
The Cougars were about as hot as it gets to start the men's contest as they hit the Tigers with a 15-2 run almost before the large crowd could settle into their seats. Gabe Dando started the game with a three point bomb and Trey Suttles added a pair of buckets in the paint.
Ralph Eason, playing on a sore knee, took over from their with three driving layups and later added a pair of shots from downtown as the Cougars pushed their lead to 21-9 midway through the first half.
The Tigers then warmed a bit and began to whittle away at the lead as a pair of buckets and even nicer assists by Nick Ross helped the visitors erase the Cleveland State lead with two and a half minutes to go in the half. Cayman Dial and Orlandis Jackson hit a pair of buckets each in the paint during the run as the Tigers took a brief lead at 26-25.
Eason put a stop to the Tiger run with a pair of three balls as the Cougars would hold a 35-31 halftime advantage. Both teams shot over 40 percent in the first half while the Cougars shot 47 percent.
The Tigers scored the first seven points of the second half to take the lead. A slam dunk from Eason on the back end of and alley-oop from Suttles cut the lead to one point and three straight buckets from Suttles in the paint briefly gave the the Cougars the lead, 53-51 midway through the final stanza.
Nick Ross then took complete control of the Chattanooga State ship and came back to bite the hand that once fed him as the former Cougar began to rain down shots from every point on the court. Ross tossed in 26 of his game high 32 points in the final 20 minutes of play including five shots from three-point land as the Tiger lead jumped into double digits.
A three-pointer from Dantario Dansby helped the Cougars complete a comeback though, as they tied the game at 64 all with just over four minutes to play, but a pair of treys from Ross put an end to the uprising as the Tigers held on for the hard-fought win.
Both teams shot over 50 percent for the game, but the difference came from the three-point line where the Tigers were 9-19 while the Cougars were just 4-20. After Ross' 32 points, Demetrius Kitchens added 18 points and eight boards, Orlandis Jackson finished with nine points and Cayman Dial had eight as well. Eason paced the Cougars (12-8, 6-6) with 27 points 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals while Suttles finished with 18 points six assists and six steals.
LADY TIGERS 59
LADY COUGARS 46
Neither team shot the ball very well in the first half as both teams hit only nine shots each with the Lady Cougars shooting only 28 percent to 36 percent for the Lady Tigers. Despite their shooting woes, the Lady Cougars held a small lead throughout the first half. A three-pointer from Jara Gasper and a three-point play by Hannah Brown helped the home team maintain its lead, but Sierra Sales countered that with eight points in the paint for Chattanooga State.
Cleveland State opened a 24-18 lead with just over six minutes to play in the first half, but then went ice cold while the Lady Tigers proceeded to go on a 9-0 run and take a one point advantage, 27-26 at halftime.
Shea Nunn and Chelsea Jones scored the first four points of the second half for Cleveland State, but after that made buckets were few and far between for the home team. Four straight free tosses from Stevonna Scott gave the Lady Tigers the lead as they would never trail in the contest again. Sales picked up where she left off in the first half with 16 second half points and dominated the boards on both ends.
The Lady Cougars cut the lead to two points and had a shot to tie the game at the five minute mark, but the Lady Tigers were equal to the task as they finished the game with a 12-2 run to take the big conference win. Cleveland State shot only 25 percent for the game while Chattanooga State shot 35 percent.
Sales had a monster game to lead Chattanooga State with 24 points and 17 rebounds including a perfect 10 out of 10 at the free throw line. Scott finished with 15 points and Khamiyah Crawford added 12. Jones paced the Lady Cougars (13-8, 6-6) with 17 points and seven boards while Jasmine Davis added eight points.
Cleveland State will host Walters State on Wednesday at 6:00. The games can be watched live via the Cougar Sports Network by going to the Cleveland State website and following the links.