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Kelly Hodge

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Woods steps ups with exceptional night for Buffs

November 14th, 2013 10:20 pm by Kelly Hodge

Milligan College basketball coach Bill Robinson generally doesn’t like to see his point guard dominate the scoring. But there are exceptional nights.
Mickey Woods had one of those nights last Saturday at Berea College in Kentucky.
The junior from Port Arthur, Texas poured in 45 points — making 15 of 25 shots from the field and 12 of 16 free throws – in the Buffs’ 100-97 overtime victory.
That wasn’t too far off the school record of 52 points, set by Lance Ashby in 2002. Suffice it to say it was a special night.
“Everybody else was in foul trouble; there were a ton of fouls called,” Robinson said Thursday. “Mickey had 24 at halftime and just kept going. He scored in every way imaginable.
“Normally we don’t want our point guard taking 25 shots, because we’re better when we’re balanced across the board, but it was just one of those nights.”
The good feelings didn’t last too long for the Buffs, who were off to a 3-0 start. They went home for their Appalachian Athletic Conference opener on Tuesday night and lost to Union, 80-72.
It wasn’t the kind of shooting performance Robinson, whose team was picked second in the preseason, was looking for.
“We missed 21 free throws and 21 threes,” he said. “It’s hard to win games like that. Most of the threes were our best shooters with good looks … we were at home and I know we’ve shot on those rims before.”
Maybe another trip to Kentucky will get the Buffs back on track. They visit Alice Lloyd in Pippas Passes for a non-conference game Saturday night.
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Union actually pulled off a sweep in that double-header Tuesday night at Lacy Fieldhouse.
The Lady Bulldogs knocked off Milligan 84-70 in the women’s game earlier. That qualified as something of an upset; the Lady Buffs are co-favorites with Tennessee Wesleyan to win the AAC championship, with Union picked third.
“We were very uneven, had spurts that were good and spurts that were bad,” said Milligan coach Rich Aubrey.  “It’s still so early for everybody. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be playing conference games this early in the season. That’s just part of being in a big conference.”
Aubrey’s team now turns its attention to the Milligan Classic this weekend. Selma University of Alabama, Carroll College of Montana and Alice Lloyd will join the Lady Buffs for the two-day event.
The first game is tonight at 5:30 between Selma and Alice Lloyd, followed by Milligan and Carroll at 7:30. On Saturday, Alice Lloyd and Carroll will play at noon, with Milligan and Selma set to tip off at 2.
The Lady Buffs lost at Selma 72-68 in an exhibition game on Nov. 2.
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Winning cross country championships never gets old for Milligan coach Chris Layne.
Layne’s women’s team completely dominated the AAC meet again last Saturday in Dayton. It was the Lady Buffs’ 11th straight conference championship and sends them to the national meet next weekend in Lawrence, Kansas.
“We certainly don’t get tired of winning it, but I’m sure some other folks are tired of us doing it,” Layne said Thursday. “We’ve created a tradition here, and the girls feed off of that. When the young folks come in, they’re educated on that tradition and it’s part of what drives them.”
Led by senior Lauren Grindstaff of Kingsport, the Lady Buffs placed six runners in the top 10. Grindstaff ran 18:49 over the 5K course to win the race and earn AAC runner-of-the-year honors.
“She’s a fifth-year senior who took last year off and had foot surgery,” said Layne. “It was a chronic issue, but it’s been taken care of and she’s been running very well. We knew Lauren had an upside out of high school (at Dobyns-Bennett); we just didn’t know she’d be this good.”
Grindstaff is unique for Layne to coach in more ways than one.
“She got married and is in graduate school, so she’s very professional in how she handles things,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about her because she just takes care of business. I probably don’t give her enough credit as a leader; she just does it by example.”
Sophomore Meagan Wright was runner-up at the AAC meet, with junior Mackenzie Patten third.
The Lady Buffs head to Kansas as the NAIA’s 18th-ranked team. They’ll be shooting for their fifth top-10 finish in the last decade.
The team’s best showing was third in 2007.
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The Milligan men finished third at the AAC meet, behind nationally ranked Bryan and Tennessee Wesleyan. All eight runners turned in career bests in the 8K.
Junior Nathan Meeuwenberg took fifth place with a time of 24:52, followed by freshman Taylor Tafelsky in sixth and junior Christian Brewer. The three qualified as individuals for the national meet.
Thirty-two men’s and women’s teams will compete there, along with qualified individuals. The field for each race will have between 300 and 400 runners.
“It’s about individual battles really,” said Layne, “and I think each of our guys is high end. They’ve put the times on the board, and it’s an even playing field. For me, I want to see them run in the top 50. I think that would be a great achievement.”
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A couple of former Daniel Boone High School runners also made good showings in Dayton.
Roderick Bowman finished fourth overall with a school-record of 24:27 to help Tennessee Wesleyan earn its first national berth. Chad Whitehead, also running for the Bulldogs, finished 14th with a personal-best 25:46.

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