Banks Trail revels in unprecedented night of Fort Mill basketball

FORT MILL — Banks Trail Middle School may be less than 10 years old, but the Timberwolves’ sports teams are filling the school’s trophy case as if they’ve been around forever. Recently, they added four new championships — all in one night.

Both the boys’ and girls’ seventh and eighth grade basketball teams won Fort Mill Athletic Conference titles in consecutive games. As Banks Trail, which opened in 2011, gets ready to focus on spring sports, here’s a recap of that magical night of Timberwolves basketball (Editor’s note: We’re still waiting for information from the eighth grade girls championship game and will update this story as soon as it’s available):

Photos by Rob Upton

Eighth grade boys

Playing against a particularly athletic Springfield Middle School team, Banks Trail prevailed 41-35.

“They had some good shooters and some guys that could get to the basket really well,” coach Breton Kennington said. “Our guys did a great job stopping that dual threat for most of the game.”

Grant Lovette was the leading scorer for the Timberwolves with 13 point, “including some really clutch free throws at the end of the game,” Kennington said.

 Quinn Ford had eight points and 10 rebounds. Kennington cited several other major contributors:

“Brody Tesimale had some critical points, rebounded well and came up big defensively,” he said. “Donquel Yancy locked down defensively, hit some crucial three-pointers, and only turned the ball over once the entire game.

Banks Trail went 9-1 in the regular season and finished 11-1 overall.

“The starting five played a fantastic game,” Kennington said. “They have risen up to just about every challenge they faced throughout the season.  We let a big lead slip in the second half, but the starting five came back in and came up big defensively to secure the victory.”

Seventh grade girls

Playing the No. 1 seed, Pleasant Knoll Middle School, Banks Trail was looking to repeat something it did in the regular season – hang a loss on the Knighthawks. Both teams were 9-1 in the regular season and Pleasant Knoll was looking to avenge the only blemish on its record.

The ‘Hawks came close, but the T-wolves grinded out a 42-40 win in overtime.

“It was a team effort with Kyleen Bents playing outstanding defense, big time baseline jump shots from Olivia Dubrow and Avery Causey,” coach Sue Tuthill said. “Sadie Commerford who recently worked her way into the starting line up had a huge steal, full court layup and baseline jumper. Lastly, Alyssa Ramadanovic came into the game in overtime and showcased her outstanding defensive skills, helping shut down PKMS’ biggest threat in the final minutes of the game.”

BTMS team captain and season MVP Skyla Tuthill was nearly a one-girl wrecking crew with 33 points , 15 rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block. She also sent the game into overtime with a pair of clutch free throws with just two seconds left in regulation.”

“I would like to add that I am super proud of each and every one of my 10 players,” Sue Tuthill said.  

“This season we had a 100 percent attendance record at all mandatory practices and our successful season was not attributed to the performance of a few players . It was because of the dedication and commitment of all my players and the hard work at practices.”

She also gave a shout-out to Talia Gluff, Hannah Hebert, Alexia Wallace and Marlee Metz for helping Banks Trail (11-1 overall) earn its title.

 Seventh grade boys

Another close game decided the title for the seventh grade boys, coached by Shemik Thompson. They defeated Fort Mill Middle 32-29.

“The team worked extremely hard this year learning the plays, schemes and developing their individual games,” Thompson said. “It was a privilege to coach such a great group of boys. They all wanted to listen, learn and improve so much. I can proudly say that every player on our team is a better basketball player and a better young man — and this is exciting!”

Landon Folly, who averaged 15 points a game this season, led Banks Trail (11-1 overall) with 12 points, followed by Owen Noonan (nine) and Andrew Hollowell (eight).

“JP Caputo and Jordan Gillian provided outstanding effort in setting the tone defensively throughout the course of the season,” Thompson said. “Ladainian Green and Jacob Sines also made large contributions to the team’s effort ensuring the offensive sets where ran smoothly.”