published Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Zieglers double winners

There's no making up for the Ziegler clan's loss in 2002, but the family did come out ahead twice Saturday in the Hoops for Hope high school girls' basketball fundraiser for breast cancer awareness at Baylor.

Middle Tennessee State University student Luke Ziegler was one of two at the benefit to receive a financial gift from the MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarship fund, where all of the day's proceeds were donated. Luke's father, Lee, guided his Arts & Sciences team to a 42-30 victory over Red Bank in one of the event's six games.

Nancy Ziegler, Lee's wife of 18 years and Luke's mother, succumbed to breast cancer nine years ago when Luke was 12. Lee said when contacted about having his team be part of the event, it was an easy call.

"They gave me a call, not aware of my situation," Coach Ziegler said. "They wanted me to be in it, and I said yes. This is one thing that's very important to me."

This marks the second time Luke has benefited from the MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarship fund.

"It's going to be helpful money-wise," Lee Ziegler said, "but also it will serve as a reminder of the good things about his mother."

CSAS led throughout the game, except for a tie at 19 late in the first half. Courtney McPherson made the second of two free throws 32.7 seconds before halftime that enabled the Lady Patriots to retake a lead they would keep the rest of the way. They insured that with a 12-0 run to start the third quarter.

"We got off to a bad start in the first half and got off to a bad start in the second half," Red Bank coach Brandon Crews said. "We let them make a couple of runs there, and that was the difference."

It didn't help the Lionettes (3-4) that MiShannon Wilbanks, who led them with 22 points, picked up her fourth foul during that stretch. Crews said he couldn't keep her out long and his only advice was, "Don't foul again."

"She couldn't play as hard after that fourth foul," Coach Ziegler said. "We were able to get the ball to Courtney after that and got some shots off inside, some rebounds and some putbacks early in the fourth quarter, and that enabled us to keep the lead."

McPherson led CSAS (4-1) with 15 points. Briana Wesley made two 3-pointers and added 13 points.

"It's a great event and a great cause," Crews said. "I'm proud of Red Bank for supporting this. You want to show up and win your game, but in the big picture it's all for a good cause. We did our part."

Baylor student Zach McKelvey, whose mother, Vicky, was diagnosed two weeks ago with breast cancer, was Saturday's other scholarship beneficiary.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or

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