Greenwood’s Witthuhn still weighing college options that include Murray, EKU, walk-on spot at UK

Greenwood's Jeff Witthuhn outruns Logan County players for a touchdown during the 2011 season at Greenwood High School. Witthuhn is still weighing college options that include offers from Murray State and Eastern Kentucky and a possible walk-on spot at Kentucky. Joshua Lindsey/Special to the Daily News

Greenwood's Jeff Witthuhn outruns Logan County players for a touchdown during the 2011 season at Greenwood High School. Witthuhn is still weighing college options that include offers from Murray State and Eastern Kentucky and a possible walk-on spot at Kentucky. Joshua Lindsey/Special to the Daily News

Greenwood senior Jeff Witthuhn is still weighing his options for where to play college football, the quarterback said Saturday.

Witthuhn told me after the Gators’ loss to Eastern on the hardwood that he’s considering several opportunities at different levels.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound QB has scholarship offers from Eastern Kentucky and Murray State along with other FCS schools, he said, but is also considering the possibility of walking on at the University of Kentucky or going the junior college route.

A move from quarterback would also be possible for Witthuhn at the next level. He told BGDN writer Chad Bishop before the 2011 season that he’d be fine with a move to any position that got him on the field.

“Some colleges will say they will try and recruit me as a quarterback, others will say they’ll give me a chance to play quarterback – I’ll go and play anything,” Witthuhn told the Daily News in August. “I’ve had coaches tell me that I might play quarterback, tight end, linebacker, even defensive end. I’m open to playing pretty much anything going in. I just want to get on the field.

“I feel like (quarterback is) where my heart is. But it’s just wherever the coach needs me.”

Witthuhn completed 133 of 266 passes in 2011 for 1,527 yards and 10 touchdowns, also rushing for 576 yards and 14 scores. He also recorded 48 tackles and four interceptions at linebacker for the Gators, who finished 6-6 and advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.


Glasgow football’s Smith, Sublett make commitments; Cash still deciding

Glasgow's Lajuan Smith outruns Holy Cross of Covington's Jalen Beal during the 2011 Russell Athletic/KHSAA Class 2A State Championship at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Smith told the Daily News on Saturday that he's committed to Eastern Kentucky University. Alex Slitz/Daily News

Glasgow's Lajuan Smith outruns Holy Cross of Covington's Jalen Beal during the 2011 Russell Athletic/KHSAA Class 2A State Championship at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Smith told the Daily News on Saturday that he's committed to Eastern Kentucky University. Alex Slitz/Daily News

While covering some Lady Scotties basketball in Glasgow today, I caught up with a few members of the Glasgow football team who have either made their college decision or are in the process.

First, senior receiver/defensive back Lajuan Smith told me he committed to Eastern Kentucky University this week. Smith said he’ll receive at least a partial scholarship, and that the EKU coaches are open to having him on offense and defense.

Defensively, the 6-foot-3 Smith said the coaches have discussed options at cornerback, safety and linebacker.

“It felt like home up there,” Smith said. “The campus was really nice. They’re a family, and it’s a town that feels like home and isn’t really that far away.”

Smith caught 26 passes for 569 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, also snagging three interceptions in the secondary to help lead the Scotties to the Class 2A state championship game.

Smith and senior quarterback Parker Cash also told me that senior running back Jalen Sublett has committed to Murray State. Sublett wasn’t at the basketball game Saturday for me to confirm, but I’ll work on that in the coming days.

The 6-3 Sublett rushed for 2,172 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2011.

Cash said he’s still deciding between Eastern Kentucky and Murray, both of which would likely recruit him as a defensive back. He said he’ll visit both schools in February and will then make a decision.

Cash totaled 20 touchdowns at quarterback for Glasgow and also had three interceptions on defense.


Lady Tops fall 60-58 at FAU — postgame comments

Mr. Chad Bishop, as he likes to be known on Twitter, sent along some quotes from the Lady Toppers’ 60-58 loss at Florida Atlantic.
The loss was WKU’s fourth straight in Sun Belt play, dropping the Lady Tops to 6-14 overall and 3-5 in the league.
Some roster notes: Sophomore forward Mimi Hill and freshman guard Summer Fife were both unavailable Wednesday. Hill was sick, and Fife has a severely twisted ankle, according to Chad.
WKU mixed up its starting lineup, starting sophomore guard Ellen Sholtes and freshman guard Ileana Johnson in place of freshman forward Chastity Gooch and sophomore guard Chaney Means.
Means, as well as senior forward Teranie Thomas, who scored 16 points Sunday against Arkansas-Little Rock, never played in the game. According to Chad, those were just coaching decisions.
Chad will have a full story in Thursday’s Bowling Green Daily News.
Here are postgame comments from coach Mary Taylor Cowles, senior forward LaTeira Owens and freshman guard Alexis Govan:
Mary Taylor Cowles
    Mosley’s shots to win:“Oh, we got a great shot, but that shot and so many others in the game that I consider layups, right in the paint, right around the basket, both post play as well as perimeter play had great opportunities to score. You can’t put that game on that shot, because we missed so many of those shots throughout the game. That’s just really, really frustrating.”    Offensive lulls in the first half: “It’s a 40-minute basketball game and we’re obviously well aware of that and things that we did or did not do throughout the first half and there in the beginning of the second half really put us in a bind down 11 at halftime. But we have to credit our young ladies for fighting so hard. I was very pleased with the change in the lineup. Looking at Chastity (Gooch) a little bit more as a four-player as a post out on the perimeter and switched some things around with Ellen (Sholtes) and Illy (Ileana Johnson). I was just very, very pleased. I thought Ellen was very, very knowledgeable of what was going on on the floor and she communicated that with her teammates which I thought was a huge plus for us.”

    Why the lineup changes? “Just trying to find answers. We’re not winning games. Tonight we have 12 turnovers, Sunday we had 21 turnovers. Just trying to find that leadership on the floor with five people that can communicate together, kinda click together, maybe bring  a little different energy. We’ve not started games well for the majority of times this year – we’ve not started the second half the majority of times this year. So just trying to find an answer that might change some things in a very positive fashion. I think we really like what we saw tonight.”

Alexis Govan

    Lulls at the start of and end of first half:“I think we just got into a down mindset because we weren’t putting the ball into the basket, we were struggling to make layups. The first few minutes we probably missed four or five straight layups and it just threw us off. At the end of the half we started missing layups again. It’s just rough.”    Having never led: “It was frustrating, but it’s something we have to work on finishing out a game – putting the ball in the basket when it counts and when it matters.”

    Offense or defense key to loss? “I think it would have to be both. When we needed a stop, we didn’t get it. When we needed to make a layup, we didn’t get it.”

LaTeira Owens
    Foul trouble: “They called some calls that were kind of biased. That was the little thing that had me frustrated.”

    Offensive lulls in the first half: “I think we weren’t taking our time on offense. We were rushing some shots and not focusing on shooting the ball and we were missing layups that we know we should get.”

    Never having the lead: “It was frustrating because we worked so hard to tie it or at least get a lead and we never really got a lead. That’s one of the things that we really wanted to do, is try to take the lead. Every time we tried we’d either miss a layup, miss a shot or turn the ball over.”

Bowling Green QB Scooter Hollis verbally commits to Columbia University

Bowling Green senior quarterback Scooter Hollis breaks away for a long touchdown run against Greenwood in second round of the 2011 Class 5A playoffs at El Donaldson Stadium. Hollis verbally committed Tuesday to Columbia University in New York. Joe Imel/Daily News

Bowling Green senior quarterback Scooter Hollis breaks away for a long touchdown run against Greenwood in second round of the 2011 Class 5A playoffs at El Donaldson Stadium. Hollis verbally committed Tuesday to Columbia University in New York. Joe Imel/Daily News

Bowling Green senior quarterback Scooter Hollis made his college decision Tuesday, verbally committing to Columbia University in New York.

Hollis visited Columbia over the summer, but made a second trip last week to make sure it was the place for him.

After an in-school visit Tuesday from Columbia’s head coach Pete Mangurian and an assistant, Hollis was ready to give his pledge, he said.

“Last week was just kind of a finalizing trip before I made a decision,” Hollis said. “I saw a lot of the city, met with the players and coaches. They all seemed excited to get me up there.

“I had a blast, and when they came today, I was ready to make it unofficially official.”

Hollis will officially sign on National Signing Day on Feb. 1 alongside BGHS senior offensive lineman Joe Manley, who will ink with the University of Louisville.

Hollis completed 125 of 189 passes for 2,331 yards and 28 touchdowns with three interceptions for the Purples in 2011. He also rushed for 834 yards and 13 scores, leading Bowling Green to a 15-0 record and a 55-3 win in the Class 5A state championship over Anderson County.

Columbia, which finished 1-9 last season, competes in the Ivy League at the Football Championship Subdivision level. The Lions’ offense is run by offensive coordinator Ben McDaniels, the brother of former Denver Broncos head coach and current New England Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels.

“They recruited me to hopefully come in and run the offense,” Hollis said. “They run a pro-style offense, particularly the Patriots’ offense. They’ve got guys that have been in the professional system, and an offensive coordinator whose brother works with the Patriots right now. We’re going to run a similar offense.”

Hollis said he also received interest from Harvard and Georgetown University.

Ivy League schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, but Hollis, who also plays basketball and baseball for BGHS, will receive a financial aid package because of his academics that will nearly equate to a full ride.

Hollis has a 4.0 grade point average and a 30 ACT score.

South Warren kicker Clay Nelson commits to WKU as walk-on

South Warren senior kicker Clay Nelson

I received confirmation by email from the South Warren football coaching staff tonight that senior kicker Clay Nelson has indeed committed to attend Western Kentucky as a preferred walk-on.

Nelson made 11 of 13 field goals for South Warren during the 2011 season, helping the Spartans reach the postseason in the program’s first year at the varsity level.

He earned first-team all-state honors and ranks in the top five in the KHSAA record books in field goals in a season and field goals in a game (4).

Nelson’s father, South Warren head coach Mark Nelson, also joined WKU in the 70s as a walk-on and was awarded a scholarship after one season.

According to the South Warren coaching staff, Nelson was also recruited by Memphis, Eastern Kentucky, Baylor and Campbellsville.

Lady Tops fall 61-50 to UALR — postgame comments

The Lady Toppers led Arkansas-Little Rock by two at halftime Sunday, but WKU was outscored by 13 in the second half for a 61-50 loss at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The loss, which was WKU’s third straight in Sun Belt Conference play, snapped a five-game home winning streak.

Senior forward LaTeira Owens had 22 points and 12 rebounds, her third straight double-double for WKU. Senior forward Teranie Thomas scored a season-high 16 points off the bench.

Owens and Thomas scored 38 of the Lady Toppers’ 50 points in the game. They were a combined 14 of 26 from the field, while the rest of the team was 5 of 28.

Four players scored in double figures for UALR, led by freshman guard Taylor Gault’s 17 points.

WKU returns to action Wednesday at Florida Atlantic.

Here are postgame comments from coach Mary Taylor Cowles, senior forward LaTeira Owens and senior forward Teranie Thomas:

Mary Taylor Cowles

“To say we struggled in the second half, I think would be an understatement. I think we kind of laid down in the second half. We went into halftime and talked about some difficulty on the offensive end, and we just were not ready to play when the ball went in.”

“We knew exactly what they were going to bring … but we weren’t focused enough defensively.”

On not capitalizing in the post:

“We felt like we needed to get the ball in the post. That’s where we needed to go in the second half. Eleven shots is not enough shots for LaTeira Owens.”

On Thomas’ efforts:

“Teranie not playing on Tuesday was nothing against Teranie Thomas. It was about coaching. She didn’t play because it wasn’t the right game, the right situation, the right defense. We knew tonight she could rebound, run the floor, defend and handle pressure.”

“After Tuesday’s game, Teranie was as good as it gets in practice because she knows that’s temporary. That’s nothing personal against her, and that’s how you want players to respond.”

On how to get Owens more touches:

“We’ve got to figure that out. As coaches, we continue to talk and figure out who can provide that, as far as getting her the ball.”

“When your posts produce, especially the way LaTeira did, it just makes it a greater emphasis on getting the ball inside. That doesn’t mean she’s going to take all the shots. But it’s inside touches that might even create a double-team situation.”

On the upcoming Florida road trip:

“FAU is playing extremely well, and they’re a very good basketball team. And with FIU, even with the first matchup, we know FIU is going to bring it, especially at home. It’s a tough road trip. Right now, I’m concerned with Lady Topper basketball and what we’re going to do in practice tomorrow to get ourselves prepared.”

LaTeira Owens

On the second-half letdown:

“It’s mainly lacking intensity. It’s frustrating because we work so hard to build momentum into every game, and then we just relax. We lose it.”

On a lack of bench production:

“Everybody’s going to have their off nights. We just have to find more players that can come in and provide every night. It’s all about getting in the gym – extra shooting.”

On not scoring the final 2:37:

“We knew we were down five, and we knew we needed to get a stop and make a play.”

On staying motivated:

“We’ve got to get ready before games. We have to find what motivates us every day. We have to find it because it’s going to get later and later in the season, and we’re going to be looking at the wall.”

Teranie Thomas

“We all need to work on being consistent. We’re not being very consistent.”

On her 16-point game:

“I just come in and want to do whatever it is to help our team, whether that be offense or defense. I take a lot of pride in playing defense, so it’s whatever I can do when I get the opportunity to come in.”

On the final minutes:

“We just have to focus in more. We don’t need to start panicking. Just focus on what we’re doing so we can make a play.”

Upcoming road swing:

“It’s not going to be easy. They’re not easy teams.”

UALR up next: Cowles, Owens and Govan discuss

We met with coach Mary Taylor Cowles, senior forward LaTeira Owens and freshman guard Alexis Govan on Thursday to discuss Sunday’s home game against Arkansas-Little Rock.

A few of their comments are provided below. I also spoke one-on-one with Govan for a feature that will run in Friday’s BGDN.

Govan – or “Go-Go,” as the team calls her – has been an energy boost for the sometimes-sluggish Lady Tops. But Govan has also been growing, learning how to handle adversity and a leadership role at such a young age. Be sure to look for more on that tomorrow.

Here are the comments in regard to UALR:

LaTeira Owens

On UALR, which beat WKU last season in the Sun Belt title game:

“It’s kind of balanced out this year, instead of having that one person. They’re a good team, and I just look at it as payback.”

On if the Lady Tops can make a late run:

“I just think when we do click, it’s going to be crazy. We have a lot of talented people on our team. When we do click, I feel sorry for somebody. I don’t know who it is, but I feel sorry for them.”

Alexis Govan

On if the freshmen can tell the veterans are motivated against UALR:

“I can tell, coming back today, just by how hard the upperclassmen worked. You can tell that there was something inside that was really motivating them.”

Mary Taylor Cowles


“They lost a lot, but what Little Rock has – besides being very talented and physical – is three years of being in a championship game. Some of them may have not been in all three, but they’ve got experience and a lot of knowledge. You can’t put a price tag on the experience that some of those players have had.”

On the Trojans’ personnel, specifically freshman guard Taylor Gault (16 ppg):

“We saw last year that their post game is very physical and deep, and their guard play has really stepped up. They’ve got a lot of confidence in (Gault). You see that on film.”

On motivation from last year’s championship game:

“They remember it. They remember how competitive and close we came in that championship game. It’s not even something that I have to talk about. We’re a totally different basketball team, but our program understands how those matchups went.”

On finishing out the conference slate:

“The way the regular season plays out has a big effect on what happens when you leave for Hot Springs, as far as seeding or playing three or four games. All of that’s important, but they know how important the conference schedule is.”

Lady Tops have fun with big offense in win over TTU — postgame comments

The Lady Toppers enjoyed their best offensive outing of the season Tuesday night, notching a 71-58 win over Tennessee Tech at E.A. Diddle Arena.

WKU’s 71 points was a season high, as was its 54.5 percent shooting from the floor. The win improved the Lady Tops to 6-12 and was their fifth straight victory at home.

Senior forward Keshia Mosley scored 22 points in 19 minutes off the bench, while senior forward LaTeira Owens added 11 points and 15 rebounds.

WKU returns to action at 2 p.m. Sunday at home against Arkansas-Little Rock.

Look for plenty more in Wednesday’s BGDN, but here are some quotes from Mosley, freshman guard Alexis Govan and coach Mary Taylor Cowles:

Keshia Mosley

On her strong game:

“I stayed around after shootaround this morning, just trying to get a lot of shots in. I know that I personally have been missing a lot of layups, so I wanted to focus on that more.”

On shutting down TTU guard Tacarra Hayes:

“We didn’t let one person dictate the game for us. She had 14, so we kept her under her average. It was a team thing. We all knew what we had to come out and do.”

On outrebounding TTU 44-26:

“It was tough, but we got it done. We like rebounding, guards and posts. It’s fun seeing all of us trying to get rebounds.”

On returning from a tough road trip:

“It’s good to be back at home. It feels so much better to be here, and then winning a game at your house – it’s just so much better.”

On the play of Govan:

“She’s fast – speedy. Every second, she’s either getting a steal or a layup. It’s something else.”

Alexis Govan

On having a good offensive night:

“”It’s exciting. If you couldn’t tell from the energy, we were all excited. The emotion was the best I’ve ever seen it.”

On WKU’s 40 bench points:

“When we sub, we don’t lose much. Our energy stays the same and increases and gets better. Our bench is just as good as our starting five. Looking at us in practice, you can tell that. Tonight was a good night to show that.”

Mary Taylor Cowles

On Paul Sanderford’s belief that scoring 70 points creates a good opportunity to win:

“That continues to be proven over and over as I’ve gone through my coaching career. He’s right. Seventy points is a lot of points to score. I don’t know if it was the defense that sparked the offense or vice versa, but I liked both ends of the floor tonight.”

On shutting down TTU guards Tacarra Hayes and Jala Harris:

“We put that in front of our team and said, ‘Neither one – don’t let them get their average.’ Hayes is a very good player and we weren’t as familiar with Harris … but our team stepped up to the challenge. They didn’t want to be embarrassed again.”

On Mosley’s play:

“It’s the best game she’s played since I’ve had the honor to coach her in a WKU uniform. She was very effective, and the way she did it – she didn’t settle for shots right in the block against the big girl. Her ball-handling skills and first step are good. She utilized that.”

On returning home with a good win:

“I keep believing that there will be a time when we all start clicking, and when we do, I think this basketball team has a really good chance.”

“I think this shows them what they’re capable of after a long week of challenges that ended in two losses. To get back as late as we did on Monday, preparing for a team we knew beat us on Dec. 7 at their place. It came at such a great time.”

On taking Wednesday off:

“I told them when they leave their apartment or dorm, to not look in the direction of Diddle Arena – look opposite. Since we brought them back on Dec. 26, our travel day from Denver to Dallas was the first day off, if you call a travel day a day off. Tomorrow is a day off. I said, ‘Don’t step foot in Diddle, don’t look in Diddle, don’t come this direction.’ After that, we’ll be ready to go and it’s business as usual.”


WKU loses 69-62 at Denver — postgame comments

The Lady Toppers had been leaning on their defense to support their sporadic offense, but their D abandoned them in the first half Sunday at Denver.
The Pioneers shot 59 percent before the break, earning a 69-62 win over WKU at Magness Arena. The Lady Toppers fell to 5-12 overall and 3-3 in Sun Belt play.
WKU senior forward LaTeira Owens led with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but Denver had five players in double figures scoring.
The Lady Toppers outrebounded Denver 42-28. Senior forward Keshia Mosley added nine points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.
WKU returns to action Tuesday, when it hosts Tennessee Tech at E.A. Diddle Arena.
BGDN men’s basketball beat writer Chad Bishop was in Denver to cover WKU’s Sunday doubleheader, and he passed along some quotes from Owens and coach Mary Taylor Cowles. Here are their thoughts:
LaTeira Owens
“I think the first half was the difference. We wasn’t going with our gameplan and not doing what the coaches wanted us to do. It’s kind of not taking pride in our defense in the first half, and I think that’s the difference in the game.”

On the second-half improvement:

“We just went with coach’s gameplan and said we’re just gonna buy in and take care of defense – switch screens, block out, help to side defense.”

Mary Taylor Cowles

“The first 20 minutes we were extremely out of whack defensively and I thought that’s what killed us. I know we got down a little bit deeper in the second and made a great run, but I just felt like we got so off sync in the first half off of things that we have spent the last two days in film session and practice time working on. That’s really disappointing. It wasn’t just our guards, it wasn’t just our post, it was a combination of our entire team.”
“We did some good things offensively. I thought we didn’t shoot a great percentage, 38 percent, but I thought we executed some things well. I thought we went to the boards extremely well. We took care of the basketball tonight, which allowed us to have an opportunity to execute our offense. Yeah, coach (Tim) Riley’s been telling me all year that our defense is pretty good, and then tonight it shows up – that has to be something that we can depend on because our offense has been up and down. Tonight, we did not play good defensively at all.”

Lady Tops recruiting update: 2012 class

I sent these tidbits out on Twitter on Thursday, but I thought I would also share them on the blog for those that missed it.

The Lady Toppers officially signed two recruits during November’s early signing period – Green County senior guard Micah Jones and Jeffersonville (Ind.) senior forward Jalynn McClain.

Green, who missed her junior season with a torn ACL, has been enjoying a stellar start to her senior year.

The 5-foot-8 guard is averaging 20.3 points and six rebounds through 16 games for Green County, which has begun its season at 11-5. Jones set the school record for points in a game in the Dragons’ first contest of the season.

McClain has also been rehabbing from ACL tear, although hers occurred much more recently in June. McClain said in November that she planned to return to the court in January if her rehab went as expected, and it looks like that projection will ring true.

McClain, a 6-foot forward, told me Thursday that she has returned to practice for Jeffersonville. The current plan is for her to return to games after getting her feet wet again in practice.

McClain averaged 15.6 points and six rebounds as a junior.