The 3rd annual Tennessee Prep Hoops "Best in State" tipped off this past Saturday at Stone Memorial High School in Crossville representing three age groups with 16 teams ready for a day of competition to prepare themselves for the vaunted July run.
In the 15 and under age division four squads competed at a very high level against one another those teams included EOTO, Chattanooga Elite, Team NLP and the Music City Heat.
A mixture of Tennessee and Georgia youngster make up the majority of the EOTO roster and the boys did little to disappoint winning all three of their games with very balanced scoring and activity on both ends of the floor.
Jarrad Rosser (Georgia) and Cameron Phillips (Georgia) each went for a 20 spot as EOTO came out victorious in their opener a hard fought 58-52 win over Team NLP.
Kajuan Hale (Austin East) added 10 points in the win and proved to be the most consistent of the EOTO crew scoring double digits in every contest.
Hale led the charge with 12 in the second game as EOTO overcame the Music City Heat 49-39. Major contributions on both ends of the floor from Caleb Martin (Oak Ridge), Silas Clark (Cumberland County) and Tykee Kellogg (Alcoa) helped keep them unblemished after two games.
Chase Ridenour (Knoxville Webb) took game scoring honors with 16 as EOTO closed out the event at 3-0 with a tough victory over the Chattanooga Elite 55-43.
Ridenour was visited in the scoring column by Hale who added 10. Solid team effort in every contest for the EOTO as they venture into July on a very high note.
CHATTANOOGA ELITE 15s
Playing a little shorthanded in the backcourt the Chattanooga Elite 15 and under squad still found time to make some major noise at Best in State.
Justin Dozier (East Hamilton) picked up the slack for the missing Jr. Clay and dropped 17 markers as the Elite slipped past a determined Music City Heat squad in 15 and under action at Best in State. Dozier was assisted in the scoring column by Shannon Walker (McCallie) and Jay Gibson (Cleveland) with 10 point each.
Gibson scored 12 and Walker added 11 as the Elite slipped past their cross-town rivals Team NLP 63-61 in what proved to be one of the best 15 and under games of the day. Jordan Starling (McCallie) added 10 points in the win.
Gibson again took the brunt of the scoring dropping a dozen but the Elite came up short against a tough EOTO group to the tune of 55-43. Starling chipped in with 10 while Dozier added 8 in the narrow defeat.
TEAM NLP 15s
Team NLP got things off to a rousing start taking the EOTO down to the wire before falling in a very tight contest 58-52 behind 16 from Jesse Walker (Brainerd).
Patrick Urey (Baylor) chipped in with 12 in the narrow loss.
Rising freshman point guard Beyuan Hendricks (Baylor) notched 14 points but it would be just a smidge short as Team NLP fell to their city rivals the Chattanooga Elite 63-61.
Balanced scoring would prove to be the ticket as Jaylen Baker (Baylor) led the charge with 10 as Team NLP bested the Music City Heat 66-57.
Team NLP was a team effort led by Walker and Urey inside while Hendricks and Baker manned the backcourt. Michael Hampton (Brainerd) and Colby McGowan (Notre Dame) proved to be excellent backcourt mates s well while inside and on the wing emerging K.K. Curry (Cleveland) showed flashes of his massive potential throughout the day.
MUSIC CITY HEAT 15s
Despite finishing the day at 0-3 this version of the Music City Heat was in every game till the end and will be a hard out for anyone who tangles with them in July.
Demontay Dixon (Grace Christian) dropped 23 points but it would prove to be just a bit short as the Chattanooga Elite slipped past the Heat 61-59. Jaden Lewis (Summit) added 10 in the narrow loss.
Dixon again took scoring honors as the Heat fought hard but came up just short in a 66-57 loss to Team NLP. Kirkland Suratt (Loretto) finished with 10 points.
Suratt and Tia Carter (Summit) each dropped 10 as the Heat fell to EOTO 49-39.
Lewis, Carter and Will McBee (Loretto) held their own without issue in the backcourt before an injury kept McBee from playing on.
Jacayah Webster (Columbia Central) showed some scoring prowess from the wing while Suratt, Dixon and Nonte Davis (Columbia Central) did a very nice job patrolling the paint and scoring most of the points for the Heat down the stretch.
Top 5 Game Scoring
Demontay Dixon (Grace Christian) 23pts (Music City Heat)
Camron Phillips (Georgia) 20pts (EOTO)
Jarrad Rosser (Georgia) 20pts (EOTO)
Justin Dozier (East Hamilton) 17pts (Chattanooga Elite)
Jesse Walker (Brainerd) 16pts (Team NLP)
Top 10 Scoring Average
Demontay Dixon (Grace Christian) 14.3 (Music City Heat)
Camron Phillips (Georgia) 11.7 (EOTO)
Jay Gibson (Cleveland) 11.3 (Chattanooga Elite)
Kajuan Hale (Austin East) 10.7 (EOTO)
Jesse Walker (Brainerd) 10.7 (Team NLP)
Jarrad Rosser (Georgia) 10.0 (EOTO)
Justin Dozier (East Hamilton) 9.3 (Chattanooga Elite)
Jordan Starling (McCallie) 9.3 (Chattanooga Elite)
Jaden Lewis (Summit) 9.0 (Music City Heat)
Shannon Walker (McCallie) 9.0 (Chattanooga Elite)