The pairings have been set and the games will get underway this Wednesday and Thursday at the Murphy Center. The following is a preview of the opening round games in Class AA.
Tyner Academy vs. Marshall County (5:00 Wednesday)
Coach: Gerald Harris
Top Players: Reginald Gilmore, Michael Bradley, Travis Jones, Damien Suttles
Coach: Jason Tigert
Top Players: Kedren Johnson, Jaime Perryman, Kevin Peterson, Dre Crutcher
Tigert's Tigers initiate the Class AA clashes beginning with the trees from Tyner Academy. The Rams bring the bigs with 6'9 Michael Bradley (Tyner Academy), 6'6 Reginald Gilmore (Tyner Academy) and hopefully a healthy 6'4 Thomas Cooper (Tyner Academy). The Tigers have ridden the broad shoulders of Top 50 national talent Kedren Johnson (Marshall County) to their spot in the ‘boro. Johnson has garnered offers from the likes of Louisville, Florida, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Guard play will be vital for the Tigers with senior Jaime Perryman (Marshall County) and freshman Kevin Peterson (Marshall County) standing by to take the reigns if all the Ram attention focuses on the talented Johnson.
Fulton vs. Bolivar Central (6:45 Wednesday)
Coach: Jody Wright
Top Players: Jalen Steele, Robert Boyd, Galen Campbell, Lemar Gipson
Coach: Rick Rudesill
Top Players: Jay Murphy, Ricky Tisdale, O'Neal Woods, Keegan Fuller
A rematch of one of the best state tournament games we have witnessed in the past couple of years. The two-time defending Class AA state champions are looking for the three-peat and have walked right into a potential dog fight with another of the state's most storied programs. The Falcons led by Mr. Basketball finalist and Auburn signee Jalen Steele (Fulton) have played their best ball of the season down the stretch. Lipscomb signee Robert Boyd (Fulton) and sensational junior guard Galen Campbell (Fulton) provide a majority of the scoring along with Steele for the Falcons, who also possesses young and energetic depth all over the floor. Bolivar Central will go with their strength in the backcourt the senior tandem of Jay Murphy (Bolivar Central) and Ricky Tisdale (Bolivar Central). This is the perfect climax to a wonderful day of hoops action at the 2010 Tennessee State Basketball Tournament.
Maplewood vs. Carter (10:00 Thursday)
Coach: Ty Wilson
Top Players: Robert Wade, Fred Lee, Jaleel Querry, Darryl Clack
Strawberry Plains, TN
Coach: Tony Buell
Top Players: Lester Wilson, Braylen "Vitamin B" Bennett, Zach Ballinger, Anthony Lewis
A great beginning to the start of the action on Thursday morning features the Hornets from Carter tangling with the Panthers from Maplewood. Athleticism and full court action will be the norm in this game with two of the most physically gifted players in the state going head to head inside. Lester Wilson (Carter) and Robert Wade (Maplewood) both stand 6'5 with outstanding size and athleticism. The key to this game for Maplewood will be the play of senior point guard Fred Lee (Maplewood). Lee has played well since the Christmas break and now gets to show what he can do on the biggest of all stages. For Carter, the Hornets will look to their long, versatile sophomore wing Braylen "Vitamin B" Bennett (Carter). With his size and length he could present a match-up problem for the Panthers on the wing or off the bounce.
Howard vs. Liberty Tech (11:45 Thursday)
Nickname: Hustlin' Tigers
Coach: Walter McGary
Top Players: Quincy Jones, Chris Deloney, Reginald Hemphill, Barry Griffin
Coach: Arnett Bodenhammer
Top Players: Tarius Johnson, Kendall Anthony, DeAndre Barnette, Cordero Williams
Liberty finds itself in an old familiar place with their ascension back into Class AA this season, that place is center court at the Murphy Center. The Crusaders will do battle with another perennial state participant in Chattanooga Howard. Liberty will run through the talented hands of junior point guard Kendall Anthony (Liberty Tech). His ability to get the crew involved is vital for the Crusaders who along with Anthony feature senior wing Tarius Johnson (Liberty Tech), DeAndre Barnette (Liberty Tech) and senior shooting guard Cordero Williams (Liberty Tech). Howard will come at the Crusaders in waves on defense and shoot the three on the offensive end of the floor. Quincy Jones (Howard) knocked down 25 points in the sub-state victory over Livingston Academy and he leads the three-point onslaught for the Hustlin' Tigers.