The Music City Heat from Nashville made headlines in the 16 and under world here in Tennessee advancing to the final four of the 6th annual Knox Vegas Heat tournament in Knoxville this past weekend.
The Heat fell to the powerful Team United from North Carolina in the semi-finals after a nice run through pool and early bracket action.
The Heat burned through pool play action behind the outstanding guard play of state tournament hero Thomas Booker (East Nashville) and JaVaughn Craig (McCallie).
Booker was solid on both sides of the ball including a big game against Team Thad in early Sunday bracket action.
Craig was on point knocking down the outside stroke including a 25 point effort in a quarter-final win.
On the interior the Heat leaned on Isaiah Blacksmith (East Nashville) and Jordan Wilson (MBA).
Blacksmith, a lefty with a big motor, was a beast on the glass and provided scoring on the block while Wilson, a much improved 6'5 wing/post, was solid defensively and on the glass.
Gage Upshaw (Baylor) was lauded for his effort, especially defensively against generally the best offense threat on the opposing squad.
Nashville Celtics 16s
The Nashville Celtics revamped roster came out on the positive end with a 2-2 finish at the Knox Vegas Heat.
Cedriontis Wilson (Blackman) showed he could score with anyone in the class. Garrett Sanderson (Lipscomb Academy) also had a fine weekend scoring at a high rate and showing marked improvement in his game.
Desmond Cambridge (Ensworth) controlled tempo and did a solid job defensively for the Celtics. Maleek Sain (Marshall County) showed moments of brilliance and is consistency away from being mentioned with the best in the state.
Ben Cotton (Columbia Central) and D.J. Wilkes (Liberty Tech) showed promise on the defensive end and on the glass.
Team Thad 16s
The Memphis crew advanced to Sunday action falling to the Music City Heat.
Jordan Harris (Georgia) was the talk of the tourney early in pool play with his scoring exploits. Micah Thomas (Briarcrest) and Eric Turner (Southwind) played consistently throughout the weekend leading the team in scoring on various occasions.
Emmitt Gooden (Haywood), a Tennessee football commitment, was a beast on the boards and defensively in the post.
Jordan Bone (Ensworth) playing in his first event with Thad was lauded for his effort and hustle.
Chattanooga Elite 16s
The Choo-Choo crew finished the event at 2-2 finishing second in their pool. Ryan Montgomery (Chattanooga Central) was the primary scorer for the Elite while Isaiah Shropshire (Brainerd) was instrumental distributing the ball and getting the team into its half-court offense.
Brad McCurdy (Bradley Central) was lauded for his effort on the offensive end of the floor during the event.
Tennessee Chosen Few 16s
Patrick Good (David Crockett) drew a lot of attention for his scoring exploits all season and with the summer season upon us it appears as more of the same.
Double and tripled team by everyone they played at Knox Vegas, Good still managed to score and had a nice event. The TCF fell to the Alabama Premiere by one on a tremendous block which prevented them from advancing.
Coaches were quick to point out the contributions of Dustin Day (David Crockett) who was a monster inside and provided scoring against bigger and stronger opposition.
Matt Halvorsen (Dobyns-Bennett) had a big shooting weekend including nailing 8 threes in the opening pool play victory. Good also nailed 7 in the game with the TCF finishing with 19 treys as a team.
Team Nashville 16s
Team Nashville played hard but came up short a few times despite some solid scoring efforts from Case Bouldin (Ravenwood) and Anthony Ramsey (Pearl Cohn).
Coaches pointed to the efforts of Shawn Pirtle (Cane Ridge), Tay Davis (Lebanon) and Demarco Jackson (Lead Academy) for their hustle during the event.