What a great time of year. The 2014 state tournament tips off this Wednesday at the MurphyCenter on the campus of MTSU.
Here are some game capsules on what to expect at Wednesdays games.
Hamilton (27-6) vs. Blackman (25-6)
Big time clash to start the ball rolling. Hamilton is led by the brothers Lawson, Keelon Lawson (Hamilton) and Dedric Lawson (Hamilton). They can pile up points in a hurry but are from the only scoring options for the Wildcats. Sophomore guard Romero Hill (Hamilton), transfer Keion Peoples (Hamilton) and junior jumping jack Tarrance Baker (Hamilton) give Coach Keelon Lawson a formidable squad to make a state run.
Blackman has been there and done that and Coach Barry Wortman will not be void of talent in this contest. Juaun Jennings (Blackman) is a straight up beast. Inside the Blaze pound the glass behind seniors Reid Pierce (Blackman) and Lukas Hart (Blackman). Andrew Rogan (Blackman) provides length on the wing and sophomore shooting guard Cedriontis Wilson (Blackman) can really stroke the rock.
Wilson Central (26-6) vs. Brentwood (31-2)
The Bruins return to the 'boro with 30 wins under their belt and are playing at a very high level as of late. Coach Dennis King demands execution and this group is more than willing to oblige. Andy Schumpert (Brentwood) leads a very balanced scoring attack that includes senior guard Jacob Adcock (Brentwood), senior guard Jack Bautista (Brentwood) and junior gunner Grant Teichmann (Brentwood). The Bruins welcomed back junior point guard James McPherson (Brentwood) after the holidays and his presence has been a steadying force in their run to state.
Jacob Williams (Wilson Central) has been the difference maker for the Wildcats. The senior guard came back in the second half of the season healthy and the results have been obvious. Coach Troy Bond has his guys playing with confidence and playing without any regard for individual honors.
Siegel (31-1) vs. Arlington (28-4)
Another state tournament and another team from the Siegel nation. Coach Ben Dotson's crew is led by a pair of senior guards that have amassed over 30 wins and came up just short of entering the fracas with an unblemished record. Charles Clark (Siegel) has proven to be the go to scorer while senior point guard Ryan Jones (Siegel) is the heart and soul of this group. Contributions have come from senior shooter Aden Burton (Siegel), athletic marvel Dominique Gooch (Siegel) and rising sophomore guard Braxton Eddings (Siegel).
All season the Cougars have been lying below the surface just waiting to pounce on some unexpected prey and make their way to the bright lights of the MurphyCenter. State ranked most of the season, Arlington made their move in the playoffs and bested vaunted White Station in the sub-state round to earn their berth. The Cougars are led by UMass signee C.J. Anderson (Arlington) who returned home after a one year hiatus in Memphis to lead his team to the show. Coach Don Deaton has a deep squad with several scoring options including senior guard K.J. Bates (Arlington), Adarius Avery (Arlington) and long range shooter sophomore Nathan Hoover (Arlington).
Oak Ridge (30-7) vs. Jefferson County (30-5)
The Wildcats make a return trip to the 'boro only to find an East Tennessee foe awaiting their arrival. These two played early in the season with the Wildcats narrowly garnering the victory. Coach Aaron Green looks to his seniors for leadership including LeeUniversity signee Isaac Merian (Oak Ridge) and Wallace State Community College pledge Jalin Henderson (Oak Ridge). Oak Ridge plays fast and can score in droves.
Size is the subject for the Patriots of Jefferson County and fearless leader coach Chris Poore. The Patriots boast one of the biggest rosters in the tournament led by BryanCollege signee Brice Cusick (Jefferson County). Flanking the senior Cusick is 6'4 junior John Bryant (Jefferson County). The Patriots will ride the emotions of their hustle factor Kyle Briggs (Jefferson County) and could be a tough out if the guards are hitting outside shots, led by sophomore shooter Noah Carter (Jefferson County).
Boyd Buchanan (28-3) vs. BTW (26-7)
Coach Cole Rose has a senior laden squad that plays hard and has been together since middle school. Balance is their mantra and the Buccaneers distribute the scoring among a host of players including Justus McMillan (Boyd Buchanan), Austin Walker (Boyd Buchanan), Hall Allen (Boyd Buchanan) and Q.D. Cox (Boyd Buchanan).
I'm not sure you can have a state tournament without having the Warriors of BTW in attendance. A tournament fixture this group got it's groove on after the holiday break and defeated the defending Class A state champions Humboldt in the sub-state to earn their spot. The Warriors are led by a group of scoring guards including seniors Jamarcus Franklin (BTW) and Angelo Smith (BTW); as well as, sophomore point guard Tyree Beason (BTW).
Columbia Academy (28-4) vs. Meigs County (30-4)
This has the makings for one of the best games of the entire tournament. ColumbiaAcademy comes into state on a major high winning the district and region crowns and parlaying their success with a sub-state win over East Robertson. Andrew Golden (Columbia Academy) is the man in the middle but he junior twin-power scoring duo of Jackson Cary (Columbia Academy) and Hunter Cary (Columbia Academy) provide majority of the outside scoring.
Guard play is key for the Tigers of Meigs County and coach Sammy Perkinson. Meigs is led by Class A Mr. Basketball finalist Levi Woods (Meigs County). Woods, a Lee University signee, has become the schools all-time leading scorer and hopes to be the guy who leads them to their first state title. The Tigers are not a one-man show by any means with precocious freshman guard Zy Moore (Meigs County), talented sophomore wing Matthew Meadows (Meigs County) and junior shooter Bryson Baker (Meigs County).
Tomorrow we will cover the action for Thursdays games including:
Hampton vs. Lead Academy
Mitchell vs. Goodpasture
East Nashville vs. Tyner Academy
Greeneville vs. Carter
Upperman vs. CPA
Manassas vs. Jackson Southside