When the East Hamilton and Hamilton Heights boys' basketball teams squared off last Thursday, the coaching boxes were full of Stones.
The Hawks defeated the Hurricanes 64-50, but the storyline was the battle between Hamilton Heights coach Duke Stone and East Hamilton coach Michael Stone, Duke's oldest son. Michael played at Hamilton Heights -- with his dad as his head coach -- and graduated in 2001, then went on to coach there for five seasons, including being a head coach from 2006 to '09.
"It was interesting in a lot of ways," Duke Stone said. "We run the same plays and know what each other is doing, but I threw in a couple of things he hadn't seen."
Said Michael: "I don't know if my guys enjoyed it as much as I did, since I was coaching against my dad. He helped me install our offense and I brought it here, and he had a couple of defensive schemes I stole."
The game drew a lot of Hamilton Heights alumni, who were aware of the family ties.
"The seniors (at Hamilton Heights) were guys that I had, and it was a hard situation to walk away from, but it was a unique experience for me," Michael, whose Hurricanes earned their first win Saturday against Sale Creek. "It was also very nostalgic to play against them, and an opportunity you don't get very often. I had a great opportunity here at East Hamilton, but I love that Hamilton Heights gave me the chance to coach at a young age.
"It was because of them that I have the opportunity I have now."
Pirates get started
For 13 members of South Pittsburg's Class 1A state runner-up football team, Dec. 5 was the start of basketball practice.
"It is exciting for us," Pirates basketball coach David Phillips said, noting he had practiced with seven players before Saturday morning. "It'll take a while to get the football out of them, and we really don't get them cranked up until the end of January, but I can handle it if we're playing for football championships."
Phillips, whose Pirates literally were rained out Tuesday night against 2009 Class 1A state final four participant Grace Academy -- the Grace gym's roof was leaking -- said that all but two members of the football team showed up for an optional shootaround Saturday morning.
"I had been telling the guys that we have three days to prepare for Grace. I'm not sure if we can prepare for them in three months," he joked. "I knew they would be sore and stiff, so I just wanted them to shoot and get a feel for the different ball.
"We practiced hard on Sunday, and we're just going to lace it up and see what happens."
Friday was a great night for Central's Rick May, for a couple of reasons. His Lady Pounders defeated Tyner 55-46 for their first district win since a 53-51 defeat of Ooltewah on Jan. 28, 2005.
It also marked the 300th career win for May, who formerly coached at Boyd-Buchanan. Tempie Brown had 18 points for Central (2-3), while Shavon Silvers added 17.
"The girls played hard every single play and never gave up," May said. "I'm hoping we've set the bar, and we can get there if we play that way every night.
"It's a long time coming."
Also Friday, Bradley Central's Kent Smith earned win No. 350 as his Bears defeated Ooltewah 64-59, and the Cleveland Lady Raiders beat up on Rhea County 69-28, giving Rachel Moore win No. 250.