Class A Sectionals
Clarkrange (17-16) vs. Boyd-Buchanan (25-7) at Chattanooga State
Clarkrange coach: Rodney Pile
Three players to watch: Garrett Stults (Sr., PG), Landon Baldwin (Jr., C); Taylor Edwards (Jr., G).
What you need to know: The Buffaloes are big for a Class A team. Baldwin is 6-foot-6 and averages 14 points and eight rebounds per game, and another 6-6 player comes off the bench. Stults, 6-2, was chosen the District 7 regular-season most valuable player. Reportedly he could average more than his 11 points per game, but he looks to get others involved. He also averages 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Edwards at 10.5 per game is a threat on the perimeter.
Boyd-Buchanan coach: Cole Rose
Three players to watch: Hall Allen (Jr., PG), Justus McMillan (Jr., F/G); Austin Walker (Jr., F)
What you need to know: Boyd-Buchanan features a balanced scoring attack with Allen, McMillan and Walker each averaging between 12 and 15 points per game. The other four Buccaneers who play regularly are competent scorers, too. It helps that the strength of their offense is ball movement. That starts with Allen, who averages five assists per game. He also sparks their defense at 2.5 steals per game.
Grace Academy (12-15) at Watertown (29-3)
Grace Academy coach: Jon Mattheiss
Three players to watch: Austin Powell (Sr., C), Josh Smith (Sr., F/G); Alex Hernandez (Sr., PG)
What you need to know: Grace has had two afflicted with knee injuries in its last two state-playoff games. Blake Savard, its leading scorer in postseason at 15 points per game, is out. Mattheiss said Powell, who averages 11 points and eight rebounds per game, is a little sore but will play. Hernandez (8 ppg, 4 apg) and Smith (10 ppg, 7 rpg) will need all the help they can get with ball-handling against Watertown's pressure defense. The Golden Eagles, who have played a rugged schedule, are in their seventh sectional in the last 10 years.
Watertown coach: Matt Bradshaw
Three players to watch: Macieo Gaines (Sr., PG); Ty Jobe (Jr., G); Ben Bain (Sr., C)
What you need to know: On the strength of a seven-player senior class, the Purple Tigers claimed their first-ever region championship Thursday, defeating Clarkrange. One of the team’s three losses was to a Pickett County team that Arts & Sciences defeated by 17 during the regular season. Gaines was the region tournament most valuable player, and leads the team from the point guard position.
Class AA Sectionals
DeKalb County (30-6) at Howard (26-5)
DeKalb County coach: Lynus Martin
Three players to watch: Braxton Atnip (Sr., 15.8 ppg), Sonni Fullilove (Sr., 15.4 ppg), Stephen Howell (Sr., 13.2 ppg).
What you need to know: Seven of the Tigers’ last nine wins have been by double digits, while two of their last three losses came to Livingston Academy, in the district and region championships. The TSSAA sectional records go back only to 1998 and this is the first time DeKalb County has advanced this far in that time.
Howard coach: Walter McGary
Three players to watch: Brandon Walters (Sr., C), Shalique Cameron (Sr., G), Xavier Harris (Sr., F).
What you need to know: Under McGary, the Hustlin’ Tigers have reached the state tournament five of the last six years, missing out only in 2009. The last time Howard lost in the sectional round was in 2004 to Martin Luther King.
McMinn Central (28-4) at Livingston Academy (27-8)
McMinn Central coach: Doug Armstrong
Three players to watch: Josh Scudder (Jr., G/F); Tim Webb (G/F); Max Miller (Sr., F)
What you need to know: The Chargers have answered the bell. Many questioned their legitimacy throughout the regular season, but they’ve answered those by defeating both Tyner and Brainerd, and coming within a missed tip-in at the buzzer of claiming the Region 3-AA championship. One of the area’s most versatile offenses, they spread teams out with five guys capable of hitting 3-pointers of driving the lane for layups. They’re also aggressive on the boards.
Livingston Academy coach: Jimmy Miller
Three players to watch: Mason Ramsey (Sr., F), Brock McCoin (Sr. PG), Wade Eldridge (Sr., F)
What you need to know: The Wildcats have won 25 of their last 27. They’re led by Ramsey, a 6-7 Mr. Basketball finalist who has 3-point range and averages 24 points and 14 rebounds per game. Livingston’s slow start occurred while its football athletes were busy advancing to the Class 4A quarterfinals. One is McCoin, a 14-point-per-game scorer who has signed in football with Tennessee Tech. Eldridge averages 11 points per game.
Class AAA Sectionals
Siegel (27-5) at Bradley Central (19-12)
Siegel coach: Ben Dotson
Three players to watch: Ryan Jones (Jr., PG), Charles Clark (Jr., SF), Dominique Gooch (So., G).
What you need to know: Although it’s still a relatively new school, opening in the fall 2003, Siegel has already won four district and five region tournament titles and reached the state tournament semifinals three times. Four of Siegel’s losses this season have been to unbeaten and top-ranked Blackman. Siegel is junior heavy with Damien Clark and reserve John A. Simpson (a Brown football signee) being the only seniors that play much. Ryan Jones makes this team go. He's fast and considered the second-best point guard in Rutherford County outside of Blackman’s Darius Thompson. Charles Clark can hit from outside and is known as “Bird” by the team because his shooting form resembles Larry Bird (albeit a left-handed version).
Bradley Central coach: Kent Smith
Three players to watch: Bryce Copeland (Sr., PG), Daniel Clark (So., G), Matthew Whitmire (Jr., Post).
What you need to know: In Coach Smith’s 17 years as coach the Bears have won nine district and eight region titles and been to the state tournament five times, with the last appearance coming in 2007. The Bears are 1-1 against the Stars all-time. Both meetings were last season. Bradley has been hot from the outside recently, making a combined 21 3-pointers in the Region 3 semifinals and championship game.
Ooltewah (20-10) at Blackman (29-0)
Ooltewah coach: Jesse Nayadley
Three players to watch: Ben Snider (Jr., F/G), Jacqueze Robinson (Sr., G); Antonio Jackson (Sr., G)
What you need to know: Nayadley said his players are going to have to shoot the ball extremely well to have a chance, but he added that's something they're capable of doing. Snider, Robinson and Jackson are the primary scorers, each averaging in the neighborhood of 14 to 16 points per game, but there are other capable shooters around them. The Owls advanced to the state tournament last year for the first time in more than 20 years.
Blackman coach: Barry Wortman
Three players to watch: Darius Thompson (Sr., PG), Quindell Cousin (Sr., PF), Justin Coleman (Sr., C).
What you need to know: Blackman is the state’s No. 1-ranked team. Six seniors play significant minutes, including all the starters. Thompson is being recruited by several SEC and ACC programs, including Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina State, Virginia and Florida State. When games this season have been close late, Blackman lets him take over. As a team, Blackman is shooting 59 percent from the floor, and making 40 percent of its 3-point shots.