Local teams ready for holiday action
by JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor
Dec 19, 2013 | 661 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLEVELAND CENTER Isaiah Beaty and the Blue Raiders will be looking to capture the championship in the Raiders’ East Tennessee Shootout Friday and Saturday at Cleveland Middle School. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
CLEVELAND CENTER Isaiah Beaty and the Blue Raiders will be looking to capture the championship in the Raiders’ East Tennessee Shootout Friday and Saturday at Cleveland Middle School. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
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With just five shopping days til Christmas, several local high school sports teams are getting in the holiday mood with some heated tournament action this weekend.

Four Bradley County basketball teams will be on the hardwood in special events this weekend, while Bradley Central will host the annual Bradley Invitational Wrestling Tournament.

While Lee University will host its second Gulf South Conference games this evening as Valdosta State (Ga.) comes to town, Walker Valley’s hoop squads will be heading in different directions for three-day events.

The Lady Mustangs (6-3) will travel west across the Tennessee River to Evensville, where they will open play in the Rhea County Pre-Christmas Tournament at 7 this evening against Pigeon Forge (8-3). Coach Jessica Stone’s “Fillies” will play again on Friday and Saturday, with time and locations (either Rhea County High School or Middle School) depending on each day’s results.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs (6-4) will gallop south of the border to the State Farm Christmas Classic at Northwest Whitfield High School in Tunnel Hill, Ga, where they will face Murray County (Ga.) in tonight’s opening round at 7 as well.

The eight-team event also features Howard and White County from the Volunteer State, plus Peach State squads from Dalton, Coahulla Creek, Riverdale and the host NW Whitfield. The tournament will also continue through Saturday.

Cleveland High will play host to the Economy Honda East Tennessee Shoot-Out event Friday and Saturday as boys and girls teams from Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill, out of Johnson City, will take on Oak Ridge and the host Raider squads in a preset format.

Cleveland will open the event Friday afternoon at 3:30 with back-to-back games against Dobyns-Bennett, while Oak Ridge and Science Hill will tangle in the final two games. On Saturday, it will be Dobyns-Bennett and Oak Ridge going head-to-head starting at noon, with the host Raider squads squaring off against Science Hill beginning at 3. All games will be played at Cleveland Middle School.

Polk County and Bradley Central, which will both play in holiday events following Christmas, will also take to the hardwood for regular season games with the Wildcat squads hosting longtime rival Meigs County this evening at 6, while the Bear teams will travel to Cookeville Friday evening.

On the mat this weekend, the annual Bradley Invitational will draw 29 teams from across Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama to Jim Smiddy Arena with action set for Friday and all day Saturday.

The fifth-ranked Bears are off to a 16-1 start to the wrestling season, having claimed a pair of tournament titles already, plus a second-place finish to nationally-ranked Archer in a Georgia event.

Second-ranked Cleveland and No. 11 Walker Valley will tune up for weekend tournament action with dual meets at CHS today. The Raiders will take on Alcoa at 3:30 this afternoon, followed by the Mustangs grappling with the same squad immediately following. Tullahoma will come in around 6 p.m. for a dual meet against Cleveland as well.

The Raiders will travel to Chattanooga this weekend for the McCallie Invitational, while the Mustangs will compete in the Bradley Invitational.