By GARY OWNBEY
The District 5-AAA basketball coaches met Wednesday to determine the boys' and girls' seedings for the upcoming tournament that is set to begin Feb. 14 at Walker Valley and hand out their …
The District 5-AAA basketball coaches met Wednesday to determine the boys' and girls' seedings for the upcoming tournament that is set to begin Feb. 14 at Walker Valley and hand out their regular season awards as well.
During the meeting the coaches selected the regular season All-District teams, as well as Player of the Year and Coach of the Year honors for both the boys and girls.
For the third straight year, Bradley Central senior Rhyne Howard was a unanimous choice as the girls' Player of the Year, while Dustin Dozier, a senior at East Hamilton, got this year's top honor among the boys.
Kentucky-bound Howard continues to move up the Bearette career-scoring ladder, climbing to No. 6 in Tuesday night's victory, while leading nationally ranked Bradley to its third straight unbeaten regular season district record.
Dozier led the Hurricanes to last year’s state tourney and is hopeful of leading this year’s second-place district team to a return visit under interim coach Zach Roddenberry.
The Bearettes (25-0, 12-0) and Cleveland Blue Raiders (19-3, 11-0) are regular season champs, which provides them with an automatic bye into the district semifinals, as well as a berth in the Region 3 Tournament later this month.
Currently ranked No. 1 in one state poll and second in another, Bradley will be attempting to win its eighth straight district championship under Coach Jason Reuter, while the Raiders, ranked fifth in this week's state AP poll, will be looking to pick up their second straight district tournament title for back-to-back Coach of the Year Jason McGowan.
While most of the seeds could be set Wednesday, there are still three more district matchups to take place over the next five days, all involving East Hamilton, still be played due to weather and sickness-related postponements, therefore the tournament brackets could not be finalized at the meeting.
If the East Hamilton Lady Hurricanes (21-3, 6-3), ranked sixth in this week's AP state poll, sweep all three games or take two out of three, they’ll capture second-place as they hold a coin-toss edge to break a possible tie with the Lady Raiders (14-10, 7-4), of COY Tony Williams, even if one of the losses is to Cleveland, leaving both teams with an 8-4 district mark.
East Hamilton will visit the Ooltewah girls (5-15, 1-10) this Friday night for a game in which they’ll be heavy favorites. They will also host McMinn County (13-8, 6-5) Monday night to close out the regular season. The Lady Cherokees upset East Hamilton in an earlier game played on the reservation in Athens.
The tournament tips off Wednesday with first-round action between two old foes as the Soddy-Daisy girls and boys will battle for survival with the Ooltewah squads. Both school’s teams are locked into the sixth- and seventh-place seeds and split games during the regular season.
The losers are eliminated while the winners advance to play the No. 3 seeds which will be either the East Hamilton or Cleveland girls and Walker Valley (10-13, 7-5) or East Hamilton boys (19-5, 7-2) on Feb. 15.
The McMinn County and Walker Valley (14-9, 6-6) girls are set to hammer it out in a four-seed versus five-seed game Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to face Bradley in a semifinal game and being assured of a berth in the region tournament and the loser seeing an end to their season.
The boys’ quarterfinals finds the Bears (10-13, 5-7) and Cherokees (8-14, 5-6) hooking up Friday at 7:30 for a chance to advance to the semis with a win, while the loser in this game is also eliminated from further play.
The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17 with a four-game set with girls’ games at 3 and 6, while the boys games are set for 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Girls’ consolation and championship games will be held on Feb. 19 at 6 and 7:30 with the same format the following day for the boys to wrap up the tournament.
Region play begins on Feb. 23 with the champion and runner-up of District 5-AAA hosting the third- and fourth-place teams from District 6-AAA, while the District 6-AAA champion and runner-up hosting the third- and fourth-place teams from District 5-AAA. The boys’ teams will follow the same format on Feb. 24.
The semifinals and championship games in the region tourney will be held at Rhea County High School.
Admission to the district tournament is $7 per night for school-age children and adults with children not in school being admitted free. There will also be a $2 parking donation requested.
2018 All-District 5-AAA Teams
Rhyne Howard, Bradley Central, Player of the Year
Bradley Central – Kaleigh Hughes, Cambree Mayo
Cleveland – Emma Flowers, Madison Dasher, Bailey Anderson
Walker Valley – Abbey Davis, Lauren Lay, Macey Clark
East Hamilton – Madison Hayes, Dezah Lacy
McMinn County – Kaitlynn Hennessee, Kaylen Hicks
Coach of the Year — Tony Williams, Cleveland
Justin Dozier, East Hamilton, Player of the Year
Cleveland – Dionte Ware, Mullek Bradford, Devontae Davis, Romeo Wykle, Jacobi Wood
Walker Valley – Kolten Gibson, Jordan Munck
Bradley Central – Lameric TuckerEast Hamilton – DaVae Hughley, Cameron Montgomery
Ooltewah – Cam Chambers, Kobe Smith
McMinn County – Taurean Jones
Soddy-Daisy – Spencer Keylon
Coach of the Year — Jason McCowan, Cleveland.
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