After a very successful inaugural event a year ago, the second annual East/West Classic is set to tip off Friday.The 14-game, two-day hoops showcase will once again be hosted by Bradley Central and …
After a very successful inaugural event a year ago, the second annual East/West Classic is set to tip off Friday.
The 14-game, two-day hoops showcase will once again be hosted by Bradley Central and East Hamilton high schools, bringing together 15 teams, including seven or eight that are expected to make serious state tournament runs from across the state to participate.
This year's field includes five Memphis-area squads, the Riverdale boys from Murfreesboro, as well as both Oak Ridge units. Along with the hosts, other local teams include both Rhea County squads and the Cleveland High girls.
Bradley will also use the special event to honor former standouts Alice Hancock, Amy (Geren) McGowan and Paige Redman, inducting them into the Bearette Hall of Fame before Saturday evening's game.
The brainchild of East Hamilton coach Hunter Gremore, who was a longtime mentor in the Memphis area, and with the help of veteran Bradley coach Jason Reuter, the East/West Classic brings top-notch teams to town, allowing area hardwood fans a special treat.
"There are a lot of very good teams from across the state coming in again, so there will be plenty of really good basketball for local fans to enjoy," stated Reuter.
"For $8 a day, fans get seven games of top-quality basketball competition. It was a big success last year. We're expecting it to be even better this time."
Last December's inaugural effort was highlighted by a matchup of the Bearettes and Houston, which turned out to be a Final Four pairing at last year's TSSAA Class AAA State Championships.
While those two teams won't square off this time around, there are plenty of exciting matchups are on tap.
Off to a 7-1 start to the new season, the Bradley girls will battle a pair of Memphis squads — Southwind (5-3) Friday at 5 p.m. in Collegedale before facing Arlington (8-1) Saturday at 6:30 in Jim Smiddy Arena.
"Both teams are very athletic, long and play an up-tempo type game," the Bradley coach related. "Houston and Arlington are Top 10 teams in the state and expected to be in the state tournament. They have a pair of sisters (6-foot-4 Lanetta and 6-foot-2 Lanyce Williams) that have already signed with (the University of) Memphis."
Southwind comes in averaging better than 60 points an outing, including four games where they netted 78, 74, 71 and 69 markers, plus beat a strong Craigmont team 73-49 last night.
Even more potent, Arlington had posted back-to-back 79-point efforts, including whipping Southwind by 44 points. The Lady Tigers lone loss came to unbeaten Houston (8-0) in a 73-56 contest.
"This is the type of competition we want to play. You only get better by playing top teams," remarked Reuter, whose Bearettes are currently ranked fifth in one state poll and predicted to vie for a third state tournament berth in the last five years.
The Bradley boys will open action Friday at 6:30 against Rhea County (1-5) before getting put to the test by Oak Ridge (6-1) Saturday in the 8 o'clock nightcap.
Coach Aaron Green's Wildcats have strung together three straight 80-plus point tallies and are averaging better than 70 points a contest.
Oak Ridge's lone loss came in a Thanksgiving tournament in the Bahamas. The Wildcats will also battle Bolton (2-2) in Friday's opening round.
The other big boys' matchup finds the host Hurricanes (7-1) tangling with Riverdale (6-1) Friday at 12:30. Averaging better than 70 points a game, the EH boys' lone loss came at Cookeville in a one-point Hall of Champions game.
The action will open in Collegedale on Friday, with the host Lady Hurricanes (5-2) taking on Bolton (4-1) at 11 a.m.
After dropping a pair of games with three starters missing last week, East Hamilton bounced back strong Tuesday with an easy 56-32 over Ooltewah.
The Lady Hurricanes will take on 2018 state runner-up Houston at 11 Saturday morning in Smiddy Arena. Topping the 70-point mark seven times so far, the seventh-ranked Lady Mustangs are tied for the top scoring team in the state at a 72.4 ppg clip.
The final day's schedule also finds Cleveland (4-5) facing off against Bolton at 3:30 in a girls' contest.
The Lady Raiders, who travel to Soddy-Daisy Friday for 5-AAA action, are coming off a 70-49 victory over county-rival Walker Valley and are currently sitting atop the district standings with a 2-0 mark.
After taking on Arlington Friday afternoon, the Oak Ridge girls, coached by Redman, will tangle with Southwind Saturday at 12:30.
The Lady Wildcats (3-1), who like Bradley are heading to Phoenix in a couple of weeks for the Nike Tournament of Champions, posted an 84-point outing Tuesday and have a 19-point win over Meigs County in a Hall of Champions game to open the season. Their lone loss came by a single point (49-48) at Campbell County.
Friday, Dec. 7
at East Hamilton HS
Bolton vs. East Hamilton (G), 11 a.m.
Riverdale vs. East Hamilton (B), 12:30
Arlington vs. Oak Ridge (G), 2
Bolton vs. Oak Ridge (B), 3:30
Southwind vs. Bradley Central (G), 5
Rhea County vs. Bradley Central (B), 6:30
Rhea County vs. Houston (G), 8
Saturday, Dec. 8
at Jim Smiddy Arena
Houston vs. East Hamilton (G), 11 a.m.
Southwind vs. Oak Ridge (G), 12:30
Bolton vs. Riverdale (B), 2
Bolton vs. Cleveland (G), 3:30
Rhea County vs. East Hamilton (B), 5
Arlington vs. Bradley Central (G), 6:30
Oak Ridge vs. Bradley Central (B), 8.
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