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Snapshot takeaways from the 2017-18 regular season

Douglas Fritz • Updated Feb 5, 2018 at 9:02 PM

With the regular season bearing down on the final two weeks, here’s a look at some surprises, or hopes realized, in area basketball conferences.

Poore performance

After a couple of desert-dry seasons, it was expected new head coach Chris Poore would be able to get things going in the other direction. To date, Poore’s efforts have been above and beyond expectations, producing a 22-6 record and a superb chance to at least share the Big Seven Conference title.

Hooked on Horns

Johnson County head coach Austin Atwood said before the season that the school’s football success would likely spill over to basketball. With a record of 18-8 and a good shot at second place in the Three Rivers Conference, the Longhorns are making it happen.

Unsteady crown

It didn’t look like there would be a dominant team in the Three Rivers Conference, and that’s the way things have played out. Unicoi County stands in position to win the regular season title, but recent losses to Johnson County and Sullivan East leave the door open for the district tournament.

Steady force

Hampton’s boys, year in and year out, are a team to watch in the Class A ranks — and this year has been no different. The Bulldogs appear to be building for another strong postseason.

Slim gap?

Daniel Boone’s girls have beaten Science Hill twice this season, but both games went down to the wire. Preseason talk said the Lady Hilltoppers might catch Boone in the district. Time will tell.

Lady Cougars rising

There was no consensus on how Sullivan Central would fare in its first Three Rivers Conference season after many years in the Class AAA ranks. The transition has been kind, and Central is a win away from winning the title.

When it matters

Hampton is just 4-13 when playing teams outside the Watauga Valley Conference. But in league play, the Lady Bulldogs have been a bite-tough 7-1.

Back to the past

Science Hill will honor Langston High School this week. On Tuesday night, the Hilltoppers will wear Langston Tiger T-shirts during their games against Elizabethton.

Several Langston graduates are expected to be in attendance at the games, and a table will be set up in the lobby with Langston memorabilia.

College signings

Science Hill quarterback Jaylan Adams will make things official on Wednesday. He will sign to play with The Citadel at 3 p.m. at the high school. ...

Elizabethton’s Chandlor Mullins will take his step to the college ranks when he signs to play football with East Tennessee State. The ceremony will take place Wednesday at the high school at 3:30 p.m. ...

Science Hill’s soccer program will send a pair of players to the next level. Tess Mrozek will sign with East Tennessee State while Merrin Gilmer will do likewise with Samford. Both signings are set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. ...

Science Hill’s Carson Lodge will sign to play baseball with Bryan College. The ceremony will take play at the Hilltoppers’ gym on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ...

In softball, Science Hill slugger Mia Edwardson will put her name on the dotted line with Walters State at 3 p.m. ...

Daniel Boone’s football program will produce a pair of college signings Wednesday. Bailey Presnell and Zack Taylor will make things official with Carson-Newman at 10:45 a.m. at the the high school. ...

Hampton’s standout running back Hunter Davenport has made his college choice. He will make it official Wednesday when he signs with Carson-Newman at 2 p.m. in the high school library. ...

Tennessee High will have four athletes making their college decision Wednesday. The ceremony begins at 2:45 at the high school. Signing are Tanner Booker (Montreat College, baseball), Kaylee McMillian (Montreat College, volleyball), Judson McCray (West Virginia Tech, wrestling) and Kennedy Tester (Lincoln Memorial University, soccer).

Wrestling update

Science Hill’s wrestling program continues to climb, and there’s only one more step to take. The Hilltoppers claimed a runner-up finish during the state duals tournament over the weekend in Franklin.

After a third-place finish in 2017, Science Hill powered into the finals before losing to Cleveland. It was Science Hill’s deepest-ever penetration toward a title. The Hilltoppers were making their 17th state duals tournament appearance in 18 years.

Head coach Jimmy Miller has done an outstanding job of guiding his program to the next level, building new architecture upon the strong walls put in place by former coach Jeff Price.

Science Hill will try to add to its postseason bounty in the region individual tournament Saturday at David Crockett. The state individual tournament will be held Feb. 15-17 in Franklin.

Boys Games of the Week

Tuesday

Johnson County at Sullivan East

Hampton at North Greene

Thursday

Johnson County at Sullivan South

Friday

Hampton at Cloudland

Saturday

Sullivan South at Johnson County

If Johnson County is going to earn at least a No. 2 seed for the district tournament, the Longhorns will have to successfully navigate back-to-back battles with the Rebels. ...

First-place, and the top seeding for the district, is on the line when Hampton travels to Baileyton.

Girls Games of the Week

Tuesday

Dobyns-Bennett at Tennessee High

Sullivan Central at Unicoi County

Hampton at North Greene

Friday

Hampton at Cloudland

North Greene at Unaka

The Lady Blue Devils don’t control their own destiny, but they can make a statement about their district tournament chances against the first-place Lady Cougars. ...

Just like in the boys’ race, Hampton and North Greene will face off to decide the league title.

Basketball rankings

Things have gotten uneven in the area, requiring a shakeup in this week’s High School Top 10. From spots three through eight, it a jumble. Johnson County makes the biggest jump, moving two spots to No. 4.

Team (W-L) — Prv

1. Dobyns-Bennett (22-6) — 1

2. Science Hill (19-7) — 2

3. Unicoi County (16-10) — 4

4. Johnson County (18-8) — 6

5. Daniel Boone (13-11) — 3

6. Tennessee High (14-12) — 7

7. Sullivan East (15-12) — 8

8. David Crockett (12-14) — 5

9. Hampton (16-9) — 9

10. Sullivan South (14-13) — NR

 

Sullivan South works its way up a spot to No. 5 in this week’s girls rankings.

Team (W-L) — Prv

1. Daniel Boone (22-4) — 1

2. Science Hill (22-4) — 2

3. Dobyns-Bennett (19-8) — 3

4. Sullivan Central (13-8) — 4

5. Sullivan South (17-9) — 6

6. Unicoi County (16-8) — 8

7. North Greene (17-9) — 7

8. Unaka (19-9) — 9

9. Cloudland (18-8) — 5

10. Tennessee High (17-9) — 10

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