Junior Bucs' only league threat is Cloudland

Douglas Fritz • Dec 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Many area teams are beginning to focus on upcoming holiday tournaments instead of the local scene.

However, at least one stake has been driven into the ground in the early part of the basketball season.

Probably no team has made a louder noise than University High's boys. The Junior Bucs have jumped ahead of the Watauga Valley Conference pack with a trio of victories in a league where any of five teams is a threat to walk away with the title.

Unfortunately for the Junior Bucs, they haven't met the team that still carries the role of favorite. Games at Cloudland (Jan. 11) and at Brooks Gym (Jan. 29) remain on the schedule.

University High has the makeup of a team that can stand up not only at home, but also on the road. Good guard play and quality work in the post combined with tough defense make the Junior Bucs a challenge to brush aside.

On the girls' side of things in the Watauga Valley, nothing has been settled. North Greene, Hampton and Unaka — the biggest league-title threats — each own a win over University High, which figures to be looking up at the other teams all season.

Unaka meets the Lady Huskies on Thursday while Hampton doesn't see North Greene (Jan. 11) or Unaka (Jan. 22) until later in the season.

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Elizabethton had a trio of football players put together good efforts in the Tennessee-Virginia Senior Bowl All-Star Classic on Saturday in Bristol, Va.

Terrence Turner was chosen as the offensive most valuable player for the Tennessee squad, leading his team to a 27-0 victory.

Turner, a running back, finished with 80 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving.

Other Cyclones who helped the Tennessee squad were linebacker Luke Blanton (7 tackles, fumble recovery) and defensive tackle Ian Glover (2 tackles, fumble recovery).

The three players were a big part of an Elizabethton team that reached the Class 3A state semifinals this season before losing to eventual champion Christian Academy of Knoxville.

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Boys basketball games of the week — (Today) Sullivan South at Sullivan East, North Greene at Greeneville; (Thursday) North Greene at Unaka, Johnson County at Cloudland; (Friday) Cleveland at Science Hill, Hampton at Johnson County; (Saturday) Oak Ridge at Science Hill.

Interestingly enough, Cleveland and Oak Ridge each suffered their first loss of the season on Friday. Cleveland fell to Ooltewah while Oak Ridge lost to Powell. But both are still expected to test Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett in the two-night doubleheader. …

After playing a fairly soft schedule so far, North Greene raises the bar quite a bit this week.

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Boys pick of the week — Cloudland 63, Johnson County 60.

This one should be quite a scrap, with home-court advantage helping the Highlanders get over the hump.

Picks record: 2-0.

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Boys player of the week — David Casaday of Sullivan East.

With an impressive effort, the senior guard rang up 37 points in a tough 75-70 loss to Abingdon, Va., on Tuesday.

Casaday bounced back with 19 points in a 61-38 revenge win over Tennessee High on Friday.

Then on Saturday, Casaday netted 20 points as the Patriots raced past Providence Academy, 73-45.

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Elizabethton moves past Tennessee High into the No. 5 spot in this weeks' Prep Top 10.

Team W-L Prv

1. Science Hill 15-1 1

2. Dobyns-Bennett 4-1 3

3. Greeneville 9-2 2

4. Sullivan East 11-4 4

5. Elizabethton 6-2 6

6. Tennessee High 7-4 5

7. Cloudland 7-3 7

8. Daniel Boone 6-5 8

9. University High 9-2 9

10. Hampton 8-3 10

(tie) North Greene 10-2 nr

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Girls basketball games of the week — (Today) Sullivan South at Sullivan East; (Thursday) North Greene at Unaka;

(Thursday through Saturday) Doc Maples Holiday Hoops Invitational at Viking Hall in Bristol; (Saturday) Science Hill at Murfreesboro Riverdale.

Sullivan South continues to be a surprise team in the early going while Sullivan East is trying to find a “noise-maker” victory.

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Girls pick of the week — Murfreesboro Riverdale 72, Science Hill 69.

Some folks believe Science Hill is favored to win the Class AAA state title. Other people see Riverdale's 10-0 record — along with an 89-72 whipping of Memphis Central on Saturday (forcing 27 turnovers) — and defending-state-champion status, and say the Lady Warriors are the team to beat.

The Lady Hilltoppers will travel halfway across the state to play a pair of games. They can establish themselves as a clear-cut favorite, or face the rest of the season wondering if Riverdale is still just a tick above.

Riverdale is averaging 81.2 points per game while Science Hill is scoring at a clip of 68 per contest.

Picks record: 2-0.

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Girls player of the week — Gabby Lyon of Science Hill.

The Lady Hilltoppers continued their unbeaten ways, and Lyon had a major hand in it.

In an 87-32 win over Greeneville on Tuesday, Lyon racked up 25 points and swatted away four shots.

Then on Friday, Lyon came back with a 13-point effort in a 79-43 slap-down of Dobyns-Bennett.

— — —

Everything remains solid in this week's girls rankings:

Team W-L Prv

1. Science Hill 10-0 1

2. Elizabethton 10-1 2

3. Tennessee High 6-2 3

4. Sullivan South 8-1 4

5. Dobyns-Bennett 5-2 5

6. North Greene 11-1 6

7. Hampton 9-3 7

8. South Greene 9-3 8

9. Unicoi County 6-4 9

10. Volunteer 10-5 10

(tie) Sullivan East 9-3 10

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