Most entertaining game — It may have been a fairly unimportant game between two teams in different classifications, but the second half of Science Hill’s contest Friday against Greeneville was at the top of the charts.
Even though the Hilltoppers made their share of mistakes, Greeneville made a lot of things happen — showing a burst in the final two minutes of regulation and both overtimes that wasn’t evident in the first 30 minutes of the contest.
It was two good coaches going head to head, and effort was at a premium for both teams — high school hoops at its best.
Most complete teams — Hampton and Unicoi County boys, and Elizabethton’s girls.
Hampton can come at an opponent from so many different directions, it’s hard to find a way to keep the Bulldogs out of the hoop. The same thing applies to Unicoi, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise those teams staged a 52-51 thriller in Saturday’s regular-season finale.
As for the Lady Cyclones, everybody knows about the Marosites twins. But they also have two solid post players, a steady point guard, and depth.
Most irritating game — Not only did the referees malfunction at the end of Sullivan South’s 55-54 victory over Unicoi County on Jan. 31, bits and pieces of the entire game were played in malfunction mode. On-court decisions were head-shaking at times, and passes often times found opposing jerseys.
So when a referee’s whistle didn’t stop action in the final seconds, it seemed to fit in with the rest of the contest.
Best picture of consistency — Night in, night out, Science Hill’s girls brought enough effort to the gym to overwhelm their opponent. For a team that often had half the game won before the opening tip, coach Keith Turner’s group never played like it.
Best individual effort in a loss — Patrick Good of David Crockett didn’t help his team beat Dobyns-Bennett on Jan. 24, but his 41 points showed a refuse-to-quit attitude. Yes, Good took a lot of shots, but there haven’t been too many players in this neck of the woods capable of 40-plus points no matter how many attempts they got.
Best board work — Unicoi County’s Destinie Hayes did it all season, averaging 16 rebounds per contest. Most impressive was her effort on Jan. 18 against Sullivan South. Getting in foul trouble in the first half, Hayes went to the bench with five boards. No problem, she grabbed 14 rebounds in the second half.
Best job of overcoming adversity — If someone had said in November that Sullivan East’s girls would lose point guard Brandy Watkins for 20 games and post Tori James for eight and still win 25 games, such a statement would have drawn laughs from some people. Opponents aren’t laughing now.
Best string of steals — Kayla Marosites of Elizabethton went through a stretch late in the season where she got 27 steals in four games. There were takeaways, intercepted passes, and recoveries, and Marosites converted many of them into points for her team.
Throughout the course of the season, Unicoi County’s Ethan Rice was the best pickpocket in the area.
Bewst comeback from disaster — Dobyns-Bennett limped into January but was roaring as it entered February. Along the way, the Indians captured the Big Seven title.
Biggest surprise teams — It was a dead heat between Volunteer’s girls and North Greene’s girls. On the boys’ side, it was Tennessee High.
The Lady Falcons finished second in the Big Seven for the first time since maybe never. The Lady Huskies beat South Greene and Cloudland. Twice. Each. Enough said.
As for the Vikings, 22-6 and a couple of baskets away from a Big Seven title was not expected.
Old man winter may not understand, but spring sports were granted the rights to begin practice Monday.
The TSSAA opened the doors for baseball, softball, soccer, tennis and track to officially start working outdoors.
With the weather forecast for this week, it’s hard to imagine teams will make much headway in preparation for the 2014 season.
Still, the regular season is just a month away. Teams can begin playing in earnest on March 10.
Murfreesboro Blackman will put a player into the highest level of women’s college basketball in a couple of years.
Junior MeMe Jackson committed Saturday to play for the University of Tennessee. The 5-foot-11 guard had offers from Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and others. She is averaging 9.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game while helping her team post a record of 24-1. She is ranked as the No. 43 player in the country in ESPN’s Class of 2015.
Blackman is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AAA, one spot ahead of Science Hill, and is listed in the top spot nationally by USA Today and MaxPreps.
Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.
Wrestling update: Area competitors will take their best shots at titles as the individual state tournament gets under way Thursday in Franklin.
Class AAA holds its round of 32 and round of 16 on Thursday. Class A-AA gets in the mix Friday with the round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals. Also on Friday are the Class AAA quarterfinals and semifinals.
Championship finals in both classes are set to begin Saturday at 6 p.m. (EST).
Prep signings: Sullivan East landed a pair of athletes in the college ranks last week.
Earning deals with Lees-McRae were Shane Stafford and Jennifer Warren. Stafford signed for cross country while Warren did likewise for track.
Boys player of the week — Zeke Clark of Elizabethton.
Things didn’t start well for the Cyclones’ senior guard, but he finished with a flourish.
Clark totaled 14 points on Monday as the Cyclones were dealt a 68-43 setback against Unicoi County. The next night, Clark came back with 17 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals in a 59-47 win over Sullivan South.
On Saturday, Clark capped his standout week with arguably the best game of his career. He had 30 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals in a 71-63 victory over Cosby.
Final boys picks record: 5-3.
Unicoi County muscles past Hampton for the No. 2 spot in the final Prep Top 10 of the season.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 17-8 1
2. Unicoi County 23-5 3
3. Hampton 23-4 2
4. Tennessee High 22-6 4
5. Elizabethton 20-7 5
6. David Crockett 20-11 6
7. Greeneville 19-8 nr
8. Science Hill 19-10 8
9. Daniel Boone 16-13 9
10. Sullivan South 15-11 7
This Week in Prep History: February 9, 1990.
All five starters for Daniel Boone scored in double figures as the Lady Trailblazers earned an 80-66 win over Science Hill.
Tonya Bailey led the way with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Krystall Pleasant added 18 points. Ashley McQueen had 16 points, Bo Johnson totaled 12, and Sheila Clark chipped in with 10.
Lisa Gaitor had 20 points and 16 rebounds for Science Hill.
Girls player of the week — Gabby Lyon of Science Hill.
Helping her team finish off a perfect regular season, the senior had a solid week.
The 6-foot-1 post player totaled 12 points in Tuesday’s 70-37 whipping of Volunteer. On Friday, Lyon came back with 22 points, eight rebounds and five steals in an 86-26 crushing of Greeneville.
Final girls picks record: 8-0.
Sullivan East and South Greene take advantage of faltering Volunteer to each move up a spot in the final girls’ rankings of the season.
Team W-L Prv
1. Science Hill 28-0 1
2. Elizabethton 23-3 2
3. Sullivan East 25-6 4
4. South Greene 22-8 5
5. Volunteer 24-8 3
6. North Greene 21-9 6
7. Cloudland 23-5 7
8. Dobyns-Bennett 18-8 8
9. Daniel Boone 18-11 9
10. Hampton 17-11 10
(tie) Sullivan South 15-12 nr