Cloudland may be tucked away in the corner of the state, but the school made noise all the way to Memphis on Wednesday.
Brooke Rhodes was announced as a Class A Miss Basketball finalist by the TSSAA.
“I was really shocked, just to be honest, with her making it,” said Lady Highlanders' head coach Matt Birchfield. “I feel like the eastern end of the state gets overlooked sometimes. We've had some really good players from a lot of our schools — Elizabethton, Hampton, Science Hill — and had a lot of talent overlooked.”
Rhodes was joined by Jackson County's Jaycee Coe and Moore County's Sarah Raby. The winner will be announced March 9 at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.
“We're blessed to hear she made it, and excited for our program and school,” said Birchfield. “It's a prestigious honor for her, and says a lot for what she has done.”
Rhodes averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds while leading the Lady Highlanders to the Watauga Valley Conference title. Rhodes, a 6-1 senior post, was a big reason Cloudland was able to overcome the loss of multiple players before and during the season.
Birchfield said Cloudland's run to the title certainly didn't hurt Rhodes' cause.
“We finally got on a run late in the season, and I feel that was critical for her in getting votes,” said Birchfield. “I feel like she's had a super season, even coming back after a stretched MCL.”
The Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards will be presented to the top girls and boys in five classifications prior to the championship game awards presentation for each class.
A statewide committee of sportswriters selected winners based on performance during the 2012-2013 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration. High school head basketball coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists.
Here is the list of the other Mr. and Miss Basketball finalists:
Class AA Miss Basketball
Brandi Goodman, Obion County
Elizabeth Masengil, McMinn Central
Abbey Sissom, Cannon County
Class AAA Miss Basketball
Nina Davis, Memphis Central
Olivia Jones, Riverdale
Alexa Middleton, Riverdale
Division II-A Miss Basketball
Eliza Edwards, University School of Jackson
Kaylah Keys, Harding Academy
Derica Wyatt, Franklin Road Academy
Division II-AA Miss Basketball
Jasmine Cincore, Briarcrest
Kennesha Nichols, Ensworth
Justice Swett, Ensworth
Class A Mr. Basketball
Alex Fountain, Wartburg Central
Zarmarlus Griffin, Booker T. Washington
Derrick Spears, Middle Tennessee Christian
Class AA Mr. Basketball
Jalen Lindsey, Christ Presbyterian Academy
A.J. Merriweather, Jackson South Side
Mason Ramsey, Livingston Academy
Class AAA Mr. Basketball
Robert Hubbs, Dyer County
Nick King, Memphis East
Darius Thompson, Blackman
Division II-A Mr. Basketball
Skal Labissiere, Evangelical Christian School
Cameron Payne, Lausanne
Burton Sampson, Webb School of Knoxville
Division II-AA Mr. Basketball
Corneilus Elder, Ensworth
Austin Nichols, Briarcrest
Reggie Upshaw, Baylor