Johnson City Press Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sports High schools

Hampton draws Nashville Academy

March 8th, 2014 9:00 pm by Douglas Fritz

Hampton draws Nashville Academy

MURFREESBORO — Hampton probably got the only Class A draw that could be considered favorable by most observers.

The Bulldogs will play Nashville LEAD Academy, a new charter school, in the quarterfinals of the Class A state basketball tournament Thursday in Murfreesboro. Game time is 11 a.m. (EDT) at Murphy Center.

In the Class AA event, Greeneville will face the team that eliminated Unicoi County: Strawberry Plains Carter. That contest is scheduled for Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

The pairings were announced Saturday during a blind draw at the Doubletree Hotel.

Every team in the Class A bracket appears to carry some weight, with Goodpasture Christian (30-1) at the top of the heap. A pair of Memphis schools, Memphis and Booker T. Washington, appear to be solid. Meigs County, Boyd Buchanan and Columbia Academy all have standout records.

But Hampton (29-5) drew LEAD Academy, which is just 17-11. The Panthers managed to turn the tables on East Robertson in the region finals — after losing to it in the district semifinals — and then upset Collinwood in the sectional.

“Record-wise, that’s about all we know,” said Hampton head coach Ned Smith after the draw. “But I’m sure they have played good competition. Right now we think it’s a good draw.”

A Hampton win would put the ’Dogs against the winner of Mitchell versus Goodpasture. Mitchell lost two close games against Mmphis Hamilton, and has won 24 in a row after a 3-7 start. Goodpasture’s lone loss came against Division II Brentwood Academy.

Greeneville coach Brad Woolsey has an idea what his team will be up against. The Greene Devils (25-9) will try to slow it down while Carter (26-7) will try to speed it up.

“Look at how we play and how they play, it’s opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Woolsey. “It helps to know a little about them. It’s odd that us and Carter are playing, and Jefferson County is playing Oak Ridge (in Class AAA). But that’s just the way it worked out.”

Woolsey said reaching the state tournament has been a real bonus for Greeneville.

“It means something for the program, but most of all it means something to the kids,” said Woolsey. “They’ve worked hard, especially toward the end of the season. They’ve really bought into what we’ve been doing. I feel like the kids deserve it.”

If Greeneville wins, it would play the winner of East Nashville and Chattanooga Tyner. The tournament favorite is two-time defending champion Nashville Christ Presbyterian Academy, which has won 93 straight games against in-state competition.

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