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Toughness, team-first attitudes displayed by Robinson, Hensley

Douglas Fritz • Feb 6, 2017 at 7:05 PM

When players get hurt in high school athletics, it can be a tough decision about when — or whether — to put them back in the game.

And while the type of injuries suffered by Elizabethton’s Michael Robinson and Unicoi County’s Trevor Hensley didn’t appear to be serious, it was good to see a little old-fashioned toughness on display Friday night in Erwin. It was impressive for both players to come back into a tightly contested game and play the way they did.

Robinson and Hensley are two of the area’s best players. The determination, toughness and leadership they showed was important. When the best players on the court are willing to play through a busted nose (Robinson) and a poke in the eye (Hensley), it sets a good tone for the rest of the team.

Robinson and Hensley aren’t just scorers, they are team guys. The same thing goes for Sullivan East’s Gavin Grubb. The Three Rivers Conference has quite a trio this season. And thanks in part to the leadership of Robinson, Hensley and Grubb, the upcoming District 1-AA tournament should be a dandy.

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District basketball is right around the corner. Here are the sites for the area events:

1-AAA — Science Hill (begins Monday)

1-AA — Unicoi County (begins Feb. 15)

1-A — Daniel Boone (begins Feb. 17).

Here are the region sites (after the quarterfinals, which are at the home court of the higher-seeded team):

1-AAA — Science Hill

1-AA — Unicoi County

1-A — Chuckey-Doak High School

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Wrestling update

Science Hill and Tennessee High have established themselves as two of the best wrestling programs in the state.

The proof came at the TSSAA Class AAA state duals over the weekend in Franklin. Both teams made it to the championship bracket semifinals before eventual champion Bradley Central beat Tennessee High and runner-up Cleveland edged Science Hill.

The Hilltoppers defeated Arlington in the consolations semifinals while Tennessee High topped Knox Halls. Then Science Hill earned third place with a 30-22 decision over the Vikings.

“It was a big weekend for our program, and a great achievement to get back on the podium as a team,” said Science Hill head coach Jimmy Miller. “I can’t say I felt bad beating Tennessee High for third place. The kids were banged up from the other four matches throughout the weekend, but each of them found a way to contribute.

“I knew we were going to be competitive this year with the depth of kids we had. We wrestled a grueling schedule this year by design in preparation for the scenario we faced (at the state).

“We only graduate three starters and are junior heavy in our lineup, which should boast for another deep run next year.”

It was quite a performance by both squads, and a likely precursor to success in the Region 1-AAA individual tournament — which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Dobyns-Bennett.

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Prep signings

David Crockett’s T.K. Hill put his signature on paper Monday to continue his football career. The Pioneers’ standout running back made it official with Union College. …

Daniel Boone sent four more athletes into college athletics, including three in football on Friday. Ethan Harrell and Justin Clark signed with the University of the Cumberlands while Justin Turner made it official with Union College. Also, Trailblazers’ baseball standout Ian Weir signed with Milligan College.

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BOYS FRIDAY NIGHT SPECIAL AWARD

Kyler Lewis of Unaka

The Rangers’ 6-3 senior continued his season-long scoring assault in a 63-51 win over South Greene. Lewis scored 35 points to lead his team to the victory. He is averaging 27 points per game for the year.

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BOYS GAMES OF THE WEEK

Tuesday

Happy Valley at Elizabethton

North Greene at Cloudland

Friday

Elizabethton at Science Hill

 

It’s a big rivalry week for the Cyclones. These games won’t impact their district seeding, but are two chances to build significant momentum for postseason play. …

Cloudland and North Greene will be favored to meet again very soon in an important district semifinal game. So with the Huskies already handling the Highlanders once this season, this is an important game for Cloudland’s postseason confidence.

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Science Hill is 11-0 in the Big Seven Conference, and has won nine of its last 10 games. The loss was to previous No. 1-ranked Elizabethton, but the Cyclones lost at home to Sullivan East — Elizabethton’s second Three Rivers Conference home loss of the season.

Meanwhile, East has two losses to Daniel Boone, which sits in third place in the Big Seven.

Adding these things up, Science Hill comes out on top in this week’s much-shaken High School Top 10. But the Hilltoppers will have to prove it Friday night at home against the Cyclones.

Team W-L (Previous)

1. Science Hill 19-9 (2)

2. Sullivan East 24-6 (3)

3. Elizabethton 21-6 (1)

4. Greeneville 16-7 (4)

5. Unicoi County 15-11 (5)

6. Daniel Boone 14-10 (9)

7. David Crockett 13-12 (7)

8. Dobyns-Bennett 9-15 (6)

9. Hampton 15-8 (10)

10. Sullivan Central 14-12 (8)

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GIRLS FRIDAY NIGHT SPECIAL AWARD

Hailie Hatcher of Tennessee High

The Vikings’ 5-3 junior got things done across the board in a 44-39 rivalry victory over Sullivan Central.

Hatcher finished with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

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GIRLS GAMES OF THE WEEK

Tuesday

Daniel Boone at Sullivan Central

Happy Valley at Elizabethton

Hampton at South Greene

Friday

South Greene at Morristown West

 

Daniel Boone can clinch the outright Big Seven Conference title by beating the Lady Cougars. …

In a potential district-semifinal preview, Elizabethton and the Lady Warriors will battle for postseason momentum. …

Already owning two wins over a team that is a heavy favorite to repeat as the Class A state champion, Morristown West goes for the hat trick.

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Sullivan East is on the verge of running the table in the Three Rivers Conference, and has 12 wins in its last 13 games. The momentum adds up to a two-spot jump to No. 4 in this week’s girls rankings.

Team W-L (Previous)

1. South Greene 24-4 (1)

2. Daniel Boone 22-4 (2)

3. Science Hill 22-4 (3)

4. Sullivan East 20-8 (6)

5. Sullivan Central 17-9 (4)

6. Greeneville 18-9 (5)

7. Tennessee High 14-13 (9)

8. Elizabethton 12-11 (7)

9. Happy Valley 13-10 (8)

10. Cloudland 16-10 (10)

 

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