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Four area basketball teams 32 minutes away from The 'Boro

Douglas Fritz • Updated Mar 7, 2020 at 9:32 AM

The sprints. The extra time shooting free throws. The drills. Coach wants us to run that play again?

Five months of hard work comes down to 32 minutes.

Science Hill, Daniel Boone, Elizabethton and Cloudland will play girls sectional basketball contests Saturday night at 7 o’clock. A win punches a ticket to the state tournament next week in Murfreesboro. A loss ends the season.

Here’s a look at what is in store for each of these area teams.

KNOX BEARDEN (29-3) at SCIENCE HILL (27-7)

The Lady Bulldogs’ resume is impressive. Of their three losses, two were to Region 2-AAA champion Maryville — a team Bearden also defeated twice. The other loss was against No. 1-ranked and Region 3-AAA champion Bradley Central.

Plus Bearden defeated Science Hill 59-43 on Nov. 29 on a neutral court. However, Bearden is 2-0 on the Lady Hilltoppers’ home court, whipping Elizabethton and North Carolina’s Mountain Heritage during the Roundball event in early December.

“It’s a tough matchup,” said Science Hill head coach Scottie Whaley. “They’ve been ranked in the top five all year. They are really big and really long.”

Bearden is led by 6-foot-3 Jakhyia Davis, who has signed to play at ETSU. She was held to 10 points in the region final, but had 14 in the win over Science Hill.

Other keys for Bearden include point guard Zneyah McLaughlin (15 points against Maryville) and wing Jah’niya Bussell (13 points). Freshman Avery Treadwell, a 6-foot-2 post, had 17 points in the region semifinals. She had 12 in the meeting with the Lady Hilltoppers.

“They mostly play a matchup zone,” said Whaley. “Davis is a heck of a player. Treadwell is a big freshman kid who is good. The guards are really good, and they are good at what they do.”

Science Hill will try to win with an uptempo game.

“We will try to get the pace where we want it,” said Whaley. “They will try to grind it out.”

Science Hill is led by post-wing Alasia Smith, who has been a double-double machine over the past few weeks. Jeila Greenlee, Nae Marion and Erin Egerbrecht are other scoring threats along with Jasmin Myers.

HISTORY BOOK

Last time in state tournament

Bearden (2018), Science Hill (2019)

State appearances

Bearden (4), Science Hill (7)

DANIEL BOONE (20-12) at MARYVILLE (29-4)

It’s a tall order for the Lady Trailblazers, but so was the region semifinal contest against Jefferson County — a game Boone won in triple overtime.

Maryville lost a Hall of Fame game to Stone Memorial, and got clipped in early December by Bearden and cross-town rival Heritage. Since then they are 23-1 with a district final loss to Bearden they quickly avenged in the region.

It starts with Denae Fritz, who had nine of her 17 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win over Bearden. Other key players include guards Aaliyah Vananda (15 points), Gracie Midkiff (12 points) and Katie Cunningham. Senior post Jazz Ervin is also a threat.

Boone counters with Jaycie Jenkins leading the way. She had 44 points against Jefferson County. Also in the threat mix are Maddie Runnels and Kayla Gibson.

HISTORY BOOK

Last time in state tournament

Boone (2018), Maryville (1999)

State appearances

Boone (3), Maryville (3)

GATLINBURG-PITTMAN (22-11) at ELIZABETHTON (23-10)

It’s a trip the Lady Highlanders are familiar with, but not one they’ve enjoyed. Pittman suffered back-to-back sectional losses to the Lady Cyclones in 2015 and 2016.

But this is Pittman’s sixth consecutive trip to the sectional while Elizabethton returns for the first time since 2016.

Pittman is led by post Ivy Bales, who is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game. Senior guard Shelby Moore had 22 points against Carter in the region final, and averages 13 points and seven rebounds per contest.

Elizabethton counters with 6-footers Kaitlin Bailey and Morgan Headrick. Other keys include Kaylen Shell, Torrie Roberts and Lina Lyon.

HISTORY BOOK

Last time in state tournament

Pittman (2018), Elizabethton (2016)

State appearances

Pittman (2), Elizabethton (9)

CLOUDLAND (25-6) at ONEIDA (28-6)

This is the Lady Indians’ third visit to the sectional round in the last four years and their second game at home.

Among the keys for Oneida is Region 2-A most valuable player Kendyl West, who had 17 points in the final against Wartburg. Chelsea Newport totaled 16 points in that game. Post Katelyn Stiltner is another key performer.

In terms of a common opponent, both Cloudland and Oneida lost a game at York Institute. Oneida avenged its 25-point loss 16 days later at home.

Cloudland is led by Jasmine Birchfield and Gracie Freeman. Mandy Benfield totaled 16 points in the Region 1-A final loss to North Greene.

HISTORY BOOK

Last time in state tournament

Cloudland (2013), Oneida (2019)

State appearances

Cloudland (5), Oneida (17)

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