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Five area teams one step away from Murfreesboro

Douglas Fritz • Mar 8, 2020 at 7:07 PM

Five area teams are still in the hunt to track down the elusive gold ball.

Science Hill and Hampton will be at home while Dobyns-Bennett, Sullivan South and University High hit the road Monday night for sectional basketball contests. At stake are berths in the state tournament, and all games begin at 7.

Here’s a look at each of the matchups:

OAK RIDGE (26-5) at SCIENCE HILL (32-3)

The Wildcats bring plenty of ammunition into the fray.

“They have size inside and superior athletes on the perimeter,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Ken Cutlip. “And they will guard you 94 feet with pressure. We must win the rebounding battle, handle their pressure and most importantly, make shots.”

Jeremy Miller, a 6-5 swingman, is at the forefront of Oak Ridge’s attack.

“He is their best all-around player,” Cutlip said. “He is very skilled and scores inside and outside.”

Another standout is Jonathan Milloway. The 6-7 junior post can dominate in the paint and also has a 3-point touch.

Point guard Isaiah Johnson is lightning quick with a swish-worthy mid-range shot. And 6-3 guard Johnathan Stewart is athletic with hot-streak shooting ability. He was the only Oak Ridge player in double figures in the Region 2-AAA championship loss to Maryville, totaling 10 points.

The Wildcats lost twice to top-ranked Cleveland; Division II semifinalist Knox Webb; a team from Mississippi; and Maryville.

DOBYNS-BENNETT (19-13) at MARYVILLE (29-4)

It starts for the Rebels with Mr. Basketball finalist Joe Anderson, who is averaging 22 points, 5.4 assists and 2.7 steals per game.

“They are led by one of the most efficient players I’ve seen play in high school,” D-B head coach Chris Poore said of Anderson. “They don’t have any weaknesses on offense and they constantly make the right play.

“We will have to find a way to disrupt their rhythm offensively and we will have to make shots on our end.”

Maryville also gets double-digit scoring from Jack Brown (12 per game), Ashton Maples (11) and Jake Seiler (10).

The Rebels started 3-3, losing to Greeneville, Walker Valley and top-ranked Cleveland, but beat Dobyns-Bennett 73-58 in a Hall of Fame contest. Since that start, Maryville is 26-1 with the only setback a two-point decision against Cleveland on Feb. 12.

SULLIVAN SOUTH (29-5) at ALCOA (21-10)

Six-four senior Nick Roberts should have the Rebels’ full attention.

“He’s can shoot and drive and do it all,” said South head coach Michael McMeans.

T.J. Martin, a 5-10 point guard, and 6-foot freshman Tai Cates are also threats for the Tornadoes.

“They are very athletic,” said McMeans. “They rebound well on the offensive end and attack the basket. We will have to be physical in the post. Offensively, we will have to do a good job attacking their guards.”

The Tornadoes played a demanding schedule. Their losses included Class AAA foes Farragut, South-Doyle, and Maryville (twice) and Division II Knoxville Webb (twice). They also lost twice to Knox Fulton, but beat the Falcons in the Region 2-AA finals. Another loss was against Upperman, which is ranked No. 3 in the state in Class AA.

HARRIMAN (21-12) at HAMPTON (25-10)

It has been an up-and-down season the Blue Devils, and a trip to Hampton for a sectional game doesn’t figure to offer a respite.

The Blue Devils have gone just 13-7 in the new year and lost four times to Oneida. The most recent of those defeats was a strange one in the Region 2-A final.

Harriman went scoreless in the first 12 minutes of the game as Oneida built a 22-0 lead. The Blue Devils missed their first 24 shots and trailed 28-5 at halftime.

Somehow, Harriman fought all the way back for a 48-48 tie behind the play of Brady Stubbs and his 20 second-half points. The Blue Devils missed a trey at the buzzer that could have won the game as Oneida held on for a 54-52 decision.

Nick Pelfrey totaled 13 points for Harriman.

“Harriman plays 13 players and they press 32 minutes,” said Hampton head coach Ned Smith. “They are very quick. We need to get the ball down the floor against the press and take good shots.”

UNIVERSITY HIGH (21-13) at ONEIDA (27-7)

Coming off the wild finish against Harriman, it’s hard to predict what kind of mindset the Indians will have.

UH head coach Herman Rice said Oneida is a very good team.

“They have some size in the post and are a good fundamental team,” said Rice. “I’m sure it will be a very hostile environment, but when you play in the Watauga Valley Conference, every away game is a hostile environment. Our kids are used to that, and I don’t expect them to be intimidated.”

UH is battle tested, said Rice.

“Our kids have been on the floor with nationally ranked teams and state-ranked teams,” he said. “Hopefully those experiences will help us going into Oneida.”

The Indians are led by quick point guard Nate Bowling. Post player Dalton Yancey is physical, Rice said. Andrew DeWitt led the team with 12 points in the win over Harriman.

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