Nae Marion

Science Hill’s Nae Marion works past a Dobyns-Bennett defender in a game earlier this season. Marion and the Lady Hilltoppers will play in the region tournament Friday at home. (Todd Brase photo)

Science Hill’s girls basketball team enjoyed the spoils of winning the District 1-AAA tournament, but that was 10 days ago and the Lady Hilltoppers still must wait until Friday to play again.

The two-week layoff after reaching one of the season’s main goals is unique — and challenging in terms of keeping the team sharp.

“We have been doing a lot of fundamental work, ballhandling and shooting,” Science Hill head coach Scottie Whaley said. “We have worked on our transition game and we’re having intrasquad scrimmages at the end of practice.”

Whaley also incorporated things outside the box.

“We had a fun day Friday with food, dodgeball and volleyball,” Whaley said. “We’re trying to change practice up some and trying to stay healthy.”

Next up for the Lady Hilltoppers is a region quarterfinal matchup against Morristown West. It has been a mostly lost season for the tradition-rich Lady Trojans, who played their first three games on Nov. 17, Dec. 15 and Jan. 5 — a COVID-made recipe for a difficult season. West has played only 15 games, compared to 28 for Science Hill, but Whaley is still wary of the Johnny Galyon-coached team.

“He is one of the top coaches in the state and we have nothing but respect for him and his team,” Whaley said. “They play extremely hard.”

Whoever wins, both teams can rest on the knowledge of having gotten this far — all things considered.

“It is truly a blessing to still be playing,” Whaley said.

FAST LANE

Chris Poore became the fastest ever Dobyns-Bennett basketball coach to reach 100 wins when the Indians defeated Science Hill in the recent District 1-AAA championship game.

It’s an impressive feat for Poore, considering his competition for the honor: the late Buck Van Huss.

Poore reached the milestone in his fourth season at D-B. Van Huss also reached the mark in his fourth season, but it came in March. The Indians defeated Memphis Trezevant in the 1971 state tournament round of 16 for Van Huss’ 100th win with the Indians.

Poore’s overall record is 100-30, a winning percentage of .769. D-B stands at 22-4 this season, heading into Saturday’s home region quarterfinal contest.

REGION BASKETBALL

The quarterfinals will be the same, but semifinal contests will take on a different look.

Girls play their quarterfinal contests Friday at the home gym of the highest district finisher. Boys do likewise Saturday. That setup has been in place since the 2006-07 season. For the semifinals and finals, action moved to a tournament site.

This year the semifinals will be played at the home site of the higher-seeded team. And while home games in region semifinals happen fairly often, it will likely be a different atmosphere when it’s the only game and not part of a tournament format — more like a sectional game.

Generally speaking, the region semifinal games are the most tense of the season. Teams are one win away from earning a shot at the state tournament, and one loss away from seeing a promising season end.

Many potential state tournament contenders — even state-title hopefuls — have seen their dreams end at this stage.

Next week’s action — March 1 for the girls and March 2 for the boys — will be very interesting.

CENTER STAGE FOR WRESTLERS

Action in the state individual wrestling tournament gets under way Wednesday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Each classification will have a one-day event with Class A-AA going first. The round of 16 is at 9 a.m., followed at 10:30 by the quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for 12:30 and the championship matches are slated for 6 p.m.

The girls tournament will be Thursday with championship matches scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, Class AAA will hold its event with 6 p.m. title matches.

The tournament was postponed from last week because of poor weather conditions across the state.

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