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NET Notes: What have we learned this basketball season?

Douglas Fritz • Feb 7, 2018 at 4:34 PM

With the regular season bearing down on the final two weeks, here’s a look at some surprises, or hopes realized, in area high school basketball conferences.

Poore performance

After a couple of desert-dry seasons, it was expected new Dobyns-Bennett boys coach Chris Poore would be able to get things going in the other direction. To date, Poore’s efforts have been above and beyond expectations, producing a 22-6 record and a superb chance to at least share the Big 7 Conference title.

Hooked on ’Horns

Johnson County boys coach Austin Atwood said before the season that the school’s football success would likely spill over to basketball. With a record of 18-8 and a good shot at second place in the Three Rivers Conference, the Longhorns are making it happen.

Unsteady crown

It didn’t look like there would be a dominant boys team in the Three Rivers Conference, and that’s the way things have played out. Unicoi County stands in position to win the regular-season championship, but recent losses to Johnson County and Sullivan East leave the door open for the district tournament.

Slim gap?

Daniel Boone’s girls have beaten Science Hill twice this season, but both games went down to the wire. Preseason talk said the Lady Hilltoppers might catch Boone in the district. Time will tell.

Lady Cougars rising

There was no consensus on how Sullivan Central would fare in its first Three Rivers season after many years in the Class AAA ranks. The transition has been kind, and the Lady Cougars are a win away from winning the title.

When it matters

Hampton’s girls team has just a 4-13 record when playing teams outside the Watauga Valley Conference. But in league games, the Lady Bulldogs have gone a bite-tough 7-1.

Back to the past

Science Hill honored Langston High School on Tuesday by wearing Langston Tiger T-shirts during their games against Elizabethton.

Several Langston graduates were expected to be in attendance at the games.

College signings

Science Hill quarterback Jaylan Adams will make things official on Wednesday. He will sign to play with The Citadel at 3 p.m. at the high school. ...

Elizabethton’s Chandlor Mullins will take his step to the college ranks when he signs to play football with East Tennessee State. The ceremony will take place Wednesday at the high school at 3:30 p.m. 

Science Hill’s soccer program will send a pair of players to the next level. Tess Mrozek will sign with East Tennessee State while Merrin Gilmer will do likewise with Samford. Both signings are set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. 

Science Hill’s Carson Lodge will sign to play baseball with Bryan College. The ceremony will take play at the Hilltoppers’ gym on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

In softball, Science Hill slugger Mia Edwardson will put her name on the dotted line with Walters State at 3 p.m. ...

Daniel Boone’s football program will produce a pair of college signings Wednesday. Bailey Presnell and Zack Taylor will make things official with Carson-Newman at 10:45 a.m. at the high school. ...

Hampton’s standout running back Hunter Davenport has made his college choice. He will make it official Wednesday when he signs with Carson-Newman at 2 p.m. in the high school library. ...

Tennessee High will have four athletes making their college decision Wednesday. The ceremony begins at 2:45 at the high school. Signing are Tanner Booker (Montreat College, baseball), Kaylee McMillian (Montreat College, volleyball), Judson McCray (West Virginia Tech, wrestling) and Kennedy Tester (Lincoln Memorial University, soccer).

Wrestling update

Science Hill’s wrestling program continues to climb, and there’s only one more step to take. The Hilltoppers claimed a runner-up finish during the state duals tournament over the weekend in Franklin.

After a third-place finish in 2017, Science Hill powered into the finals before losing to Cleveland. It was Science Hill’s deepest-ever penetration toward a title. The Hilltoppers were making their 17th state duals appearance in 18 years.

Coach Jimmy Miller has done an outstanding job of guiding his program to the next level, building new architecture upon the strong walls put in place by former coach Jeff Price.

Science Hill will try to add to its postseason bounty in the region individual tournament Saturday at David Crockett.

Boys Games of the Week

Thursday

Johnson County at Sullivan South

Friday

Hampton at Cloudland

Saturday

Sullivan South at Johnson County

Girls Games of the Week

Friday

Hampton at Cloudland

North Greene at Unaka

Just like in the boys’ race, Hampton and North Greene will face off to decide the league title.

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