In trying to pick the winner of the District 12-AAA boys basketball race, one of the teams which should be in any discussion would be Hunters Lane.
With all five starters back, the Warriors (5-1) got off to a good start in the district race last Friday by winning their 12-AAA opener with an 80-33 rout at Glencliff as Coach Anthony Sewell played all 15 players.
Leading 40-22 at the half and 64-28 after three, Hunters Lane, with its suffocating full-court press, allowed the Colts just 11 points in the second half.
This puts them in good company with big rival Maplewood, Whites Creek and Overton, which has moved over from 11-AAA, for honors prior to the district tournament at McGavock. Only loss was a tight 60-56 setback to Mt. Juliet in the Wright Memorial tourney finals over Thanksgiving Nov. 27.
But Sewell wasn’t exactly clicking his heels.
“We lack intensity on defense at times,’’ he said, even after the 47-point win. “And sometimes the offense isn’t clicking the way it should.
“Having all five guys back certainly helps, and the team chemistry is very good, the guys are very close,’’ he said. “But we must make strides in these areas if we’re going to be a good team.’’
Upcoming this week is an interesting trio of games, which includes at McGavock Tuesday, Hillwood Friday, then at big rival Maplewood Saturday.
“We need to come to practice each day with a good work ethic and answer each challenge,’’ Sewell said.
Senior guard Joseph Wilbert, an all-region football star and Hume Award finalist, is the team leader on the Warriors basketball team.
Wilbert poured in 25 points, two of them on a gift when he intercepted an errant Colt pass on the press right under the basket for a layup. His good friend DeMarco Starling, the Warriors football QB, added 15.
“Having everyone back is definitely an advantage,’’ Wilbert said. “A lot of us played AAU ball together, we’re very close. We’ve been playing with each other a long time.’’
Asked about the tough district, including the addition of Overton, Wilbert said, “We have to come ready for each game, regardless of who we’re playing. This is a tough district, and everyone on our team has to contribute for us to be successful.
That was quite the case against Glencliff as 11 of the 15 players scored as Sewell emptied his bench late in the third quarter.
Hillsboro girls pounded: The defending Class AAA girls state champ Hillsboro girls found out Friday just how far they have to go to try and repeat as champs.
To be exact, it was 33 points, the margin by which the Burros lost to powerful Mt. Juliet, in a 71-38 setback Friday at Hillsboro. Mt. Juliet riddled the turnover prone Burros, resulting in many hoops after steals.
“We are going to have to take better care of the basketball if we’re going to become a good team,’’ said Coach Katrina Carter, whose team fell to 2-3 with the loss. The Burros lost just one game all of last season.
“Once we started turning it over, it became a snowball effect,’’ she said. “One turnover led to two, then three, then four. We’re going to have to play with more heart.’’
Isabelle Harrison was the one bright spot with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but the Burros never recovered after falling behind the hot Bears 23-8 at the first-quarter break.
Needless to say, Hillsboro greatly misses last year’s leading scorer LaKeisha Crouch (Xavier signee), who was lost, possibly for the season, with an ACL knee injury suffered in a scrimmage last month. But Carter wasn’t using that as an excuse.
“It’s killing her not to play, but she’s offering teammates encouragement on the side,’’ Carter said. “At this point, we need to worry about the name on the front of our jerseys (Hillsboro) instead of the individual names on the back.’’
Hillsboro is playing in the Phoenix Champions tournament, as well as the T-Mobile tournament over the holidays.
East-West All-Star game Saturday: Several Nashville area players are competing in the third annual East vs. West All-Star game Saturday at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City. Kickoff is 11 a.m., CST.
Among those competing for the West team are: Blair Arrington, Davidson Academy (FB), William Stevens, Lipscomb (TE), Alex Heckman, Independence (QB), Jeremy Coffey, Brentwood (TB), Isiah Anderson, Franklin (OL), Matt Bridges, Brentwood (OL), Dalton Burge, Independence (OL), Derek Vaughn, Davidson Academy (OL), Dezmond Johnson, Overton (DE), Trent Fisher, CPA (DB). Doug Page (FRA), Jordan Evans (Brentwood) were selected as athletes. Page and Vaughn were Mr. Football finalists.
Keith Blanton (Goodpasture), Jordan Stauffer (MBA), Kenny Bass (BGA), Joseph Wilbert (Hunters Lane), Clifford Jetton (Whites Creek) and Austin Johnson (Brentwood) and John Gentry (Franklin) were among the alternates chosen.
Paul Wade of Davidson Academy is the West head coach, and Ron Crawford of Brentwood High and Bill Whittemore of FRA, a former Mr. Football winner, are assistant coaches.
Burning Wood for Lipscomb: David Lipscomb hit what is believed to be a school record 12 three-pointers in the girls 57-35 win over Stratford. Senior guard Whitney Wood nailed five of the treys, and Lauren Safley popped in four more for the hot Mustangs.
Brentwood Bruins close: Brentwood High’s football team has to be kicking itself after seeing White Station drill Maryville 37-27 in the 6A championship football game Saturday in Cookeville. The Bruins are probably thinking “that could have been us’’ after they were just 26 seconds away from victory over White Station in the semis the week before. A miraculous catch in the end zone by the Spartans ended the Bruins season.
Williams named: Former Hume-Fogg standout Andy Williams of Nashville, a senior at Centre College, has been named to the men’s cross country All-Sportsmanship team. The team finished fourth in the SCAC championships and sixth in the NCAA DIII South/Southeast Regional.
BGA swimmer signs: Ryker Saunders has signed with TCU. Saunders is nationally ranked in both the 100 meter freestyle and 100 butterfly events and made NISCA All-America.