TN Prep Hoops: Wrapping up the state tournament
The 2017 Tennessee High School Basketball State Tournament had its share of highlights, record-breaking scoring efforts, newly crowned champions, repeat champions and even some buzzer beater action. All in all one of the best state tournaments in quite some time.
TYREKE REWRITES THE RECORD BOOKS......ALL OF THEM
If you have read this column on a semi-weekly basis you know of the scoring exploits of one Tyreke Key (Clay County). The Indiana State signee, fresh off his Mr. Basketball inauguration, was front and center with the entire town of Celina in attendance to watch their boys wreck some havoc on the rest of the Class A division.
The favorites were falling left and right, first the top-ranked team in the state all season, Humboldt fell to Grace Christian behind 28 points from rising sophomore Grant Ledford (Grace Christian) and Harriman did the unthinkable knocking off three-time defending state champion Memphis Mitchell.
Key starting things off breaking the state scoring record for points in a game with 54 markers in the win over Loretto. He was just warming up. He netted 34 in a win over Grace Christian moving Clay County into the title game against Harriman. Ledford matched Key with 34 markers in the loss for Grace Christian.
Despite scoring 40 in the title game, Harriman got a huge effort from their senior-laden squad including 29 from Hayden Bingham (Harriman) and brought the trophy home to East Tennessee.
With his 40 spot, Key broke the state scoring record with 128 total points in the three games. He also broke the state scoring record for points in a season with 1,383 markers previously held by Tony Delk, yes that Tony Delk. Key would finish his career with 3,237 total points putting him among the top 5 in points scored in a career.
Key also took home the MVP trophy, an unprecedented feat from the losing squad in the title game. Much respect to this man.
SOME TO WATCH:
Grant Ledford (Grace Christian)
Sophomore averaged 30 points per game in the tournament, big things coming
Caden Mills (Van Buren County)
6'6 junior wing dropped 30 in his opening game loss, then committed to Tennessee Tech
Nygil Arms (Columbia Academy)
Senior guard averaged 23 points per game in the tourney, NAIA schools should be lining up
MAPLEWOOD BRINGS THE HARDWARE BACK TO METRO NASHVILLE
It had been 21 years since someone from Metro Nashville captured the coveted gold ball. Maplewood behind 18 from two-time Mr. Basketball Bo Hodges (Maplewood) hung on after a late Knoxville Catholic surge besting them 60-57 bringing the trophy home to the Music City.
Hodges, an ETSU signee, was named MVP of the tournament after some stellar performances including a 26 point effort in the semi-final victory over Haywood.
Knoxville Catholic held the top spot in the rankings all season and made a valiant run through the field highlighted by a running 40 foot buzzer beater from Mr. Basketball finalist Luke Smith (Knoxville Catholic) to advace to the title game, but came up just short in the end.
Several players had outstanding tournaments including:
Brock Jancek (Knoxville Catholic)
6'7 emerging big man who will be a force this summer
Ruot Monyyong (White's Creek)
6'9 shot blocker, changes the game on defense, much improved skill set on the offensive side
Dedric Boyd (Haywood)
Eastern Kentucky signee is healthy and flat stroking the ball, like he did this summer with Team Thad
MEMPHIS EAST BRINGS HOME A SECOND CONSECUTIVE GOLD BALL
It wasn't easy but then again its not supposed to be. Memphis East behind three double/double performances from tourney MVP Chandler Lawson (Memphis East) bested Memphis Southwind to capture their second consecutive gold ball in Class AAA with a dominating performance in the title game.
Lawson was the model of consistency scoring 17,19 and 18 markers along with double digit boards every contest.
The Mustangs cruised in the opening round over East Hamilton but met their match in the semi-finals against a determined Oak Ridge bunch led by Clemson 5-star wide receiver signee Tee Higgins (Oak Ridge). Lawson made big basket after big basket and secured a tough 63-60 win for the East crew.
T.J. Moss (Memphis East), Alex Lomax (Memphis East) and Malcolm Dandridge (Memphis East) all netted a place on the All-Tournament squad.
Southwind was paced by Tennessee-Martin signee Carlos Marshall (Southwind), who was just as consistent with his scoring, dropping 24 in the opener against Oakland, 27 against independence and 16 in the title game loss.
Grayson Murphy (Independence) was a special player and he enjoyed a fantastic career that will live on at Belmont
Higgins, Jones, Bush, Gipson and Young the Oak Ridge Fab Five, thanks for the memories.
BCAT/TACA ALL-STAR GAME TIPS ON SATURDAY IN COOKEVILLE
The BCAT/TACA All-Star game featuring some of the top talent from all areas of the state will tip this Saturday at Cookeville High School with the girls going at it at 12:00 followed by the boys at 2:00.
Yours truly will be the PA Announcer for the festivities so make your way down and check out the action.
Clay Washburn (CPA)
Grayson Murphy (Independence) Belmont
Donovan Sims (Blackman) MTSU
John Carter (Summit) Navy
Tajoin Jones (Oak Ridge)
E.J. Bush (Oak Ridge)
Easton Upchurch (Maryville)
Anthony Gibson (Oak Ridge)
Bo Hodges (Maplewood) ETSU
Luke Smith (Knoxville Catholic)
Hunter Vick (Camden Central) Tennessee Tech
Parker Stewart (Union City) Ole Miss
Jalen Crutcher (Ridgeway) Chattanooga
Tristen Jarrett (Haywood)
Dedric Boyd (Haywood) Eastern Kentucky
Desmond Johnson (Kirby)
Luke Wiseman (Arlington)
Robert Boyd (Southwind)
Parrish Hewitt (Douglass) Tennessee-Martin
DeMarcus Mitchell (Germantown) Chattanooga
Tyran Davis (Mitchell)
TYLER HARRIS NAMED TENNESSEE GATORADE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Hoop Seen you know this kid very well. You saw him lighting things up on several of the courts in the Sewanee Sports Complex this summer for Team Thad. After a sterling high school season which saw him finish as a finalist for the Class AAA Mr. Basketball award, Tyler Harris (Cordova) has been selected as the recipient of the Men's' Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Tennessee for 2017.
A prestigious honor held by many including NBA stars John Jenkins and Corey Brewer.
You better follow me @tnprephoops. Check out the website tnprephoops.com and stay tuned as the summer season gets kicked off here in the coming weeks.