Hooping into Thanksgiving

By PATRICK MacCOON
Posted 11/17/18

While ready to dive into Thursday's Thanksgiving spread, a hearty meal should be hard-earned.Traveling to the 'Peach State', Cleveland High's basketball teams face challenging brackets starting …

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Hooping into Thanksgiving

Posted

While ready to dive into Thursday's Thanksgiving spread, a hearty meal should be hard-earned.

Traveling to the 'Peach State', Cleveland High's basketball teams face challenging brackets starting Monday in separate three-day holiday tournaments. 

After playing just two games in the month of November last season, the Blue Raiders will start off fast with a chance to play seven games before Dec. 1.

Having played a pair of games Saturday in Knoxville, the Blue Raiders head to the Carpet Capitol of the World where half of the field in a talented eight-team boys tournament at Dalton High School put forth a league champion from last season.

Cleveland will begin play at 4 p.m. Monday against Cass (White, Ga.), who finished 17-12 overall last season.

Win or lose, Tuesday the repeat District 5-AAA champions will have to face another defending district champ in either Signal Mountain or Morristown-East, which will square off at 7 Monday night.

Signal finished with a program record 21 wins last season and beat Tyner for the District 6-AA championship. They are led by senior small forward Jarren Radden (6-foot-5, 180), who averages 15 points and nearly 10 rebounds over his prep career.

Meanwhile, Morristown-East won 22 games and beat Jefferson County for the District 2-AAA championship behind tournament MVP Connor Jordan's 21 points and 10-of-10 mark from the charity stripe. 

Jordan was strong for the Hurricanes in a hard-fought 72-66 road loss to begin the season against Class AAA's state runner-up in Bearden. The 5-foot-10 left-handed shooting point guard finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Bearden beat Cleveland twice last season by the scores of 63-60 at Raider Arena and took-off for a 93-76 win at home.

With an expected high-scoring offense for head coach Jason McCowan's bunch, junior point guard Jacobi Wood (6-foot-2) will operate the attack.

Wood's quick-burst and unique court vision provides strong qualities for the floor general.

Despite losing Deontae Davis (3 3-pointers a game) and Mullek Bradford (4.8 assists per game) from last year's starting lineup, Dionte Ware (18.5 ppg, 8.5 reb) and CHS looks to be a strong tournament champion threat.

Dustin Bunton provides a rebounding threat off the bench, while Isaiah Johnson and Grant Hurst are valuable additions to the starting lineup.

On the other side of the bracket first round matchups will be Dalton-Tennessee High (Bristol) and Chattooga (Ga.)-East Ridge.

Chattooga finished 23-4 overall last season and took the Region 7-AA crown.

Wednesday's championship game at Dalton H.S. will be played at 8:30 p.m.

GIRLS TOURNEY

A grateful host will welcome his doors to the Lady Raiders, as former Walker Valley head coach Bob Williams leads Northwest Whitfield for the first time.

Head coach Tony Williams expects his team to build off positives after falling by just six points to Ensworth and Oakland.

Cleveland will open against Model (Rome, Ga.) in the opening round at 4:45 Monday.

CHS will play the winner/loser between Baylor and Sonoraville (Ga.) Tuesday at either 3 or 6:30 p.m.

Northwest Whitfield finished 24-5 last season and returns star forward Jada Griffin (16.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg last season). The Lady Bruins will tip-off Monday at 8 p.m. against Signal Mountain, who also have a talented post player in sophomore Olivia Koontz. 

Georgia squads from North Murray (17-8 last season) and North Paulding also will meet in the first round. 

The championship bout is set for 8:15 Wednesday at N.W. Whitfield.

CAMPBELL'S DEBUT

After a couple of games in Maryville Saturday, Walker Valley's Will Campbell will open his head coaching career at home against Rhea County Monday night.

Meanwhile, the girls will continue a tough four-game stretch to begin the season that puts them up against teams with a cumulative record of 85-38 from last season.

The Lady Golden Eagles are led by Mallory Hampton (16 ppg, 6 reb, 5 stl, 4 ast). 

Walker Valley will travel to Sweetwater Tuesday.

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