By JOE CANNON
Forget “Cupid” and all that mushy Valentine’s Day stuff, the much-anticipated “second season” tips off tonight.While restaurants will be filled with couples having romantic dinners, the …
Forget “Cupid” and all that mushy Valentine’s Day stuff, the much-anticipated “second season” tips off tonight.
While restaurants will be filled with couples having romantic dinners, the TSSAA postseason will have gymnasiums hopping across the state, including District 5-AAA action at “The Stable,” on the Walker Valley campus and 5-AA play in Athens at McMinn County High School.
The brackets are set and play begins tonight with the lower seeds battling it out to keep their seasons going at least one more day.
In 5-AAA, Soddy-Daisy and Ooltewah will square off twice this evening, with hopes of staying alive.
The Lady Trojans (8-18) and Lady Owls (5-16) picked up their lone district wins against each other during the regular season to end up as the No. 6 and 7 seeds and will start tonight’s play at 6 p.m.
Also beating each other once, two boys teams also notch upset wins, with the Owls (12-15) clipping McMinn County, while the Trojans (10-17) nipped Walker Valley back on Dec. 1.
Tonight’s winners will have to turn around and play again Thursday evening against the third-seeded Cleveland (15-11, 8-4) girls and Walker Valley (10-14, 7-5) boys, in another elimination game.
Thursday's victors guarantee themselves at least three more games, earning not only a spot in Saturday’s district semifinals against No. 2-seeded East Hamilton (23-4, 8-4 girls, 21-6, 9-3 boys), but a Region 3 Tournament berth as well.
The fourth and fifth seeds will square off in elimination games Friday evening.
Host Walker Valley (15-9, 6-6) will tangle with McMinn County (13-10, 6-6) in a girls’ matchup to open the action at 6 p.m.
The nightcap will feature the Bradley Central (11-13, 5-7) and McMinn County (9-15, 5-7) boys.
“They beat us twice during the season and they’ve been talking about it. They’ve given us some bulletin board material,” remarked Coach Chuck Clark recently, whose Bears have won four of their last five games.
Friday’s winner will move on to Saturday’s semifinals and a date with the state-ranked top seeds.
Both the Bradley Central (26-0) girls, who are No. 1 in one state poll and second in another, and fifth-ranked Cleveland (20-4) posted perfect 12-0 regular season records in league play.
The Bearettes, who are also nationally ranked by USA Today, will open Saturday’s four-game slate at 3 p.m., while the Blue Raiders tip off at 4:30.
The girls district championship and third-place games will be played on Monday, with the boys to doing the same on Tuesday.
Up in Athens, the 5-AA event will hold a pair of elimination games tonight as the third-seeded Sequoyah (8-13, 5-5) and No. 6 seed Loudon (4-23, 0-10) girls tip off at 6 p.m.
The nightcap finds sixth-seeded Polk County (12-12, 1-9) squaring off with No. 3 Sequoyah (11-10, 5-5) in a boys’ contest at 7:30.
The 4-5 seeds will go head-to-head in win-or-go-home games Thursday evening, with the Polk (7-17, 3-7) girls taking on Sweetwater (6-16, 5-5), while the Meigs County (14-14, 5-5) and Loudon (15-12, 3-7) boys tangle in the nightcap.
Wednesday and Thursday winners secure a region berth and advance to the semifinals in a four-game set Friday.
The second seeded and state-ranked Meigs County girls (23-4, 8-2) will await the Sequoyah/Loudon winner at 4:30 to kick the night off.
No. 2 seed Sweetwater (19-6, 8-2) will battle the Polk/Sequoyah boys survivor at 6, followed by the Polk/Sweetwater girls’ victor taking on top-seeded McMinn Central (17-10, 9-1).
The Friday finale will find the state-ranked and No. 1 seeded McMinn Central (19-6, 8-2) boys facing the Meigs/Loudon winner.
The tournament will hold consolation games to determine third place Monday, with the championships battles set for Tuesday.
During their meeting Monday, the coaches also voted on the 2017-18 All-District 5-AA teams.
Polk County standouts Charley Mitchell, who has signed with Bryan College, and Niki Ball were on the girls’ list, while Luke Burrows and Josh Laughlin made the boys’ squad.
All-District 5-AA Teams
Co-MVPs — Kassidy Kennedy (Meigs County) and Jordan Wright (McMinn Central).
Polk — Charley Mitchell, Niki Ball; Meigs — Jade Meadows; McMinn Central — Carlie Ruynan, Anika Smith; Sweetwater — Shelby Watson, Makelee Martin; Sequoyah — Bailee Lane, Malorie Harrell; Loudon — Haleigh Oody.
Coach of the Year — Heather Jaramillo, Sweetwater.
Co-MVPs — Brantley Bakers (Meigs County), Bryce Mason (McMinn Central).
Polk — Luke Burrows, Josh Laughlin; McMinn Central — Jordan Carter; Sweetwater — Meechie Oggs, Dominque Oggs, Kolby Billingsly; Sequoyah — Joe Grant, John Douglas Wiggins; Loudon — Luke Joiner, Caleb Dutton.
Coach of the Year — Brent Burns, Sweetwater.
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