With the ladies going first, Bradley Central and Cleveland High will host Region 3-AAA openers this evening, while the Walker Valley and McMinn County squads will head across the mountains and through the woods.
The District 5-AAA champion Bearettes (24-5) will entertain Cookeville (13-18), a team they defeated twice during the regular season at 7 this evening, while the district runner-up Lady Raiders (14-12) will welcome White County (16-12) to the Raider Dome. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.
Bradley defeated the Lady Cavaliers by 22 points at Jim Smiddy Arena back in November and by 19 points in Cookeville two weeks ago.
After getting upset by Cleveland in the 5-AAA semifinals, third-ranked Walker Valley (24-2) bounced back to win the consolation game, meaning the team will make the 100-mile trip to District 6-AAA runner-up Warren County (16-16) for an 8 p.m. tipoff tonight.
As the fourth-place team from the local district, McMinn County (12-18) drew 6-AAA champion Coffee County (18-10) for this evening’s opening round opponent.
The Region 3-AAA boys will get their tournament under way Friday evening with a couple of the same matchups as the girls, but in different locations.
After pulling off a last-second victory in Tuesday’s consolation game, Cleveland (17-8) will face White County (20-8), but in Sparta, while Bradley (20-8) will head back to Cookeville (16-12) for the second time in two weeks. Both games will start at 8 p.m.
Like their female counterparts, the Bears knocked off the 6-AAA runner-up Cavaliers twice during the regular season with a 14-point win in their first meeting and a narrow, much closer Feb. 11 one-point victory in Cookeville.
In Friday’s other two region openers, Ooltewah (23-7) will entertain Coffee County (5-24) while McMinn County (18-10) will play host to Warren County (14-16).
Cookeville nipped White County 53-50 in the 6-AAA title game, while Warren County slipped past Coffee County by a 46-44 margin in Tuesday’s consolation.
The Region 3-AAA semifinals will be held Saturday at Rhea County High School with the four games scheduled to get under way at 3 p.m. Both the girls and boys championship games will be held Tuesday in Evensville.
The Region 3-AA Tournament also tips off this weekend with the girls playing Friday night and the boys hitting the hardwood Saturday.
Both Polk County teams advanced to region play as the District 5-AA runner-up Wildkittens (18-10) are set to host Brainerd (17-9) at 7 p.m. Friday in Benton.
Meanwhile the Wildcats (11-19) will journey to District 6-AA champion Red Bank (24-7) Saturday evening.
The rest of the AA region lineup has both Howard teams traveling to Englewood on Friday with the No. 1-ranked Chargerettes (28-1) facing the Lady Tigers (9-10) at 6 p.m., while the 5-AA runner-up Chargers (14-12) take on the Hustlin’ Tigers (19-6) at 7:30.
The Meigs County (13-15) girls will travel to Chattanooga to face Tyner Academy (18-7) Friday evening, while the Sequoyah (11-18) ladies journey to 6-AA champion East Hamilton (20-10).
In boys action Saturday, Brainerd (13-12) will head to Sweetwater (16-11), while Tyner (15-9) travels to 6-AA champion Sequoyah (25-4).
The AA girls semifinals will be held Monday at McMinn County High School, with the final four boys teams going at it Tuesday. The girls’ championship will be decided Wednesday evening and the boys’ Thursday.