District titles on the line tonight, Tuesday
by JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor
Feb 17, 2014 | 1044 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
spt District semis 21714
BRADLEY CENTRAL senior Taylor Bentley (20) is surrounded by Colton Morrow, center, and his Walker Valley teammates during Saturday evening’s District 5-AAA semifinal action at East Hamilton High School. The fourth-seeded Mustangs knocked off the top-seeded Bears to advance to the event’s championship for the second straight season.
Photo by LISA FETNER
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After 16 games in two days to open district tournament play, the local high school leagues will be handing out basketball championship trophies tonight and Tuesday.

This evening at East Hamilton High School, the District 5-AAA girls’ consolation and title games will be held, while both of the host Polk County squads will play in the District 5-AA third-place games.

The 5-AAA boys’ crown will be awarded Tuesday in Collegedale, as will both the girls’ and boys’ titles at the 5-AA event in Benton.

All eight teams still remaining in both events will advance to TSSAA region play, beginning with girls’ games on Friday evening, while the boys will take to the hardwood Saturday.

Top-seeded Bradley Central will be going for its fourth straight girls’ district championship at 7:30 this evening at East Hamilton, when they face off against No. 2 seed McMinn County for the third time this year. Boasting a 21-5 record so far this season, the Bearettes are 56-3 against 5-AAA opponents since Jason Reuter took over as head coach four years ago.

Bradley has defeated the Lady Cherokees by 20 and 16 points in their first two meetings, but after starting the season with 14 losses in their first 17 games, Coach Tim McPhail’s Tribe has gone 8-2 since. All 11 of McMinn’s victories this season have come over district opponents.

Both teams will host Region 3-AAA opening round games on Friday before the final two nights of the event shift to Cookeville.

A pair of Bradley County rivals will start the action off this evening, with Walker Valley (17-11) battling Cleveland High (13-13) in the third-place matchup at 6 p.m.

The Lady Mustangs swept the two regular season games between the pair, winning 59-54 at Lee University’s Walker Arena in early January and 42-24 at “The Stable” a week ago.

Both teams are coming off semifinal defeats, with Walker Valley getting edged by McMinn County 60-57 Saturday, while Cleveland fell to Bradley Central 63-28.

The winner of tonight’s consolation battle will travel to the District 6-AAA runner-up on Friday, while the loser will journey to the home court of the 6-AAA champion.

The 5-AAA boys will return to the Collegedale hardwood Tuesday evening with Bradley Central (14-11) and Ooltewah (15-10) trying to bounce back from Saturday defeats to take third place at 6 p.m., while Walker Valley (20-9) will be trying for the second straight season to go from the fourth-seed going into the event to claiming the championship, at 7:30 against a very hot Cleveland (17-7) squad.

Coach Jason McCowans’s Blue Raiders have won 16 of their last 19 games, but one of those defeats came last Monday at Walker Valley in an 82-66 outcome. Coach Bob Williams’ Mustangs have won nine straight games, including Saturday’s 71-59 victory over the top-seeded Bears.

Walker Valley and Cleveland will both host region openers Saturday evening, while Bradley and Ooltewah will be on the road.

In consolation play in Benton this evening, the Polk County (11-16) girls will take on Sequoyah (18-8) at 6, while the Wildcats (8-20) will tangle with district newcomer Loudon (10-18) in the boys’ third place game.

All four teams will be on the road to open region play, with tonight’s winners traveling to the District 6-AA runners-up, while a loss tonight means a trek to the 6-AA champs.

On Tuesday evening, the 5-AA title games will be contested with the 10th-ranked McMinn Central (17-9) tangling with Loudon (15-13) for the girls’ championship at 6, while the Chargers (20-4), also ranked 10th in the latest AP state poll, take on Sequoyah (11-14) for the boys’ crown at 7:30.