Most in 2A bracket know road to ’Boro
Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Westview is returning to the girls’ basketball state tournament after a two-year absence.
“Return” is the key word to this year’s Class AA tourney field — in one form or another.
In one way, only two teams from last season’s state tournament are back for another shot. In another, though, it is a solid field loaded with programs that have strong state tourney tradition.
Only Christ Presbyterian Academy and Livingston Academy are back from last season, but five of the remaining six teams — Elizabethton, Macon County, Covington and Cannon County in addition to Westview — have some past state tournament experience.
Christ Presbyterian Academy has the least postseason credentials of the group but also the strongest, coming in as the defending state champ.
The Lady Lions knocked off Manassas, Livingston Academy and Obion County Central on the way to a 36-3 final record in its first-ever state tournament appearance.
CPA will face off against Livingston Academy in the opening round 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the winner to face the Westview-Elizabethton winner in the semifinals on Friday morning.
If CPA has the lightest state tournament load, Livingston Academy has the heaviest.
The Lady Wildcats have made 17 state tournament appearances prior to this year with four state championships. LA’s overall state tournament record is 27-13.
Elizabethton will be making its fifth state tourney appearance, the third in the last five years under head coach Len Dugger.
The Lady Cyclones lost 51-49 to Westview in the 2009 quarterfinals when Amber Rechis, now at Union University, scored in the lane with three seconds remaining in the game.
Macon County is back in the state tournament after playing for a state championship in 2011 — its only other state tourney appearance — and has reached the sectional round four consecutive years.
Cannon County is back a the Murphy Center after reaching the state semifinals in 2011. The Lionettes are second behind Livingston Academy in state tournament appearances with 12, claiming its only state title in 1989.
The Lionettes made their trek to Murfeesboro by ending the season of another tradition-rich program.
Abby Jakes’ 3-pointer — which came just before the buzzer or just after the buzzer, depending on who you ask — earned Cannon County a stunning 57-56 win over McMinn Central.
While CPA has little state tourney tradition, Christian Academy of Knoxville had none prior to this year.
CAK will be making its first trip to The ’Boro after knocking off No. 1-ranked Grainger in the sectional round.
Prior to this year, the girls’ basketball program was the only sport at the school that had not competed in the state tournament.
Covington’s only other state trip was 2002, when the Lady Chargers reached the semifinals.
Westview reached the semifinals in Stephenson’s first two trips, 2009 and 2010, and sports an overall 8-6 state tourney record with a championship in 1996.
The 2013 state tournament field is small in returnees from last season mainly because of Westview. The Lady Chargers alone knocked out one-fourth of last season’s field, eliminating Obion Central in the Region 7AA semifinals and then denying Manassas its third consecutive state tourney berth in the sectional round.
VOTERS ARE RIGHT: For all those fans and so-called experts maligning The Associated Press’ group of sportswriters and broadcasters who vote in the weekly prep hoops polls, the Class AA girls’ state bracket should be validation of their efforts.
Of the eight teams still standing, six were ranked in the final Associated Press poll.
Covington is the highest-ranked team alive, finishing the regular season at No. 2. Elizabethton is next at No. 5, followed by Cannon County at No. 6, Westview at No. 7 and Livingston Academy at No. 8.
Defending state champion CPA was 10th in the final poll.
Three ranked teams reached the sectional round.
Grainger, ranked No. 1 and unbeaten until losing to Elizabethton in the Region 1AA finals, then lost to CAK in the sectionals. McMinn Central, ranked No. 3, lost its sectional game to Cannon County, and No. 4-ranked Creek Wood was ousted by Macon County.
PRIME TIME: State tournament time is prime time for teams participating.
Television broadcasts and web streams are all a part of the state finals experience, and this year’s state finals will again broadcast live on Tennessee Public Television.
WLJT-TV Martin/Jackson is one of the seven public networks across the state that will broadcast all state title games.
In addition, all quarterfinal and semifinal games will be streamed live on TSSAA.playonsports.com.
The online events will be available tssaa.playonsports.com with the purchase of a daily, weekly or monthly subscription pass.
Published in The WCP 3.5.13
Most in 2A bracket
know road to ’Boro