The postseason sits on the horizon.
And in East Tennessee, the state tournament contenders are pretty clear cut.
But there were some interesting news and notes lately.
Have a look ...
IRISH WIN ON NBA STAGE: Knoxville Catholic, the No. 1 team in Class AA boys’ basketball, extended their win streak to 18 games with a 77-39 win Saturday against Chattanooga’s Notre Dame. The game was played in Atlanta at the Hawks’ Phillips Arena, as part of a girls/boys doubleheader – that Catholic swept.
The teams then attended the Hawks game Saturday night against the Orlando Magic. Catholic coach Mike Hutchens was on PrepWeekly’s radio show two weeks ago to speak about the game.
“It’s really exciting for the kids. You can just see the excitement in them when they play,” he said on Jan. 18’s program. “It’s a huge arena. I’m sure that’s the biggest arena any of them have ever played in.”
PLAYER WATCH: What a week Tee Higgins had last week. Not only did the 6-foot-5 senior and two-time Mr. Football winner sign with national champion Clemson on National Signing Day, but he also followed that up with a 19-point, 19-rebound performance in Oak Ridge’s district win over then-state-ranked Karns, 108-80. The Wildcats (21-2 heading into this week) are averaging 96 points per game since the 2017 turn and have scored more than 100 point in three of their last four games.
I still can’t get over this dunk, though, of his from Jan. 23. So stinkin’ nasty.
I didn't get a chance to post this shot of the week when it happened. So I'm gonna do it now.
This is courtesy of a 6-10 center from Hamilton Heights. Enjoy...
Hamilton Heights— Jeff Roberts (@magnolia_hoops) January 29, 2017
6-10 2018 C
With the backboard shattering slam at the 26th Annual New Albany Hotbed Classic pic.twitter.com/QdgKgvoA2J
GAMES OF THE WEEK:
FRIDAY, Feb. 10
GIRLS: South Greene (24-4) at Morristown West (23-2): Morristown West tries for a three-game sweep of South Greene this season, though the second win was a 57-56 victory on New Year’s Eve. These are a pair of state-tournament-caliber teams. Go watch them.
GIRLS: Campbell County (21-5) at Oak Ridge (22-2): District 3-AAA supremacy will be on the line in this girls’ showdown. Oak Ridge won the first meeting this season, 56-39, on Jan. 10.
WATCH BOTH: Alcoa at Maryville. Whenever these two programs get together, no matter the sport, it’s always worth going to see. The rivalry never disappoints. Moreover, the Alcoa and Maryville boys’ basketball teams are quality this season. The Maryville boys’ won 77-75 on Jan. 12.
GIRLS: Cumberland County (21-3) at McMinn Central (22-3): Nice matchup here of state-ranked teams. Cumberland County, a Class AAA team, knocked off AA-power McMinn Central, 61-54, in late November.
BOYS: Bearden (16-7) at Catholic (21-1): Will Bearden respond from its early season 31-point loss to Catholic to give the top-ranked Irish a loss right before postseason play begins?
SATURDAY, Feb. 11
Oak Ridge at Fulton: In this girls/boys doubleheader, every team will have 20+ wins by tipoff Saturday night and all four will be region quarterfinalists or better this postseason. But get there early. It’ll be packed. The boys’ game between Fulton and Oak Ridge has proved to be special in the past.
Here's Tee Higgins again for proof ...