CHECKING IN: Mr/Miss Basketball Awards and Girls' State Tourney

When was the last time you were excited about Indiana State basketball?

Seriously.

I said “Indiana State.” Not just “Indiana.”

I was born in 1979, so I didn’t catch on to the Larry Bird Train until the mid-1980s.

But because of newly crowned Clay County’s Tyreke Key, I’ll try my best to find the Sycamores on TV next season.

Here’s why …

Key won Class A Mr. Basketball on Tuesday. He averaged 38.8 points per game in a fantastic finale of regular season to his career.

And somehow, Indiana State snagged him.

I’ve seen many a great player come through this state. I don’t remember any of them averaging 38.8 points per game.

That’s just insane. 

Clay County, what’s more, is 30-4 and in the state tournament field next week in Murfreesboro. He’ll have a chance to further his legend even more. 

I can't wait to see his final curtain call. And his encore in college.

Here are a few more thoughts on Mr. and Miss Basketball awards and the state tournament draws:

Miss Basketball winners: Kara Meadows (Clarkrange, Class A), Akira Levy (Upperman, Class AA), Anastasia Hayes (Riverdale, Class AAA), Ashtyn Baker (Northpoint, Division II-A), Sydni Harvey (Brentwood Academy, Division II-AA) … As an East Tennessean, I’m intrigued by what Anastasia Hayes will bring to the Lady Vols. Her high school coach talked with us on “Prep Weekly Radio” about how explosive she is on the court. … Ashtyn Baker had the storybook ending to her career: state championship, state tournament MVP and now Miss Basketball. … I had Jacobi Lynn (McMinn Central) picked to win Class AA. She’s one of the best players to come through one of the state’s Class AA powers.

Mr. Basketball winners: Tyreke Key (Clay County, Class A), Bo Hodges (Maplewood, Class AA), Alex Lomax (Memphis East, Class AAA), Chase Hayden (St. George’s, Division II-A), Darius Garland (Brentwood Academy, Division II-AA) … Garland and Lomax were no-brainers. Garland is the No. 2 point guard in the Class of 2018. Lomax is the head figure on East, the defending champion in Class AAA. … Was hoping Luke Smith would steal Class AA Mr. Basketball. He didn’t have all the flashy scholarship offers. But no one can argue he’s the reason why Catholic stayed No. 1 in the state all season and has suffered just one loss.

GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT (March 8-11) at MTSU's Murphy Center

The winner of Game 4 in the Class A bracket is your state champion: South Greene (32-4) or Pickett County (30-2). South Greene cut its teeth as a state power in Class AA for years. The top half of the bracket has an 18-15 team (Perry County).

Jackson South Side (27-0) has been the leader in Class AA girls in the rankings all season. But I expect defending champion East Nashville (28-5) and district-rival Pearl-Cohn (24-4) to square off in the Class AA final. They split their four meetings this season. (Keep an eye on Game 4 in the quarterfinals: Gatlinburg-Pittman and Westview will be the best game of the first round.)

In Class AAA, Riverdale is the obvious favorite, as it is the defending state champion and top team in the land. But, man, this might be the most loaded Class AAA girls’ bracket I’ve seen. Look at the top half. Oak Ridge (30-3) was state runner-up a season ago and might not get past the first round.

 

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