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Mon, Apr 21, 2014

Middle school tournament loaded with talent

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The Rutherford County Middle School Basketball League has its tournament next week – 11 schools, 22 teams, 22 games and a world of fun.

Typical fans such as you, and me, always want to know who is going to win in advance, so here’s a preview.

In girls, this looks like a two-horse race between the Blackman Middle Flames or the Rock Springs Knights. While neither team is a juggernaut, both are very well coached with plenty of talent.

I think the winner will be Blackman.

The Flames, coached by two of my favorite people, Theo Hatchett and Krystle Horton, are going for a three-peat. The Flames were dominant in 2011 and then roared from 15 down in last year’s final to take the hardware. They will win again.

But wait, not so fast.

Rock Springs goes to the finals frequently. This could be the year coach Terry Patient wins it all.

The Knights already beat Blackman by one point in overtime, and they could do so again.

There, I said it. Your winner in the girl's bracket will be Blackman, or maybe, Rock Springs.

To muddy the issue, there are other teams. Oakland, Christiana, Stewarts Creek, Rockvale and Smyrna are all good enough to pull an upset or two.

Picking a winner in boys is even more difficult.

Oakland and coach Brad Decker have the league’s best record and should win again. They seem to never have a bad year.

Upon further review, it seems the Blackman Flames, coached by Eric Moore, beat Oakland late in the season and on Oakland’s floor. So, clearly Blackman is the team with the best chance to win.

However, it also true that Christiana, coached by Corey Alley, has great speed and quickness, and his team has a fine record and could win it all.

According to Alley, this is his last year to coach, which could inspire his team to play with some extra emotion.

So, it’s the Cougars in 2013.

No, wait.

This just in: La Vergne is a former champion and coach Thurman Tucker plans on a repeat.

He has a good record, the talent, and perhaps, the league’s best player in Maleik Gray to do it. This could be the year for the Red Hawks.

Just like with the girls, numerous boys teams are capable enough to upset someone and make a shambles of what "should” happen.  

Stewarts Creek, Rockvale, Smyrna, Siegel and Buchanan are all talented and could pull an upset.

I will see you there.

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Basketball, Blackman, Christiana, Middle School Basketball League, Oakland, Rock Springs, Rockvale, Rutherford County, Smyrna, Sports, Stewarts Creek
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