‘Magnet Madness’ changes sites, but remains just as intense

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 8:30pm

Hume-Fogg basketball coach David Givens is hoping Magnet Madness III will provide some hope for the stretch run in a so-far disappointing season.

Nashville academic magnet schools Hume-Fogg and M.L. King will play their third annual “Magnet Madness’’ games Friday but with a change of venue.

Instead of Municipal Auditorium (where MM I and II were played in 2009 and 2010), the games have been moved to Lipscomb’s Allen Arena. That’s because preparations are underway at Municipal for the Saturday Inauguration ceremonies for Gov.-elect Bill Haslam.

“It’s going to be exciting to play in Allen Arena,” Givens said. “It’s a great facility, a different atmosphere and our guys are looking forward to it. Even though we got bumped by the new governor.”

The girls game tips at 6:30 p.m. followed by the boys at 8 p.m. After the vast majority of Nashville games Tuesday were postponed by the weather, most of Friday’s schedule is expected to go on as scheduled.

The boys game certainly won’t decide the District 10-AA championship, but it will be intense and hard-fought. MLK won the first two meetings, both close games.

MLK, coached by veteran James (Doc) Shelton, is 3-6, and 2-4 in the district. Hume-Fogg is 1-10 and 1-5, respectively, and its only win was over Stratford.

A victory would be a tonic for two teams that reside in the lower half of the standings.

“We’re certainly not where we want to be,” Givens said. “It’s been a combination of youth and injuries. We’re very young. It’s not for lack of effort.

“We’re just trying to improve and be playing our best basketball when tournament time arrives. I don’t think anyone felt we would reach the region tournament last year.”

Repeating last year’s Cinderella magic would certainly be on Givens’ wish list. Finishing in the middle of the pack, the Blue Knights upset Lipscomb and placed third in the district tournament with a victory over CPA.

That left them with a tough road trip to Macon County for their region tournament quarterfinal opener. But Hume-Fogg upset the Tigers before a loss to eventual state-bound Maplewood in the semis.

The Knights lost leading scorer Adrian Williamson to graduation. This season, senior A.J. Hampton (10 points per game) and junior post player Sam Smith (seven points per game) are the leading scorers.

“We’ve got a lot of season left,” Givens said. “We had a team meeting recently and talked about what we needed to do to get where we need to be.”

It won’t be easy in the tough nine-team district where CPA, East Lit, Maplewood and Lipscomb are top dogs.

“I would submit that, outside of Memphis, there isn’t a stronger AA district in the state,” Givens said. “You have a 16-game schedule against some of the best teams in Nashville. And you see all styles of basketball, the up-tempo types of CPA and Maplewood and the more defensive, set-up teams like MLK.”

One thing is for sure Friday — there will be plenty of enthusiasm, signs and cheering in Madness III, regardless of the records.

Fans are encouraged to bring food items to the game for Second Harvest Food Bank to be collected at the door.

FRA honors veterans: Franklin Road Academy will hold its “White Out’’ event night Friday when the Panthers host Davidson Academy. Between games at about 7:20 p.m., a ceremony honoring World War II veterans will be held. Proceeds go toward the Music City Honor Flight Program II, which provides travel to Washington, D.C., for Nashville-area veterans to attend the WWII Memorial.

The FRA girls won the recent KSA Girls Disney Basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla., over Christmas break with three straight wins. The Panthers (14-2) beat Centura, Neb., 44-34, Hazard, Ky., 56-28, and Canadian Ecole Confederation 55-35.

Ryan celebrates girls sports: Father Ryan is hosting a celebration of the 40 years of girls sports at the school Jan. 22. All female athletes during that time will be recognized between games of the Irish’s twin bill with Harpeth Hall and MBA.

Thursday’s games

East Lit at Stratford
Hume-Fogg at Lipscomb
CPA at M.L. King
McGavock at Maplewood
Pearl-Cohn at Whites Creek

Friday’s games

Antioch at Hunters Lane
Brentwood Academy at Harpeth Hall, girls
Brentwood Academy at MBA, boys
Cane Ridge at McGavock
Creekwood at East Lit
Davidson Academy at FRA
Ensworth at Father Ryan
Hillwood at Glencliff
Hillsboro at Centennial
Hume-Fogg vs. M.L. King at Lipscomb Allen Arena
Pearl-Cohn at CPA
Stratford at Maplewood
Whites Creek at Lipscomb

Saturday’s games
BGA at GPS, girls
BGA at McCallie, boys
Hillsboro at MBA, boys