The TSSAA boys' high school basketball state tournament enters its second day with Nashville teams playing in the first four contests at 11,520-seat Murphy Center on the MTSU campus. Maplewood, Martin Luther King, Father Ryan, MBA and Brentwood Academy will all see action this morning and afternoon in the quest for state championships.
Martin Luther King (25-8) will have just put the breakfast dishes away this morning in time for its 10:00 a.m. Division I - Class AA quarterfinal tip-off with Chattanooga Brainerd (33-3). District 9-AA head coach of the year James "Doc" Shelton of MLK will rely on his team's defensive quickness to shut down the balanced attack of Brainerd.
Coach Robert High's bunch from Chattanooga is attending the school's 13th state tournament in his 25 years at the helm, including three state titles. Most recently, his 1995 Panther team finished state runner-up.
Jamario Thurman is the team's leading scorer and loves to shoot the 3-pointer. Defensively, Brainerd is capable of shutting down good offensive teams. In their 57-50 win in the sectional sub-state round of the Class AA tournament, the Panthers limited visiting Jackson County to only four points in the third quarter.
"When I think about this team being 13-15 last year and having the same group back this year, it's incredible, " said coach High. "What happened is that they grew up."
With three out of four Division II finalists from Music City, Nashville has a pretty good chance of claiming the title again this year. Defending Division II state champion Montgomery Bell Academy (18-8) hits the hardwood against Chattanooga McCallie (21-5) at 11:45 a.m.
The talented Big Red are paced by senior shooting guard Evan Abrahams