The logjam at the top of one district race will have one less log by the end of Friday night’s games.
McGavock will battle Hunters Lane for the right to stay in first place as the boys’ 12-AAA battle reaches crunch time. The host Raiders, Hunters Lane and Overton are all tied for first with 5-1 district records.
McGavock (9-6 overall) is trying to avenge a 64-61 loss at Hunters Lane (9-9) back on Dec. 7. The winner gets a leg up on the top spot with three weeks to go in the regular season.
McGavock handed Overton its lone league loss Jan. 4.
“We have an athletic team that’s very quick and fast,” McGavock coach Marlin Simms said. “And our guys have really made a strong commitment to defense.”
Most coaches will tell you how key guard play is. For Simms, that almost is guaranteed with the trio of Mike Green, Aaron Simms and Leonard Warfield.
“We’ve been in pretty much every game,” he said. “We’ve had three losses in buzzer-beaters, or our record would be even better.”
One of those defeats came in the most unbelievable ending to a Nashville high school game this season.
Tied with Brentwood Academy near the end of the second overtime on Jan. 6, Aaron Simms put up a short jumper, which bounced out. BA senior guard Weldon Garlington took the rebound and heaved it three quarters of the length of the court and the shot banked in at the buzzer, giving the Eagles an unbelievable 73-70 win.
“He fired it from about 75 feet out,” Simms said. “[Referee] Danny Davis signaled good, and I just looked at [BA coach] Lyle [Husband] and smiled. As badly as I felt for my team, I felt good for BA. They’ve dealt with a tragedy in the BA family recently, and it was a feel-good type of situation for them.”
• City Civitan Awards: Quarterback Drew Parker and coach Ricky Bowers from DII champion Ensworth were honored at the Hancock-Nipper City Civitan Sportsmanship awards luncheon Wednesday at Swett’s Restaurant.
Bowers was named coach of the year, and Parker was the team’s recipient as the Civitan honored sportsmanship winners from region football champions in Nashville.
“This is just a culmination of a team effort of committed players to a goal,” Parker said after receiving his award. “Everyone, whether it was the starters, reserves or coaches were all part of it.”
“Our motto this season was ‘Finish,’” Bowers said. “And with the last play [a touchdown pass in the final seconds], that’s what we did. I was a small part of it, just along for the ride.”
Other winners included Parker Burton (Goodpasture), Jason DeMoss (Maplewood) and Clifford Hines (McGavock). College winners were Chris Marve (Vanderbilt) and Jeremy Perry (Tennessee State).
• Ryan Celebration: Father Ryan is celebrating 40 years of girl’s sports at the school Saturday between games of the twin bill vs. Harpeth Hall and MBA.
Former Ryan players and coaches, starting with the first girls basketball team of 1970-71, will be recognized just prior to the boys game. Girls game begins at 5 p.m., ceremonies follow at 6:20 p.m, then the boys game tips at 6:40 p.m.
• Crazy endings: The McGavock-BA game wasn’t the only one with a wild ending in recent weeks. One that ranks right with it is the Ensworth-Harpeth Hall DII girls game on Jan. 7.
Trailing by four points with 3.5 seconds left, Harpeth Hall’s Stephanie Sheely hit a shot from well behind the three-point line, and Ensworth was called for a push-off foul underneath. Kennedy Potts hit both free throws to win the game.
“You’d think it would be impossible to lose a game trailing by four with less than five seconds left,” said Bowers, Ensworth’s athletics director.
• Kickoff Hoops: Director Michael Tribue announced Wednesday that 10 boys and nine girls teams are already committed for the Kickoff Tournament next Thanksgiving weekend at Cane Ridge High.
• Ryan remains ranked: Ryan remained No. 7 in the weekly Tennessee Coaches high school wrestling poll. DII foes Baylor, Christian Brothers and McCallie are ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 6, respectively.
The Irish host Brentwood Academy on Friday followed by a showdown Jan. 29 against rival MBA (ranked No. 12), also at Ryan.
• Peters leads TSU: Ex-Whites Creek star Wil Peters was the hero in Tennessee State’s 76-74 overtime win over Austin Peay last Saturday at TSU’s Gentry Center.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard hit a shot which gave TSU a two-point lead with 20 seconds left. After APSU tied it again, he came back with a 10-foot floater in the lane with two seconds left for the game winner, handing the Governors their first OVC loss.
Peters finished with 16 points and nine assists.
Maplewood at CPA
USN at DCA
Hillwood at Cane Ridge
East Lit at Pearl-Cohn
FRA at Ezell-Harding
Franklin at Hillsboro
Glencliff at Lancaster, boys, 6 p.m.
GPS at Ensworth, girls
McCallie at Ensworth, boys
Harpeth Hall at JPII, girls
MBA at JPII, boys
Overton at Antioch
Hume-Fogg at Stratford
Hunters Lane at McGavock
Kings Academy at DCA
M.L. King at Whites Creek
Merrol Hyde at NCS
Lipscomb at Maplewood
Ravenwood at Brentwood
Ensworth at Brentwood Academy
Harpeth Hall at Ryan, girls
MBA at Ryan, boys
Cane Ridge at Centennial
McGavock at Oakland
Overton at Siegel
Pearl-Cohn at Pope JPII