James McKee is quite happy to be playing in the second annual Showdown in the South Basketball Showcase — especially since his team didn’t get to last year.
The fourth-year Overton High coach and his team will take on rival Maplewood, which will cap a hoop-filled day at at A-Game Sportsplex on Saturday afternoon.
“It will be a thrill to be playing in the event this year,” McKee said.
His team was invited in 2011, but its opponent, Memphis Whitehaven, canceled out of the event on very short notice.
Eight games are on tap, including four double-headers, starting with girls, followed by the same schools’ boys teams.
The contest between Overton (4-2) and Maplewood (3-4) is the last one on the card and starts at about 8:45 p.m. Expect some fireworks between the perennial Nashville powers.
The Bobcats got the AAA Sectionals last March, and Maplewood reached the Class AA state semifinals in 2010. Both were hit by graduation losses.
Overton has a key district game at Cane Ridge on Friday night before Saturday's event.
“We graduated eight seniors from last season and return only one starter, 6-foot-4 junior forward Rozelle Wilson (7 points per game, 7 rebounds per game),” McKee said. “We do return, well, most of our JV team.
“The best of our so called new generation is 5-foot-6 junior point guard ‘Drivin’ Ivan Alsup, our leading scorer at 15 points per game. Senior post Geremy Henderson [10 points per game] and high flyer 6-foot-1 junior forward Shaquille Davis [11 points per game] also have contributed. Defensively, we are led by the twin twosome of 5-foot-10 seniors Cory and Ryan Roberson who do all of the dirty work for us.
“We play 11 players most nights and hope to outscrap you if nothing else.”
Maplewood is bolstered by the return of several key players from the football team, which went all the way to the state finals. One of those is standout shooter Kenny Robertson, the Panthers’ second leading scorer (13.3 points per game) behind 6-foot-3 forward Jason State (14.4 points per game).
On Tuesday, Maplewood lost 58-55 at David Lipscomb on a 3-point shot at the buzzer.
“We have had some very close and competitive games with Maplewood over the last few years,” McKee said. “We had a tough loss to them in the 2009 region tournament [the last time they were in the same classification], then in the regular season finale when we won that one-point game with so much controversy at the end.
“I fully expect another great game with them at this year’s event. And I hope we get a good crowd out to support high school basketball for this event.”
Admission is $6 for adults and includes all eight games.
(all games at A-Game Sportsplex)
McGavock vs. Pearl-Cohn — girls noon; boys 1:15 p.m.
University School of Nashville vs. Hillsboro — girls 2:30 p.m.; boys 3:45 p.m.
Brentwood vs. Hunters Lane — girls 5 p.m.; boys 6:15 p.m.
Overton vs. Maplewood — girls 7:30 p.m.; boys 8:45 p.m.
• All-Region honors: Ensworth’s Corn Elder was named Player of the Year and two Battle Ground Academy stars, C.J. Beathard (offensive MVP) and linebacker Blake Thompson (defensive MVP) were honored on the coaches DII All Middle/East Region football team.
Other Nashville-area players named were:
Line: Graham Shuler, Brentwood Academy; John Powell, MBA.
Wide receivers: Jordan Smith, BGA; Al Thompson, Brentwood Academy; Cory Batey, Ensworth, Jamonte Graham, Father Ryan, Brad Jarreau, Pope JPII.
Quarterback: Andrew Bowers, Ensworth.
Running backs: Keenan Bass, BGA, D’Montre Wade, Brentwood Academy; Jhamall Wright, MBA.
Line: Kimani Roberts, BGA; Corien Owens, Amos Mason, Woody Baron, Brentwood Academy; Michael Sawyers, Ensworth, Jashon Robertson, MBA.
Linebackers: Reed Loefel, BGA; Keshonn Carter, Brennan Washington, Ensworth; T.J. Holmes, Father Ryan; James Kay, John Morphis, MBA.
Secondary: Jimmy Redovian, Jordan Tutler, BGA; Jalen Ramsey, Brentwood Academy; Rico Watson, Rodney Edmiston, Ensworth; Ryan Bossung, Father Ryan; Joe Janson, Pope JPII.
Blake Thompson, BGA; Conner Lunsford, Brentwood Academy; Thomas Doochin, Ensworth; John Arnold, Father Ryan; Jamie Bradshaw, MBA; Andrew Scruggs, Pope JPII.
• Wrestling rankings: Father Ryan is ranked No. 4 in the first Tennessee high school coaches wrestling poll, released this week, all classifications. Soddy Daisy is ranked No. 1, Ravenwood is No. 8, with Independence No. 12.
Up next for Ryan is the Cleveland (ranked No. 2) duals Saturday, followed by the Middle Tennessee Grand Championships at the Franklin Ag Center Dec. 16-17.
Ryan hosts its annual Irish Invitational Jan. 6-7.