Flying under the radar for most of the basketball season, the Hunters Lane Warriors are poised to place a significant feather in their cap.
Having clinched the District 12-AAA boys regular season championship two weeks ago, the Warriors can cap a perfect district season with a win over McGavock on Friday (Senior Night) at home. They won at McGavock 60-42 four weeks ago.
Hunters Lane is ranked No. 6 in this week’s Associated Press Class AAA poll and is 23-2 overall (11-0 in district play) after an off night Tuesday. The Warriors average 60 points a game and many of their victories are by a comfortable margin.
They have won 13 straight since a loss to No. 5 Clarksville Northeast on Dec. 20. Their only other loss was by one point, 61-60, to Hillsboro back on Nov. 21.
“From a standpoint of the won-lost record, it’s right up there [with some of our best teams],” 11th-year coach Anthony Sewell said. “But it’s hard to compare teams. This is certainly a very good one.”
A win over McGavock will give the Warriors additional momentum heading into the district tournament, which opens next week at Antioch High.
Hunters Lane is looking for a breakthrough to the state tournament.
The last time it advanced to that point was 2006. Last year, the Warriors lost in the region semifinals to host Brentwood High and they fell one step short in 2010 with a heartbreaking defeat to Beech in sectionals.
Veteran leadership is a hallmark of this year’s team.
Senior point guard Billy Hughes leads the attack with 17.1 points and 3.3 assists per game. Howard Cliff, the other starting guard, also is a senior. The rest of the starting lineup consists of seniors Stephen Daniel and Antonio Head and DeVardo Odum, a junior.
Forward Isaac Harris recently returned to action after he sustained a broken wrist early on and added depth as he has continued to round into shape.
“We have a lot of guys who are good leaders,” Sewell said. “What I like is they play with a great amount of intensity, hustle, play hard, get a lot of loose balls.”
As for the regular season finale, Sewell said, “McGavock is a team which always plays us tough. They play hard, and I’m expecting a tough game.”
The top two finishers in the district get byes into the tournament semifinals. That qualifies Hunters Lane for region regardless and means it has to play just two district tournament contests.
• State Swimming: The Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (TISCA) state meet is Friday and Saturday at Caulkins Pool at Centennial Sportsplex.
Baylor was the runaway winner in both the boys and girls divisions in last year’s state meet at Knoxville. Montgomery Bell Academy (boys) and Harpeth Hall (girls) were runners-up.
MBA senior Maclin Davis is the defending champion in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. The Southern Cal-bound Big Red swimmer set a state record with a 47.14 in the butterfly and is taking aim at the national private school record of 47.08.
• Slight change: Last week, the TSSAA made slight adjustments to the state basketball tournament championships at MTSU for girls (March 7-10) and boys (March 14-17).
The Class AA tournament will be played the first day in both girls (March 7) and boys (March 14), followed by the Class AAA quarterfinal games, then the Class A quarterfinal games.
Previously, Class A has opened the tourney, followed by AA and AAA.
• District meeting: A pairings meeting for coaches in District 11-AAA will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Franklin High, site of the tournament which opens next week.
• Hall of Fame Tennis: The Tennessee Tennis Association has announced that Fran Chandler of Jackson and Pat Guerry of Chattanooga, former prep stars at Jackson Central-Merry and Chattanooga Baylor, respectively, have been inducted into the TTA Hall of Fame. Both competed in numerous Nashville tournaments.