With the rivalry as hot as ever, Hume-Fogg and Martin Luther King will renew their “Magnet Madness” basketball series for a fifth straight year Friday.
Starting in 2009, the two inner-city magnet schools have played an annual mid-January District 10-AA twin bill at venerable Municipal Auditorium to spark interest. The schools alternate as the ‘home’ team on a year-to-year basis. This year the girls game tips at 6 p.m. and the boys game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“It’s something [former coach and current Hume-Fogg assistant principal] Kelly Harned started,” MLK coach James (Doc) Shelton said. “It’s a game which gets both communities excited, and that’s something I’m all for. I think it’s good for both schools. But as for coaches, it’s just another game in a tough district that we’re trying to win.”
Shelton, 53, is midway through his 24th season with the Royals, said.
Normally, about 1,000 fans come for the festival, which includes loud and sometimes boisterous student cheering sections, creative signs and occasional taunts between arguably the two top magnet schools in the city.
Going into Thursday night’s game against top-ranked Christ Presbyterian Academy, MLK was 6-5 overall, 4-3 in district play and lodged right in the middle of the district standings. One of its victories was at home over Hume-Fogg.
The boys game features two of Nashville’s top scorers, MLK’s Jalen Duke (16.4 points per game) and Hume-Fogg’s Joey Skibble (16.0).
Duke is a 6-foot-3 sophomore. Skibble is a 6-foot-3 junior. Both play the wing and provide a perimeter scoring presence.
“Jalen has the potential to be a really good player,” Shelton, whose teams have won two state championships (1991, 1996), said. “If he receives coaching and continues to learn our system, he has great potential.
“He is already proven to be someone who is able to score, and that definitely helps your team.”
The girls game features one of the up-and-coming teams in Nashville, the MLK girls, who, until coach coach Lindy King came along, were perennial district doormats.
The Royals feature a one-two punch of Sydney Sims (17 points per game) and Jordan Majors (15 points per game).
The Royals won two of three at the recent Overton Christmas tournament. All three games decided by one point and two went to overtime, including a 48-47 loss to Hillsboro in the championship.
• In the top boys game Friday, Brentwood High (16-2), winner of eight straight including the Gateway (Pa.) Holiday Hoops Classic, visits Hillsboro (14-1) with an early District 11-AAA lead at stake. Both teams won their district openers Tuesday.
• Brentwood Academy will honor Craig Ferrell, who served as the school’s team physician from 1981 to 2011, Saturday. In recognition for his 30-year service, BA will dedicate the sports training room in the athletic center in his honor.
The official recognition will come at halftime of the boys’ basketball game against Battle Ground Academy, which starts at 7:30 p.m. A plaque bearing the dedication message will be unveiled and will hang in the sports training room.
• Among the items the TSSAA voted on Thursday was to continue the process of announcing the football playoff field at 10 a.m. Saturday following the Week 10 games of the regular season. If an error is made, such as one last season in which Cleveland High made then missed the playoffs, schools have until 3 p.m. that day to notify the TSSAA of the mistake.
• District 10-AA football coaches announced their 2012 honors. They are as follows:
Player of the Year: Chase Smith, CPA; Offensive player of the year: Albert Mitchell, CPA; Defensive player of the year: Ronald Wilbert, Maplewood; Offensive back of the year: Laquan Horton, Stratford: Offensive lineman of the year: Paul Adams, CPA; Co-receivers of the year: Ladarius Malone, Maplewood and Thomas Richard, CPA; Special teams player of the year: Cortland Daws, Lipscomb Academy; Defensive back of the year: Cortez Adams, Maplewood; Co-defensive lineman of the year: Michael Cain, Whites Creek and James Elliot, CPA; Inside linebacker of the year: Cooper Jackson, Lipscomb Academy; Outside linebacker of the year: Robert Brown, CPA.
Martin Luther King vs. Hume-Fogg (at Municipal Auditorium)
Brentwood High at Hillsboro
Cane Ridge at Antioch
Davidson Academy at Zion Christian
East Nashville at Harpeth
Franklin Road Academy at University School of Nashville
Glencliff at Overton
Hillwood at Lead Academy
McGavock at Hunters Lane
Mt. Juliet Christian at Donelson Christian Academy
Pearl-Cohn at Christ Presbyterian Academy
Stratford at Maplewood
Whites Creek at Lipscomb Academy