Hoop Report Cards
In less than a month the District 12-AA Tournament begins for Forrest and Marshall County at Nolensville, while Cornersville travels to Eagleville for the District 8-A Tournament.
After tonight’s slate of games that has MCHS at Nolensville, Forrest at Community, and Cornersville hosting Huntland there will be approximately eight games remaining until the postseason.
The MCHS Tigerettes have had the biggest turnaround of any team in the county with a 13-3 record going into tonight’s contest at Nolensville (13-4, 2-0) and a win over the Lady Knights would create a logjam in the district standings.
The contest is the first of five consecutive district road games for Marshall County, who won’t return to the friendly confines of the Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium hardwood until February 2 when they host Forrest.
Although affected by some illness, the four-time state champion Tigerettes have stayed away from the injury bug and are looking to reel off some wins and make a serious postseason move for the first time since the 2008-2009 season when they went 30-1 and made their last region tournament semifinal appearance.
The Tigerettes have a great mix with senior sharpshooter Leah Hollingsworth and junior point guard Demariae Ingram in the backcourt.
Sophomore Kelsey Keiler is an important cog in the Tigerette machine with her ability to play in the low post and swing out to the wing and make some jump shots.
The twin towers of senior Alli Hobbs and sophomore Hannah Davis are a formidable duo in the low post and coming off the bench to provide a big spark are freshmen Claire Woods, Sydney Tidwell, and Karlye Wiser.
After winning five straight games, MCHS suffered a one-point 43-42 loss to Community (8-7, 1-0) in the district opener last week.
The Tigerettes (13-4, 1-1) bounced back with a big blowout win over Murfreesboro Central Magnet (3-12, 0-2) to get back on track. Grade: A-
The up and down Forrest Lady Rockets can’t seem to find solid footing, highlighted by a recent subpar performance versus first place Nolensville.
Forrest (10-6, 1-1) started the season at 7-1 before losing three out of its last four games with the only victory coming against District 12-AA opponent Giles County at Chapel Hill.
The Lady Rockets have all the parts to make it work with a great mixture in seniors Grace Thrasher, Katey Harmon, Madison Curtis, and Emma Stacey to go along with a deep sophomore class in the Blanton twins (Ally and Anna), Jaide Langley, and Shea Lewis.
Freshman Carissa Curtis has been the Lady Rockets’ most consistent scorer this season and there are big things in her future at Forrest. Curtis’ classmate Cassidy Stewart also comes off the bench for Forrest.
If the Lady Rockets want to make a run for the District 12-AA title they will have to get more consistent production in the low post, take care of the basketball, score more points, and pick up the pressure on the defensive end.
Forrest travels to Community tonight and hosts intra-county rival Marshall County on Tuesday before four straight road games at Murfreesboro Central Magnet, Giles County, Nolensville, and Lewisburg.
The Lady Rockets need to win five-out-of-six to have a shot at the number one or two seed in the district tournament at Giles County. Grade: C
The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs are on a roll, winners of four straight games and three straight in District 8-A contests.
Cornersville (15-2, 3-0) is led by senior post player Morgan Terry, who continues to shine for the Bulldogs as a consistent presence every game.
Terry’s senior classmates Emma Mitchell and Taylor Powers also provide experience on the floor and juniors Gabby King and Sara Beth Prosser round out a very tough starting five or six that includes sophomore Payton Salsman.
Daisy Braden and Bethany Fitzgerald provide depth along with freshmen sharpshooters Abbie Woodard and Meri Hannah Walker.
The Lady Bulldogs have posted winning seasons every year except two the past 10 seasons, but have not translated the winning marks into the postseason as they have not reached a region semifinal game since 2010 and have not won a region title since the 2008-2009 season when they went 26-7 and claimed the region title and sub-state game to advance to the program’s first-ever state tournament appearance.
The ninth-ranked Lady Dawgs entertain Huntland (10-8, 3-1) tonight and Cascade (2-14, 0-3) on Tuesday before a showdown at Moore County (13-5, 3-0) on Wednesday and at Eagleville (11-6, 0-2) next Friday. Grade: B+
The Marshall County Tigers won 21 games last season before coach Arnett Bodenhamer left and former Moore County coach Lavon King took over the talented squad.
The Tigers came into the season as the clear favorites to win the newly formed District 12-AA and were off and running to an 11-3 start before they suffered a monumental blow when senior point guard exited Lewisburg for a Kentucky prep school.
Now King’s squad, who have lost three out of their last four games, is searching for a new identity.
That identity starts and ends with sophomore sensation KJ Johnson, who is in the midst of a fantastic season as the sharpshooting lefty has put up some big numbers in Fields’ absence.
Senior post player LaMarcus Dodson has also had a solid season for the Tigers as well as junior Keshun Gentry.
King needs some production from the youngsters if the Tigers want to win the district title and advance deep into the postseason.
Sophomores Canelius Turner and Andrew Gold, along with frosh Silas Hurt, Kaamil Hazel and Jaamil Hazel, A’Ky Howard will have to grow up quick if MCHS wants to do some late season damage.
After a disappointing loss to Murfreesboro Central Magnet last week, the Tigers are hoping for a rebound on the road as they embark on a grueling five-game road trip, beginning tonight at Nolensville.
MCHS (13-6, 1-1) goes to Forrest (6-12, 2-0) on Tuesday for a huge intra-county rivalry contest and then they travel to Giles County (3-9, 0-1), Community (7-8, 0-1), and Murfreesboro Central Magnet (11-9, 1-1) in succession before returning home on February 2 to play the Rockets. Grade: Incomplete
Don’t look now, but the surprise team of the season is the Forrest Rockets who sit atop the District 12-AA standings with a 2-0 league mark.
Forrest (6-12, 2-0) has not had a winning season since the 2012-2013 season, but did cause a stir in 2013-2014 when they finished with a 14-18 record and won the district title before advancing to the region semifinals where they lost.
In the next three years the Rockets won only 8 district games total.
This is a lunch pail group of players, led by sophomore gunslinger Ryley McClaran, who has been lighting up gyms all across the Mid-State.
Senior Ty Hengesbach’s return to the lineup after injury has also boosted the Rockets and his classmate Jacob Rich has recently found his touch.
Add Sam Ford’s inside/outside presence, along with his junior classmates Martin Stewart and Mitchell Everette play in the low post and if consistency occurs, watch out.
Sophomores Cameron Curtis and Spencer McCown have also been in the starting lineup this season and both players add depth and talent to a team that seems to be breaking out of its shell.
The Rockets (6-12, 2-0) travel to Community tonight before hosting Lewisburg on Monday night.
After that they take the bus to Murfreesboro Central Magnet, Giles County, Nolensville, and Lewisburg. Grade: B
Although the Cornersville Bulldogs started the pre-district season with a 2-8 mark they came up with a big league win at Cascade before suffering a pair of District 8-A losses to Eagleville and Fayetteville that put them in a hole in the midst of the tough district slate that all teams face this time of year.
The ultra-successful footballers have had enough time to get into basketball mode and now is the time to make a push if the Bulldogs want to play late into February.
Sophomore Tyler Wolaver is as consistent as any of the Bulldogs and his athleticism is crucial to the success of the squad.
Senior Kolbe McMahon has stepped up his game lately and junior point guard Darien Bush has also showed signs of a breakout season.
Bush’s junior classmates Eli Woodard, Caleb Crowell, Marques Martin, Henlee Mitchell, and Cameron Whitaker all have the potential to add some scoring, rebounding, and defense to give Cornersville a late push.
The Bulldogs (3-10, 1-2) need to make hay and make it quick if they want a decent seed for the district tournament at Eagleville.
The Bulldogs host Huntland (3-14, 0-4) tonight before back-to-back games with Moore County (4-14, 2-1) next week.
Fayetteville (10-7, 3-0) leads the District 8-A standings, followed by Eagleville (9-8, 2-0) in second place. Grade: C-