Posted On: 02/23/18 8:15 PM
Many of the teams competing the AAA West Regionals could win four consecutive games. Look at the #1 seeds alone: Mt. Juliet, Clarksville Northeast, Brentwood, Cane Ridge, Brighton, Cordova, Southwind, Memphis East.
Six of those teams have multiple college players. Memphis East runs out 7-8 high-major players. Cordova’s Tyler Harris (PrepHoops #4) can individually win a game. Brighton might have their best team ever. Denver signed Taelyr Gatlin and Head Coach Stan Gatlin also loves 6-foot-3 Zachary Lewis.
In conjunction with @PrepHoopsTN AAA breakdown, Brighton has a good team but definitely not the best team @BrightonCards ever had. They had @herbie_johnson3 Demetrius Dyson, Moses to name a few and all were freshmen…. pic.twitter.com/y9FOTycr3g
— Harold Rivera (@memphishoopers) February 24, 2018
Southwind is no slouch. Their Mark Freeman (LIU-Brooklyn signed) ranks in the top ten. If anybody can beat East, Southwind might be that team.
Clarksville Northeast only lost two games to district opponents (Kenwood, Springfield). With junior wing forward Alec Kegler the Eagles have a versatile scorer and rebounder.
Northeast opens with Wilson Central, a Wildcat team that is hardly a pushover. WCHS leans on Gavin Johnson. When he plays at his best the Wildcats are scary. They don’t have the same level of guards as Northeast though. Also, Northeast can really defend in the quarter-court.
Mt. Juliet is a nice team lead by Isaac Stephens (NAIA prospect), but Northeast deserves the favorite tag in this grouping. The Golden Bear should roll over Kenwood, but either West Creek or Gallatin are capable of conquering the top seed. West Creek likes to press and Gallatin features a formidable frontcourt of Parrish Hewitt and Zool Kueth.
Don’t forget Lebanon is one of the hottest teams north of Nashville. They pounded Beech and Gallatin last week. Any team that won 22 games this season is a threat. Lebanon meets Will Midlick, Austin Jackson and their Rossview Hawks (25-6) Saturday night.
Antioch gets good and bad news. The good news is the Bears are hosting the regional. They could get three games in a row on their home floor. The bad news is they face Franklin (25-5) Saturday. What a horrendous draw for the hosts. Is there a better #3 seed in the entire state? At first glance, Memphis Central is very tough too. The Rebels won 25 games and scored 80+ six times. Their offense is lethal with Reese Glover and Evan Sigler.
Winning the Antioch/Franklin game only creates a monster matchup with Brentwood/McGavock. Brentwood won District 11 Championship and McGavock’s sophomore Marvin Hughes might be the best AAA basketball player east of Memphis.
Centennial boasts some talented young players. Though they stumbled a bit in the last few weeks, Cane Ridge’s Ravens still captured the #1 seed. They will almost certainly encounter Centennial or Hunters Lane. Hunters Lane (Tray Esaw and Kendall Winston) plays exceptional perimeter defense. Tre Carlton and Dusty Williams are two weapons for Centennial. The sophomores helped Franklin Centennial deliver two losses to Franklin. Carlton will be a fun player to watch compete against Esaw. Both are quick and hyper-aware.
Despite playing in Bolton’s building, Cordova appears to be the strongest participant in the Bolton Regional. Nobody scored more smoothly in AAA than Tyler Harris. Cordova could get 30+ points from the unsigned senior every single night.
Bartlett is a nice darkhorse with Jefferson Walker, Rodney Mason Jr., and Jalen Cincore. Even though Mason Jr. is playing a little out of position, the Bartlett Panthers possess a multi-faceted attack.
The Whitehaven Tigers have to be the strongest #2 seed in the state. With wins over Huntington Prep, Mitchell, Olive Branch (MS), Melrose, and Memphis Central x2, they have proven capable of beating everybody save Memphis East.
The Tigers plan to bounce Germantown and then Southwind. The Jaguars and Whitehaven will assuredly present a monumental confrontation if both teams advance Saturday night. Whitehaven gets the benefit of hosting the entire regional. They could face Germantown, Southwind, and East all on the WHS floor.
The East path is anything but easy. A second round opponent of Central/Ridgeway appears daunting. Ridgeway features Brandon Mason, Antonio Thomas, Willie Wilson, and Tylar Haynes. They can get on the glass and cause problems.
Central is short overall, but their guards play at a frenetic pace.