Bracket Preview: Class AA West R5-R8

High School
Tennessee

Posted On: 02/23/18 1:16 PM

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The AA Regional Quarterfinals feature some wonderfully intriguing matchups.

The bracket is located on the bottom of the page.

First, look at the #1 seeds: Greenbrier, Stratford, Fairview, Marshall County, Crockett County, Jackson South Side, Haywood, Hamilton.  All of the eight top seeds played great in the last week.  Most of them sparkled throughout the season.  During Penny Hoopfest, Hamilton knocked off perennial state champion Whitney Young (IL).

Marshall County defeated two other #1 seeds in the regular season (Fairview, Northeast -AAA).  And the Tigers of MCHS run out the hottest scorer in middle Tennessee, K.J. Johnson.

First Quadrant

Take a look at the top quadrant.  Of the D10 teams, only Whites Creek will enter an underdog.  Despite featuring Dennis Stallings and Chad Haywood, the Cobras program has been in shambles for a week.  Head Coach Carlton Battle is unlikely to coach Saturday.  He did not coach Tuesday.

Stratford is on a roll.  Last weekend they scored 103 points.  Tuesday they toppled a fantastically prepared MLK team.  If they can keep foul-prone Mike Wallace on the court, few in AA can beat the Spartans.

A potential Regional Semifinal matchup between Stratford and East Nashville looks like an earthquake of a disaster.  The two teams routinely clash.  Stratford very nearly handed the Eagles their first loss of the season.    They were expected to meet in the District Championship, but #2 seed MLK disrupted that narrative.

Cheatham County snuck into the field with a mind-blowing victory over White House Heritage in the districts.  The Cubs won six games all season, but the two wins they captured in the last ten days solidified a #3 seed in the regionals.

Nolensville Regional

The second quadrant relies upon Fairview to set the tone.  The Yellowjackets won District 11 with victories over Hickman County, Lewis County, and Camden.   They won 18 of their last 20 games.  Fairview boasts a 7-2 record against teams in their quadrant.

For Marshall County (#1 seed), one bothersome aspect is their second round game could be a road game.  If Nolensville advances they both host and play in the Regional Semifinals.   Marshall County could very easily meet next Tuesday in Nolensville’s gym.  The neutral concept of postseason quickly evaporates in that particular matchup.

McNairy Central Regional

This region has plenty of top coaches.

The Trojans face Jackson North Side in the Dyersburg gym Saturday night.  Just before their Distritc 13 AA Championship loss the Trojans rattled off 22 straight wins.  And Dyersburg (#1 seed) brings a passionate fanbase to the quadrant.

A Regional Semifinal matchup between Jackson South Side and Jackson North Side could be blistering.  Jackson South Side needs to knock off Milan, which shouldn’t be difficult.  Milan’s Bulldogs collected 12 wins in the last two seasons combined.  North Side faces stiffer competition with the aforementioned Trojans of Dyersburg.

South Gibson (#3) and McNairy Central (#2) is a matchup that could swing either direction.  South Gibson runs out Nathan Hicks, Dylan Robbins, and Gabe Martin.  All three of them earned District 13 AA All-District.  There is a All-Tournament Team trophy in Mr. Robbins’ neighborhood (old, old reference).

Keep in mind the only team to knock off Dyersburg since Thanksgiving Day was Crockett County.  That kind of result carries a natural confidence with it.  Can Dyersburg get a rematch?  It will take two wins from both participants to meet March 1st in McNairy’s gym for the Regional Final.