Posted On: 03/15/19 2:00 AM
Friday is a deeply entertaining day in Murfreesboro. Four talented teams with predominately veteran coaches share the same opportunity.Two teams in each class earn placement in the State Championship Game. Class AA begins the day.
AA Semifinal: East Nashville (27-6) vs. Fulton (27-4), 10:00 am
How they got here: East Nashville defeated Howard 78-75 in the quarterfinals. After amassing a staggering 28-game winning streak in 2018 the Eagles introduced five brand new starters and still advanced further in 2019. Fulton returns to the semifinals after knocking off Mitchell in overtime, 44-41. The Falcons are a Class AA State Tournament mainstay. They are making their 24th appearance and hope to capture their fourth championship, first since 2016. Head Coach Jody Wright surpassed 700 career wins last season and yet he continues to stack win upon win in his 34th season leading FHS.
Analysis: One year ago Fulton eliminated a spicy-hot Stratford Spartan team in overtime at this same stage. East Nashville is a completely different team that ’18 Stratford. East is more guard-driven and lacks the incredible athleticism of Michael Wallace or length of Kevonte Boyd. Fulton struggled on the glass against Stratford, but East Nashville is more likely to shoot 25 3-pointers than to gain 10 offensive rebounds. Both teams have electric scorers. Fulton’s familiarity with the state tournament and senior guard Ronald Davis III supply edges. Head Coach Jody Wright guided Fulton High to titles in 2008, 2009, and 2016. They narrowly missed a title last season with largely the same roster.
Of note, Fulton’s starting five play heavy minutes. The guards deftly avoid foul trouble and never seem to wither physically. In the last two state playoff runs they won two overtime games while playing nearly every available minute together.
East Nashville’s underclassmen Isaiah Jones (soph.) and Willie Wilson (freshman) are very talented and possibly volume scorers on the big stage. Isaiah scored 19 points against Howard High. East Nashville needs the same fiery Isaiah firing today.
Players to watch
East Nashville: Taras Carter, Caleb Grimes (PrepHoopsTN #103) Isaiah Jones (PrepHoopsTN #53 in 2021), Willie Wilson
Fulton: Ronald Davis III (PrepHoopsTN #29), Deshawn Page (PrepHoopsTN #126 in 2019), Ed “Dudda” Lacy (#45 in 2020)
Our pick: Fulton 58, East Nashville 52