The James C. Haile State Basketball Tournament is the state of Tennessee’s oldest and largest middle school basketball tournament. The tournament is hosted by Middle Tennessee Christian School in Murfreesboro. The Lions of Frank Hughes and the Lady Cats and Wildcats of Waynesboro Middle School had the privilege of receiving an invitation to play in the 2021 AA bracket.
Frank Hughes JH Lions faced South Fentress on Saturday, January 16th. The Lions took the early lead from the South Fentress Buffalos and never looked back. The end of the 1st quarter score was 11-3, Frank Hughes. In the second quarter, the Lions continued to dominate the Buffalos with a 12-2 scoring run, bringing the half time score to 23-5, Lions. In the third, the Lions came out hot with Cooper Shamer busting two 3-point baskets. The end of the third quarter score was 41-13. With the heavy lead, several of the Frank Hughes Lions players got to see some State Tournament play time. The quarter expired with the Lions victory of 43-23, sending South Fentress home and the Lions deeper into the bracket. Cooper Shamer led scoring for the Lions with 21 points to include four 3-point buckets. Shamer had 7 rebounds. Aiden Dicus had 10 points, 10 rebounds and a blocked shot. Weston Lineberry contributed 5 points, 5 assists, and had a blocked shot. Alex Burleson was good for 4 points and 7 rebounds, and Devin Dicus had a steal. Frank Hughes is scheduled to play their second bracket game on Thursday, January 28th.
The Waynesboro Middle School Wildcats played the Tigers of Watertown on Monday, January 18th. These two teams had met before. Last year, the Cats sent Watertown home in an overtime win. Knowing these two teams were evenly matched, the Cats had to work hard for their win. WMS took the early lead and kept it for most of the quarter. The Tigers fought back to tie the game 9-9 at the end of the 1st. The Cats held Watertown to only 2 points in the 2nd quarter and took the lead to 16-11 at halftime. In the 3rd, the Cats outscored the Tigers 11-2 and had a great quarter collecting offensive boards. The Cats took the lead to 27-13. Despite the Cats only letting Watertown score 4 points the 2 previous quarters, the Tigers came back in the 4th, putting up 15 points to the Cats’ 11, trying to narrow the gap. The Tigers were unable to gain the lead, and the game expired with a final score of 38-28, Cats. Drew Bevis led the Cats in scoring with 13 points, shooting 55% from the field. He had 7 rebounds and 5 steals. Sayler Skelton added 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. Justice Bell had 8 points, 5 assists and a blocked shot. Cayman Camfield had 4 points to include a 3-point bucket. Cayman had 4 steals and 3 rebounds. Baker Bryant added 2 points and 2 rebounds. Logan Davis added a free-throw and 3 rebounds. The WMS boys move forward in their bracket and are scheduled to play again on Monday, January 25th.
The Waynesboro Middle School Lady Cats met Thurman Francis Lady Rams on Monday, January 18th. The Lady Cats dominated over the Lady Rams for the most of the game. The Lady Cats came out with a full court defensive press that the Lady Rams could do nothing with. The Lady Cats had 9 steals in the first quarter alone and ended with a score of 28-4. With the massive lead, Coach Ashley was able to utilize the Lady Cats’ bench. The Lady Cats and Lady Rams each were able to add 6 points to the scoreboard bringing the half time score to 34-10. In the third quarter, pulling back to a half court press, Thurman Francis was held to 2 points and Waynesboro Lady Cats added 10. The third quarter ended with a score of 44-12, Lady Cats. The fourth quarter allowed for the entire Lady Cat bench to see some floor time. The Lady Rams were able to gain 9 more points in the final quarter to the Lady Cats’ 4 points bringing the final score to 48-19, Lady Cat victory. Blair Baugus led the Lady Cats in scoring with 23 points in only 8 minutes of game time. Blair shot 63% from the field and had 9 rebounds. Presley Daniel added 8 points and 8 boards. Raegan Crews had 5 points to include a 3-point bucket and 4 assists. Ava Ashley had 4 points with 6 rebounds. Rosalee Martin had 2 points shooting 100% from the free throw line and contributed 4 assists. Addison Maghielse had 2 points and 4 steals. Emma Bryant had 7 steals and 2 assists. Maggie Lee and Caroline Reeves each had a bucket. The Lady Cats totaled 20 steals and 37 rebounds. The Lady Cats are scheduled to play Southside on Tuesday, January 26th.
All of the James C. Haile Tournament games can be viewed live and after broadcast on the Middle Tennessee Christian School YouTube channel.—Submitted