Four area teams poised for state tourney success

By: Wes Boling Email
By: Wes Boling Email

(WVLT) -- The Austin-East Roadrunners know what it's like to taste state tournament success.

Fulton knows how it feels to show up for the quarterfinal round, only to get shown up.

Oak Ridge's seniors remember what it's like to play in Murfreesboro -- they were freshmen during the Wildcats' 2005 trip to state.

And Grace Christian Academy's never played in the state tourney, but looks to overcome its lack of experience and capture the school's first title trophy.

All four teams will vie for state championships at MTSU this week, with the opening games slated for Wednesday and Thursday. Grace (26-6) opens the tourney against University School of Johnson City (26-6) Wednesday. The Rams edged Hampton to earn the school's first state tourney berth and boast a seven-game winning streak that began with the start of postseason play.

Austin-East (28-7) wants to do two games better than last year's state appearance, when the Roadrunners lost to Memphis Mitchell in the final four. AE has won 13 of its last 15 games, with its only two losses coming to archrival Fulton in the district and region tourneys.

The Falcons (25-4) return to state for the second straight year and third time since 2004. In both trips Fulton lost in the quarterfinal round; this year, however, Jody Wright's squad has a dynamic, experienced squad which has not lost since Jan. 4, in a setback to Austin-East.

Oak Ridge (32-2) knows something about winning streaks. The Wildcats have only lost twice this year and have rolled through the postseason, winning every game but two by at least 12 points. They open tourney play against White Station, who won several titles earlier in the decade.

TSSAA STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:

Wednesday (All times central):
Grace Christian (26-6) vs. University School (25-5), 2 pm
Fulton (25-4) vs. Livingston Academy (30-4), 8:45 pm

Thursday:
Austin-East (28-7) vs. Mitchell (23-8), 11 am
Oak Ridge (32-2) vs. White Station (23-12), 2 pm

Friday:
State semifinals

Saturday:
State championships


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