This year doesn’t look like a respite for either team in the 36th annual holiday basketball tournament at Viking Hall in Bristol.
Science Hill kicks off its Arby’s participation with a game Wednesday at 7 p.m. against North Carolina’s Carmel Christian. The Indians follow in the 8:30 slot, taking on Kentucky’s Trinity.
Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip said he believes his team is facing one of the Arby’s best entrants this year.
“They are considered one of the favorites to win the tournament,” Cutlip said. “They boast four Division I commitments.”
The Cougars, from Matthews, were 24-4 and Class 2A state champions last year. Six-foot-four senior Donovan Gregory is an Appalachian State commitment who averaged 20 points per game last season.
Other standouts are 6-5 DeAngelo Epps (College of Charleston commit), 6-8 Jake Boggs (UNC-Wilmington), and 6-8 Marten Maide (Liberty).
Cutlip said his players are excited about the challenge.
“You cannot find a better tournament atmosphere anywhere,” he said. “Our kids always look forward to competing against great teams that are not from this area.”
Out of Louisville, the Shamrocks were 30-4 and a Sweet Sixteen team last year.
They are led by 6-5 senior David Johnson (14 points, six rebounds per game). He was the 2016 Arby’s Classic most valuable player as Trinity beat Chattanooga McCallie in the finals.
Other standouts are 6-4 Stan Turnier and 6-5 Jamil Hardaway. Turnier is a preferred walk-on for Georgia.
The tournament gets under way at 1 p.m. when Virginia’s Union takes on the Bahamas’ Tabernacle Baptist, which is making its 20th straight Arby’s Classic appearance.
The Falcons were 30-4 and Bahamas national champions last year. Joshua Dames (22 points per game), and 6-6 Romad Dean (16 points, 13 rebounds) are returning players.
Union will be without its top player. Wes Slagle, a 6-5 senior, is out for the season with an injury.
That game will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by Greeneville battling Wasilla, Arkansas.
Also on the first-day schedule are Morristown East facing South Carolina’s Cardinal Newman (4 p.m.) with the 5:30 contest matching Buford, Georgia, against Tennessee High.
Following a consolation-bracket contest at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Knox Bearden will take on the Union-Tabernacle winner at 4 o’clock. Sullivan East meets Mt. Bethel, Georgia, at 5:30. The Eagles were 28-7 and Georgia D-1AA state champs in 2017-18. Georgia Tech recruit Coleman Boyd returns along with SEC-level recruit Jordan Meka, a 6-8 junior.
At 7 o’clock, Virginia’s Gate City meets Alabama’s Wenonah. The Dragons were 29-8 and lost in the 5A state semifinals last season. Cameron Tucker, a 6-5 senior, averaged 20 points per game. Justin Minger (6-4 senior) averaged 18.
The final game is Utah’s Orem playing the Greeneville-Wasilla winner at 8:30.
The winners’ bracket quarterfinals are set for Friday at 5, 6:30, 8 and 9:30 p.m. Semifinal action is slated for Saturday at 7 and 8:30 p.m.
After a day off on Sunday, the Arby’s resumes on New Year’s Eve with the finals slated for 6:30 p.m.
Once again the tournament will have a pair of highlight individual competitions. The Dick’s Sporting Goods Slam Dunk Contest is set for Friday at 5:30 p.m. while the Fun Factory Three Point Contest is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m.
David Crockett was well represented for all-state honors while Daniel Boone’s Charlie Cole and Johnson County’s Nathan Lane were the only other area players on the Tennessee Sports Writers Class 6A through Class 3A teams.
The Class 2A and 1A teams will be released after Wednesday.
No area player earned a spot on the Class 6A team, but Crockett quarterback Cade Larkins, wide receiver Donta Hackler and lineman JR Giles grabbed places on the Class 5A team as did Cole at running back.
In Class 4A, no Tri-Cities area player made the squad. And in Class 3A, Lane earned the honor as a defensive back.
Boys basketball rankings
There has been some instability in the High School Top 10 this season, and this week was no exception. Johnson County is the biggest mover, up three spots to No. 5.
Team (W-L) — Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett (10-1) — 1
2. Elizabethton (9-1) — 2
3. Tennessee High (10-3) — 4
4. Science Hill (8-7) — 3
5. Johnson County (10-4) — 8
6. Daniel Boone (6-6) — 9
7. Sullivan East (10-5) — 7
8. Sullivan South (10-5) — 5
9. University High (10-3) — 10
10. Hampton (9-4) — 6
Girls basketball rankings
The only change for this week came from Cherokee, which stretched its win streak to six games and moved up a notch to No. 6.
Team (W-L) — Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett (12-1) — 1
2. Science Hill (11-2) — 2
3. Daniel Boone (9-4) — 3
4. Sullivan Central (8-6) — 4
5. Johnson County (6-5) — 5
6. Cherokee (11-3) — 7
7. Unicoi County (8-3) — 6
8. Cloudland (9-4) — 8
9. Sullivan South (9-8) — 9
10. Happy Valley (6-5) — 10