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Lady Eagles ranked third in state

Cosby High School sophomore Bethanie Williams, shown here in Saturday night's win over Unaka, and the Lady Eagles were ranked No. 3 in Class A in the Associated Press Tennessee Prep Basketball poll released on Monday.
Published: 3:25 PM, 01/08/2013 Last updated: 3:30 PM, 01/08/2013

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

COSBY-Two months full of near-dominance on the hardwood by the Cosby Lady Eagles has caught the attention of plenty of teams in the eastern third of the state.

It has also caught the eye of media members statewide.

The Cosby Lady Eagles opened at the No. 3 ranking in the initial Associated Press Tennessee Prep Girls' Basketball poll, which was released on Monday evening. Cosby, which has won 14 of its first 16 games this season, was listed behind Jackson County High School and Union City High School in the poll.

Jackson County received 10 first place votes, while Union City recorded three and Cosby received the other two. Cosby was just four points shy of a second place ranking, as Union City had 123 points in the poll to 119 for the Lady Eagles.

Cosby coach Richard Coggins said he felt like his squad's ranking was a well-deserved honor, after the early season successes his team has found.

"It's a great thing for my girls," Coggins said on Monday night. "It gets them some recognition and gives them a little honor."

Coggins said he thinks the honor was well-deserved after the Lady Eagles went the entire 2011-12
campaign without being ranked. Cosby won 25 games a season ago and advanced to the Region 1-A finals and a Class A Sectional game, but never cracked the Top 10 of the AP rankings.

"It's a good thing for them, because it's something they felt like last year they needed to be ranked and they never were," Coggins said.

The high ranking in the initial poll can be a catch-22 however. Being ranked high in the poll is something that Coggins thinks will make other teams play their best game against Cosby.

In 2005-06 when Coggins led the Eagles to a state tournament berth, the Eagles led the AP rankings in Class A from wire-to-wire, as they endured a number of challenges from foes all season long.

"It's good for the girls, but it puts a huge target on us," Coggins said. "People play us now and they will feel like they've got nothing to lose and try everything to beat you.

"It's a great thing, though we've still got to go play the games," Coggins said.

Rounding out the Class A poll in fourth place was Summertown (12-2) with 101 points, fifth ranked Collinwood (11-1) with 65 points and sixth ranked Clarkrange (14-4) had 62 points.

Three teams that the Lady Eagles might see in a postseason run helped round out the final four slots in the initial rankings.

North Greene (13-5), which delivered the Lady Eagles one of their two losses in a November 24 meeting, shared the No. 7 ranking with Oliver Springs High School with 47 points apiece. Oliver Springs (11-3) is currently the favorite to be one of the two teams to advance from Region 2-A for a Class A sectional berth.

Hampton (14-4) was ranked No. 10 in the poll, with 34 votes. The Lady Bulldogs, who fell to Cosby in a Region 1-A semifinal last March, have a number of impressive wins this year, including Morristown West and Seymour High School - which share a tie of first place in District 2-AAA.

(Editors Note: The Newport Plain Talk, which had voting privileges in the poll from 2000 through 2010, is no longer a voting member in the Associated Press Tennessee Prep Basketball Rankings, as it is no longer an Associated Press member.)

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