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Local preps teams start postseason play tonight

Published: 11:25 PM, 02/13/2013 Last updated: 10:06 AM, 02/14/2013

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

The postseason run for all four local prep basketball teams begin tonight when the Cocke County High School Fighting Cocks take the hardwood in the quarterfinal round of the District 2-AAA
tournament at Seymour High School.

Cocke County will be looking to earn a berth in Friday night’s semifinal round, as well as extend their season for at least three more games when they take on Morristown West tonight at 6 p.m. (RADIO: WLIK 1270-AM). Morristown West advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 57-49 win over No. 8 Morristown East on Tuesday night.

The Fighting Cocks swept the season series with coach Derek Creech’s Trojans by a mere combined five-points. CCHS took a 38-34 decision in Morristown on December 14 and taking a 54-53 win on their home floor on January 28.

Fortunes for both squads have swung since that late January meeting however. Entering tonight’s game, Cocke County (15-11) has dropped four of it’s past six games, while the Trojans (13-13) have won five straight.

Tonight’s winner will advance to face top-seeded Jefferson County (Friday, 8:30 p.m.), which lost a 50-47 game to Morristown West on January 29.

"This team knows they can beat anybody we’ve played - any of the top three teams (in District 2-AAA)," Evans said following the team’s season-finale against South Doyle on February 9. "They’ve got that confidence and the only thing we have to do is go out and execute and make it happen."

The District 2-AAA championship game will be played at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

Lady Red await semifinals tomorrow: After claiming its first regular season District 2-AAA championship in 1986-87, the Cocke County Lady Red now have their sights set on their first tournament title, which also came in the same season.

Cocke County (18-9) will take on No. 5 Sevier County (15-15) in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday night at Seymour High School as they seek their first appearance in the district championship game since 2009. Sevier County advanced to the semifinal round with a 47-40 win over No. 4 Jefferson County in a Wednesday night quarterfinal game.

CCHS beat Sevier County twice this season by a combined five points, including a one-point win on December 18.

Despite the surprising success which led the Lady Red to a 13-1 regular season mark in the district, rookie head coach Jeremy Byrd wants to earn more accolades for his basketball team.

"We want the tournament championship," Byrd said following last Friday’s win over South Doyle. "We’ve put ourselves in a good position, but it’s not going to be easy.

"We definitely have our sights set on more than (winning the regular season championship)," Byrd said. "Don’t get me wrong, (winning the regular season) is a good accomplishment, but we’re looking to make a run in this tournament."

The winner of Friday’s game will face the winner of No. 2 Morristown West and No. 7 Morristown East in the District 2-AAA title game on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Lady Eagles prep for postseason run: After enjoying one of their best seasons in school history with a 22-3 record, the Cosby Lady Eagles now eye their second trip to the TSSAA Class A State
Tournament in three seasons.

With an approach of one-game at a time during the regular season, that mentality will carry over to a postseason run of high hopes for the Lady Eagles.

Cosby starts their postseason run in Friday’s District 2-A semifinal round against No. 4 Clinch High School on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Grainger High School. The Lady Eagles handled hapless Clinch by a combined 114-16 in two regular season games this year, despite not playing their regular starting five in each game.

The winner advances to Saturday’s title game (6:30 p.m.) to face either No. 2 Hancock County or No. 3 Washburn in the District 2-A title game. A win would be give the Lady Eagles, the fifth ranked team in the state in Class A, their third straight district tournament title.

The scenario is set up for a likely rematch with Hancock County, a game that the Lady Eagles survived with a 35-27 win in Sneedville on January 12.

"(Hancock County) wants to slow it down and use their big girl, but I think if we put enough pressure on them, I don’t think they can do it to us this time," Cosby coach Richard Coggins said. "I believe my girls will be ready to play this time."

The District 2-A tournament will likely be a postseason tuneup for the Lady Eagles, as they position themselves for a grueling run through the Region 1-A tournament, which contains four of the team’s top-10 ranked teams.

Coggins knows their competition in the region tournament will be a concern, but that his team has circled the wagons since a 61-57 loss to Class AA Pigeon Forge on January 26.

"I think the loss to Pigeon Forge helped us," Coggins said. "We’ve had really good practices and our offense has came together since then.

"These girls want a chance to go to Murfreesboro, and we may or we may not make it, but we’re going to give it all we’ve got,” Coggins said. "I think the fire is in them, the loss to Pigeon Forge had them torn up and crying, I think they’ll have the fire."

Eagles look for fourth straight title: The Cosby Eagles will vie for their fourth straight District 2-A tournament title this weekend.

However, they will do so from an unfamiliar spot.

Cosby (15-9), by virtue of their season split with Hancock County High School, will be the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament and will have to advance to the semifinals by getting through No. 3. Washburn High School (11-16) on Friday night at 8 p.m at Grainger High School.

Cosby easily handled Washburn in the season series, winning both games by an average of 28 points. The Eagles jumped out to a large lead in last Friday’s game between the two schools, scoring 50 points in the first two quarters.

The winner of Friday night’s semifinal advances to Saturday night’s title game at 8 p.m. to take on the Hancock County - Clinch winner.

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