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Mt. Juliet No. 3, Central 4th in AP poll
Jan 10, 2007 12:00 am
West Wilson arch-rivals Mt. Juliet and Wilson Central are third and fourth, respectively, in the initial Associated Press high school state girl's basketball poll released Monday.
The Lady Bears (who will bring a 16-1 record into tonight's 6:30 p.m. home game against Father Ryan at Tommy Martin Gym) have the most first-place votes with five. Their 98 points is one more than the Lady Wildcats, who picked up three firsts.
Central, coming off a loss to No. 7 Smyrna last Friday, will bring a 15-2 record into tonight's 6:30 p.m. District 9-AAA game at home against Gallatin.
"I'm sure a lot of people are putting the emphasis on Friday night's game (at Mt. Juliet)," Lady Wildcat coach Bud Brandon said. "But we're focusing on Gallatin. We lost a tough district game Friday night to Smyrna. We're still trying to find our identity somewhat...We have a lot of room for improvement."
Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer, whose Lady Bears host Central at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a meeting of the last two Class AAA state champions, downplayed the importance of the polls.
"It's about like these bowl games," Fryer said while watching the BCS championship game Monday night. "None of it means anything until you get to the bowl.
"It's so early in the season. There's a lot of basketball left. Barring injuries, who knows how it's going to turn out."
Shelbyville (17-2), which lost at Central last month, is No. 1 with 108 points, followed by Cleveland (16-2) with 106. Both picked up two first-place votes.
Riverdale (18-2), which beat Central in overtime in a TSSAA Hall of Champions game in November, which the Lady Wildcats aren't counting against their record, is fifth with 72 points. Greeneville (15-3), which Central beat last month in the Ladies Bank Classic in East Tennessee, is sixth. No. 9 Antioch (17-2) and No. 13 Bradley Central also have losses to the Lady Wildcats.
Central's other loss came to Knoxville Webb, ranked No. 2 in the Division II poll.
"Anytime you're in the top 10 of anything, you have to bring your A-game, especially in our district," Brandon said, noting his Lady Wildcats were almost upset in the first round of the district tournament by Gallatin last year, which would have derailed their championship run as soon as it began. "When you have as good a coaches as we have in our district and throughout the state, anything can happen.
Webb School, of Bell Buckle, is No. 9 in the D-II poll with a 13-2 record despite a loss last Saturday to Mt. Juliet Christian.
Friendship Christian is 11th in the Class A boy's poll with 24 points, three behind co-No. 10s Grace Baptist and Jackson County.
"I don't care," Commander coach Matt Bradshaw said upon learning of the poll. "I've been in the poll for three years and it's never turned out good in the end. Show me the one in the end.
"So this year, I don't care."
Friendship (9-3) will host Watertown tonight at the Bay Family Sportsplex.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.