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Teams adjust to new tourney schedule
Feb 16, 2007 12:00 am
The bracket format of the high school basketball tournaments are unchanged from previous years, but a scheduling change will drag the events over longer periods of time.
In past years, the regular season would be in the midst of its final week. But this year, most regular seasons ended last week with a few games played Monday, including Wilson Central at Lebanon. LHS' double header at Mt. Juliet, which had ended the regular season in recent years, was moved up to a Saturday earlier this month.
The second season for some local teams began and, and for a few of those, ended Tuesday. Watertown's girls escaped a last-ditch shot and upset bid by Mt. Juliet Christian 25-24 while Friendship Christian's saw a seemingly-comfortable lead vanish in the fourth quarter of a 60-51 upset loss to visiting Trousdale County in District 8-A.
Wilson County's two Class AAA districts begin tournament play tonight with 7 p.m. first-round games at home sites with the boys to follow suit Friday. District 8-A's boys will play elimination round games at satellite sites at 6:30 p.m. tonight with the winners advancing to the semifinals at Gordonsville on Saturday.
The change in scheduling is due to a new TSSAA directive which forbids more than two games from being played at a site on a school night. Officials said this is to prevent a game from tipping off as late as 9 p.m. with student-athletes who have to be in class early the next morning.
Districts and regions can play four games at a site on a weekend day, and Districts 7-AAA and 9-AAA will do just that at Riverdale and Beech, respectively. District 8-A is playing its girls semifinals on Friday and the boys Saturday at Gordonsville.
All three districts will play girls consolations and finals next Monday with the boys wrapping up Tuesday.
Region tournament play will follow a similar schedule next week
Should weather force postponement of tournament action, the schedule can be doubled up in an effort to catch up.
Another change, which has little to do with the TSSAA, is the site for the 8-A tournament. The core schools in this district [including Watertown, Friendship, Trousdale and Gordonsville], who were in 6-A until a decade ago, had held their tournament at Watertown every year since its gym opened in 1983 except for '93, when it was played at Cumberland's brand-new Dallas Floyd Center. But officials have elected to move the tournament around to alternating sites.
Ironically, Watertown will host the Region 4-A semifinals and finals. District 7-A is scheduled to host the region this year. But its preferred site at Upperman is being used for the Region 4-AA tournament, prompting those officials to ask WHS principal Rick Martin to use the Purple Tiger gym.
And the region tournament will also use satellite sites for the first round this year, a format Lebanon's Region 4-AAA has used for a few years already. The two district finalists will host first-round games before the semifinals and finals are moved to Gordonsville, Siegel [4-AAA] and Beech [5-AAA]. That makes the district semifinals even more important than in past years since a first-round region home game is on the line.
With the schedule being spread out, teams shouldn't have to play three straight days until the State Tournament and rarely on two consecutive days, which would seem to give teams with thinner benches a break.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.