It’s been one year since COVID-19 abruptly stopped the TSSAA Division I BlueCross Girls Basketball Championships and the rest of the sporting world.
Lebanon, Loretto, Macon County and Maplewood are each back for another shot at a gold ball. Several new faces are heading to Murfreesboro too.
The action tips off Wednesday at Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center with the Class A and AA quarterfinal rounds. Champions for all three DI classifications will be determined on Saturday.
Here’s everything else you need to know about the tournaments, including breakdowns of all nine qualifiers from Middle Tennessee:
Quarterfinals: Wednesday: Peabody (26-7) vs. Clay County (20-10), 10 a.m.; Cloudland (21-6) vs. Loretto (18-7), 11:30 a.m.; Gibson County (33-1) vs. North Greene (26-7), 2:30 p.m., Clarkrange (27-5) vs. Summertown (27-3), 4 p.m.
Semifinals: Friday: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 10 a.m.; Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 11:30 am.
Championship: Saturday, March 13, 11 a.m.
Quarterfinals: Wednesday: Meigs Co. (21-4) vs. Westview (26-1), 7 p.m.; Grainger (33-3) vs. Maplewood (11-1), 8:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 11: Macon County (23-6) vs. Covington (25-5), 10 a.m., Northview Academy (32-1) vs. Creek Wood (29-5), 11:30 a.m.
Semifinals: Friday: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 2:30 p.m.; Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 4 p.m.
Championship: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Quarterfinals: Thursday: Lebanon (28-4) vs. Bradley Central (27-1), 2:30 p.m.; Hardin Co. (20-2) vs. Bearden (30-1), 4 p.m.; Collierville/Arlington vs. Blackman (21-3), 7 p.m.; Page (22-7) vs. Maryville (26-6), 8:30 p.m.
Semifinals: Friday: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m.; Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 8:30 p.m.
Championship: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Attendance will be limited to 1,000 spectator tickets for each two-game session. After those tickets are evenly distributed to the four participating teams in each session, any leftovers will be made available to the public through the GoFan platform.
All games will be live streamed by the NFHS Network. Championship games will be carried by WUXP MyTV30 in the Nashville area.
Clay County (20-10)
History: (11 appearances, 1 title – 2012)
Players to watch: Katie Arms, Rachel Copass
The Lady Bulldogs overcame four losses to eight-time champion Clarkrange, also a member of the Class A field, to reach the state tournament. Clay County hasn’t been to Murfreesboro since 2012, but the heavy underdog could pull an upset with strong outings from seniors Katie Arms and Rachel Copass.
History: (19 appearances, 1 title – 1958)
Players to watch: Karly Weathers (22.8 PPG), Kensey Weathers (9.4 PPG)
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the Lady Mustangs. After finishing as the runner-up in 2019, Loretto rolled to a 58-33 win over Oneida in last year’s state quarterfinals just hours before the tournament was halted. Miss Basketball finalist Karly Weathers presents problems for opposing defenses at the 3-point line and in transition.
History: (10 appearances, no titles)
Players to watch: Kaley Campbell (10 PPG), Hailey Jones (11.8 PPG), Rylee Long (10 PPG)
Experience is an important factor in March, and the Lady Eagles have it. The senior trio of Kaley Campbell, Hailey Jones and Rylee Long has led Summertown to 18 consecutive wins since late December. But the Lady Eagles face a difficult quarterfinal opponent in Clarkrange (27-5).
Creek Wood (29-5)
History: (3 appearances, no titles)
Players to watch: Brianna Burgess (17.2 PPG), Allie Burgess (11.1 PPG), Laura Nichols (8.6 PPG)
Creek Wood is making its first state appearance since 2014, when future Vanderbilt Commodore Rachel Bell dropped 38 points in a first-round win over Dyersburg. This year’s team is led by Allie, Autumn and Brianna Burgess, who all shoot at least 33 percent from beyond the arc.
Macon County (23-6)
History: (10 appearances, no titles)
Players to watch: Jalynn Gregory (20 PPG), Abby Shoulders (12.1 PPG)
The Lady Tigers are another team looking to make up for last season’s disappointment. Macon County dismantled Maplewood 71-50 before the state tournament was canceled. But thanks to the play of Miss Basketball finalist Jalynn Gregory and Abby Shoulders, the program has earned a 10th crack at the title.
History: (5 appearances, no titles)
Players to watch: LaRose Morrow, Renata Watson
The Lady Panthers played a condensed season after Metro Nashville Public Schools delayed the start of basketball until early February. That didn’t seem to bother Maplewood, which is making its second straight state tournament appearance following a 40-year drought from 1980 to 2020.
History: (5 appearances, 2 titles – 2014, 2015)
Players to watch: Iyana Moore (16.5 PPG), Victoria Page (9.1 PPG)
The Lady Blaze have won 17 straight games behind Vanderbilt signee Iyana Moore. Longtime Oakland coach Jennifer Grandstaff came out of retirement in October to lead Blackman to its first state bid since earning back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
History: (13 appearances, 1 title – 1971)
Players to watch: Addie Porter (15.6 PPG), Terri Reynolds (12.3 PPG)
The Devilettes are enjoying their best three-year stretch since the early 1980s. Lebanon will make its third straight state appearance this week after rolling through District 9-AAA and Region 5-AAA. Senior point guard Addie Porter is averaging 15.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
History: (1 appearance, no titles)
Players to watch: Mckenzie Cochran (16.5 PPG), Lili Wilken (14.8 PPG)
The Lady Patriots finally broke through to the state tournament with a 63-53 sectional win over Clarksville Northwest. Page doesn’t have any seniors on its roster, so junior guards Mckenzie Cochran and Lili Wilken have assumed the primary leadership roles.