Knoxville Catholic girls spray white grape juice to celebrate their back-to-back Division II-AA state championship on March 2 at Tennessee Tech’s Hooper Eblen Center in Cookeville.

Falcons working to be ready for state

By Steve Williams

Fulton High’s boys basketball team hasn’t been tested in over a month.

In post-season district, region and sectional action, the Falcons breezed through six games by an average winning margin of 45.0 points.

Is that good or bad for Fulton going into the TSSAA state tournament Thursday in Murfreesboro?

Since a 60-58 win at Gatlinburg-Pittman on Feb. 6 and a 58-56 win at Oak Ridge on Feb. 10 – Fulton’s last two regular season games – the best sweat the Falcons have worked up has most likely been at practice this week scrimmaging 4 on 4 in half-court and 5 on 5 in full-court among themselves.

On top of that, Fulton Coach Jody Wright has had his defending Class 3A state champion team, which returns four starters, running wind sprints and working out in the weight room.

The built-in week off while the girls’ state tourney is being played has to be a blessing.

“You lose a little bit of conditioning,” said Wright after Thursday’s practice. “Experience has taught me these practices need to be demanding from a physical standpoint and as far as intensity and conditioning. It’s getting self-ready to play three games in a row.”

Wright said his team didn’t have a game in district and region tournament play that didn’t have a running clock.

“My guys practice at a high level and play at a high level,” said Wright. “Toughness (physical and mental) and fundamentals are very important this time of year.”

The Falcons defeated Tennessee High 71-42 in the sectional.

Fulton (32-2) will go against Fayette-Ware (24-5) in the state quarterfinals Thursday night at 8:45(CST) in Murphy Center at MTSU.


Only two Knox County teams left

Austin-East and Fulton boys are the only teams representing Knox County in Division I state tourney play this year.

Bearden (28-9) was eliminated at Morristown East 54-52 in a Class 4A sectional.

South-Doyle, the Region 3-3A runner-up, was ousted by Upperman High at Baxter 66-46 in Class 3A sectional play. The Cherokees finished with a 19-12 record.

In the girls’ sectionals, Dobyns-Bennett toppled Farragut 54-47 and Sevier County turned back Bearden 69-55.


Mains ‘super proud’ of Lady Irish

“These girls never cease to amaze me,” said Knoxville Catholic Coach Travis Mains, who saw his team defeat Knoxville Webb 53-39 to win the Division II-AA title for the second straight season.

“The power of TEAM is hard to stop. When you have kids that accept roles and step up when their time to contribute is called on, they stepped up every time.

“I am just super proud to be able to be their coach and go on these amazing journeys together. It’s kind of sad that this one has come to an end, but super excited for Caroline Krueger’s and Sydney Mains’ next chapters. They have stamped their legacies and left so many memories for us to enjoy.”


Smith officially named Irish head coach

Knoxville Catholic officially introduced former University of Tennessee shooting guard JaJuan Smith as its boys basketball head coach last week.

Smith had taken over as the new intern head coach during the regular season and his first game was at Catholic against Walker Valley on Jan. 23.



Stevens takes the reins again at A-E

Stanton Stevens is no stranger to Austin-East High football, having guided the Roadrunners to their last state championship in 2001.

The Oak Ridge native was announced as A-E’s new head football coach Thursday. He replaces Antonio Mays, who resigned in December after coaching A-E four seasons.

Stevens coached six seasons at A-E from 1999-2004 and had a 62-14 won-loss record during that time.



Applications for Halls’ Road to Fame available

The 2024 Halls High School’s Road to Fame applications are available at State Farm Insurance (Phil Nicholson), Home Federal Bank, Hallsdale Powell Utility and Bel-Air Restaurant.

The applications can be picked up at these locations until May 1.