General assessment of the success enjoyed at the 2017 East-West Classic spread quickly around the state and teams were calling East Hamilton girls’ coach Hunter Gremore to get in on the act for the second edition of the event.
“Coaches loved the classic last year and we see that in the teams coming back this year,” Gremore said Wednesday. “The response was very positive and we had Riverdale boys and Southwind girls call us wanting to participate in this year’s classic. The Bolton boys are coming back and bringing the girls’ team with them.”
Girls’ teams competing this year are East Hamilton, Bolton, Arlington, Oak Ridge, Southwind, Bradley Central, Houston, Rhea County and Cleveland.
Three of those squads reached the girls’ Class 3A state tournament a year ago and Houston beat Bradley Central and lost to Riverdale in the state championship game. Arlington was ousted by Bearden in the first round.
“We’ve got four Memphis teams this year, which meant we had to add another girls’ team,” Gremore said. “We have Rhea County playing on Friday and Cleveland on Saturday.”
The nine girls’ teams in this year’s classic have a combined 45-19 record. Houston is 8-0, ranked No. 7 and tied with Brighton with the state’s highest-scoring offense of 72.3 points per game. Bradley Central, at 7-1, is ranked No. 5 by a statewide high school website.
The boys’ teams are East Hamilton, Riverdale, Bolton, Oak Ridge, Rhea County, Bradley Central and Arlington. The teams are a combined 25-11 and coach Frank Jones’ Hurricanes lead the pack at 7-1. Riverdale and Oak Ridge are each 6-1 and Bradley Central has won three of four games through Tuesday night’s action. None of the teams are ranked.
“We had Oakhaven last year and replaced them this year with Riverdale and that’s a big-time upgrade,” Gremore said. “A Memphis team dropped out – in fact, we had two or three Memphis teams get in and then drop out – so we added Rhea County.
“This thing is getting a little bigger and that’s really exciting. The girls’ side was easy to line up and we had it done back in March. The boys’ side was a bit of a struggle because a couple teams committed and then dropped out. It’s good when teams call you wanting to get in, and we had to turn away a couple other teams.”
Seven games are scheduled each day and the admission is $8 per day.
“The talent level on both sides is really good and I believe fans will see good games on both days,” Gremore said.
Why a classic and not a tournament?
“This being a classic, the TSSAA rules that each game counts against your schedule,” Gremore said. “In a tournament, teams are guaranteed three games with two counting against their schedule. We really like the classic setup better. And for us, basketball junkies can enjoy both days and the teams, especially the ones from Memphis, they get to play at two different places and they seem to like that.”
Friday At East Hamilton High
Girls – Bolton (4-1) vs. East Hamilton (5-2), 11 a.m.
Boys – Riverdale 6-1)vs. East Hamilton (7-1), 12:30 p.m.
Girls – Arlington (8-1) vs. Oak Ridge (3-1), 2 p.m.
Boys – Bolton (2-2) vs. Oak Ridge (6-1), 3:30 p.m.
Girls – Southwind (4-3) vs. Bradley Central (7-1), 5 p.m.
Boys – Rhea County (1-5) vs. Bradley Central (3-1), 6:30 p.m.
Girls – Houston (8-0) vs. Rhea County (3-5), 8 p.m.
Saturday at Bradley Central High
Girls – Houston vs. East Hamilton, 11 a.m.
Girls – Southwind (4-3) vs. Oak Ridge, 12:30 p.m.
Boys – Bolton vs. Riverdale, 2 p.m.
Girls – Bolton vs. Cleveland (4-5), 3:30 p.m.
Boys – Rhea County vs. East Hamilton, 5 p.m.
Girls – Arlington vs. Bradley Central, 6:30 p.m.
Boys – Oak Ridge vs. Bradley Central, 8 p.m.
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)