MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Of the 16 teams competing in the TSSAA boys and girls Div. II state basketball tournaments this weekend, four hail from Memphis.
"I feel like the total emotions for all of us are that we're excited," Hutchison senior Kaia Barnett said. "We want it. We're hungry.
Hutchison represents the lone girl's squad headed to Cookeville. Christian Brothers boys basketball plays in the Class AA semifinals Friday. ECS and Tipton-Rosemark make up half of the Class A final four.
A championship for the Rebels would not only mark the program's first state title, but also a particular special moment for South Alabama commit Alex Anderson and his head coach, and father, Cedric.
"It would mean a great deal to me as his dad to know I was here with him every step of the way," Cedric said. "I held his hand early, I think he's pulling me along now. We've been holding hands, but he's been doing the pulling."
The Purple Wave come in as a Top 20 nationally ranked squad, and the top team in Tennessee. The Brothers are seeking their first gold ball since 1987.
"We just have to come out there, do what we've been doing, but crank it up a notch," CBHS junior Chandler Jackson said.
"It will be a heck of an accomplishment to win it because the teams are so good. And we certainly hope we do," CBHS head coach Bubba Luckett said. "I think this year is going to be a great memory for these guys, win it or not."
The senior-heavy Hutchison is led by a plethora of talented seniors. The Sting reached State in 2019. This time, they're determined to finish the job.
"It would literally mean like everything to me," Barnett said. "Coming in as an eighth grader to being a senior now, it's just different. Just winning this, it would just mean the world."
Semifinal action takes place Thursday and Friday. Championship games begin Saturday.