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Trio of area teams prepare for state basketball quarterfinals

By Nick Dugan,

2023-03-15

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(WJHL) – Three additional teams departed for Murfreesboro and the TSSAA boy’s basketball tournament over the last few days, with a chance to pick up a quarterfinal win on Wednesday.

In Carter County, Hampton High School students, staff and fans sent off the squad on Monday morning. The Bulldogs are back in the state’s final eight for a second-consecutive season as Region 1 runners-up.

Hampton advanced all the way to the state semifinals a season ago, before falling to East Robertson in overtime, 58-56. Head coach Ned Smith and his players know how difficult it is to reach this state tournament stage and are thankful for another shot in Murfreesboro.

“Girls went down and played real well and got in the Final 4 – won a big game down there,” Smith said. “Now we get to go down and play and just do the best we can.”

“We’ve won a lot of games, we’ve improved throughout the season and we get a great opportunity to go play in the state tournament,” senior guard Cadon Buckles said. “It’s the second year in a row – it’s just a big blessing for all of us to get another opportunity to play down there.”

Hampton (26-8) draws Humboldt (19-11) in a Class 1A quarterfinal on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 3:45 p.m. EST.

The Tribe faithful braved the cold temperatures and a few flurries to see Dobyns-Bennett off on Tuesday morning.

The defending state champs finished as Class 4A Region 1 champions this year, after taking home a state championship in 2022. They ran through Coffee County, Bartlett and Bearden to finish with a 33-6 record a season ago.

This year, head coach Chris Poore knows his bunch won’t be sneaking up on anyone, but the program’s goal remains the same.

“You know, I’m just very thankful to go back,” senior guard Brady Stump said. “It’s a great atmosphere – so I’m looking forward to it. Looking forward to going back and trying to get another ring.”

“I feel like as a team we feel like we belong to be here,” senior guard Dante Oliver added. “We feel like we can really do something special – like I said earlier. I feel like as a team we have a lot of confidence.”

The Tribe (23-10) will face a tough Memphis East (25-9) squad in the quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. EST.

The University High Bucs got their in-school sendoff a few days early, on account of spring break this week. The Class 1A Region 1 champions are making their first state tournament appearance since 2019.

The Bucs draw McKenzie (21-5) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Rebels made the trip to Murfreesboro last season, falling in their first game. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. EST.

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