|OC gals’ inclusion in 1st AP list no shock
|Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:02 pm
|A fixture in past state basketball rankings, it’s no surprise the Obion County Central girls are listed among the Top 10 in the first Associated Press prep poll of the season.
The Lady Rebels, winners of 18 of 21 games and the only unbeaten team among entries in always-rugged District 13AA, debuted at No. 5 in the inaugural Class 2A listing released Monday afternoon.
Central received 77 points in statewide balloting of sports writers and broadcasters. The county locals trailed top-ranked Elizabethton, McMinn Central, Cannon County and Liberty to round out the Top 5.
It marks the fifth straight season in which the Obion Central girls have been ranked at some point during the season.
The tradition-rich OC girls’ program, which has been ranked No. 1 at some point during each of the last two seasons, needs just two more victories to record a ninth consecutive 20-win campaign.
In their illustrious history, the Lady Rebels have won 20 or more games in a season a remarkable 33 times in the 49-year annals of girls’ hoops at OCCHS, earning 13 trips to the state tournament in the process.
Obion Central’s all-time girls’ record currently stands at 1,076-360, a noteworthy winning percentage of .750 — or three out of every four games.
The Lady Rebels’ losses this season have all come vs. high-caliber competition, each by five points or fewer.
Central began the season with a narrow 62-60 setback vs. private-school entry St. Benedict (15-1) in a Hall of Champions game before running off 14 consecutive wins.
St. Benedict was listed at No. 5 in Division II in the first poll.
OC then fell in the championship games of the Lady Bomber Classic at Ballard County (Ky.) to D’burg, 72-67, and vs. Poplar Bluff (Mo.) in the finals of the Dyersburg Regional Hospital Christmas Tournament, 71-66.
The Rebel girls can avenge one of those setbacks when they host Dyersburg, 15-3 and ranked No. 8, tonight at Troy.
Rural West Tennessee was also represented in the first rankings by a handful of other girls’ and boys’ teams.
The Lake County girls (16-3), who routed Union City by 21 points this past week, were tied with Moore County for the top spot in Class 1A. Scotts Hill (5) and Madison Academic (10) are also in the Top 10.
Missing from the double-A poll is two-time reigning state champion Gibson County, which is 10-4 entering this week’s play.
On the boys’ side, 18-1 Dyer County — whose only setback was a one-point decision vs. Bartlett that was not originally counted by head coach Derek McCord — is No. 2 behind Melrose in Class 3A.
In 2A, Liberty (13-4), despite losing its last game vs. defending state champion Bolivar in a rematch of last season’s title tilt, was listed at No. 1. Westview, which has lost four straight since beginning the year with 13 straight wins, is ninth. Chester County (13-1) is 10th.
Humboldt (11-3) ranks only behind Clarksville Academy in Class A, with unbeaten Middleton (12-0) third and Lake County (9-8) coming in at No. 7.
A handful of teams had their official won/lost records altered in the week leading up to the first rankings when TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress gave some clarification to a wide-spread notion that Hall of Champions games did not necessarily count — unless coaches wanted them to.
“The Hall of Champions games are considered regular season games that are to count on the won/lost record of all teams,” Childress told The Messenger last week. “They must be approved as part of the schedule beforehand. The games were essentially created as an opportunity for coaches to schedule two extra games.
“If they are wins, they should be counted as such, and if they are losses, they should be counted as such.”
Some coaches had made a practice of counting the results as victories when their respective teams won, but chose not to count the games if they lost.
Initially, when the concept began, the games were essentially a fund raiser for the TSSAA to build a Hall of Fame with the majority of the proceeds of two “extra” games allowed to be played at the start of the season going toward that cause.
A complete list of this week’s rankings can be found on page 9.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.