Thursday, February 27, 2014

Breaking Down the Division 2 State Tournaments

from Commercial Appeal

Northpoint girls

First game: Thursday at 1:15 p.m. against University School of Nashville.
Records: Northpoint 29-3; USN 27-4
Coach: Barry Gray
Players to watch: Kimberlee Keltner (5-8, senior); Ashtyn Baker (5-4 freshman); Karlie Hughes (5-6 junior).
What to expect: The Trojans are in the big dance for the second year in a row. Their season came to an end in the semifinals and they'll be looking to take things further this time around, behind Keltner -- who coach Gray called "a warrior" after their substate victory against Fayette Academy -- and the talented Baker, who saw extensive playing time as an eighth-grader last year. Northpoint isn't as deep this year but has done well to make the tournament from a very competitive West region. They've played in lots of big games this year and won't fade under the bright lights this weekend.
Fun fact: Gray is 54-11 in two seasons at Northpoint (83 percent).

Briarcrest girls

First game: Friday at 1:15 p.m. against Brentwood Academy
Records: Briarcrest 28-0; Brentwood Academy 21-5
Coach: Lee Smith
Players to watch: Jasmine Cincore (5-8 senior); Elise Holden (5-8 junior); Brynn Holden (5-8 junior).
What to expect: The Saints have turned back all challengers and are just two victories from an undefeated campaign. They entered the tournament in similar circumstances last year, carrying a 26-1 record into their semifinal against Brentwood. In that one, Briarcrest missed all 16 of their first-half shots, shot just 7.1 percent for the entire game, and lost decisively. That won't happen this time around. Briarcrest is deeper, can shoot and defend and has a great leader in Cincore, who should win her second straight Miss Basketball award on Saturday. This is a confident bunch with tremendous chemistry and anything less than a championship will be a big disappointment.
Fun fact: Cincore, last year's Miss Basketball in D2-AA, was a Central High teammate of last year's Miss Basketball in AAA, current Baylor standout Nina Davis.

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