Boys: This group is still wide open. Chattanooga Arts & Sciences is the defending champ and currently sits at 2-0 in the district, but a 4-8 overall record suggests this isn’t coach Mark Dragoo’s strongest unit. Grace Academy hosts CSAS on Jan. 13, which will provide a better guage on the district favorite. Don’t overlook Boyd-Buchanan, though, which only lost to CSAS by four on Dec. 6. The Bucs’ young core should only be improving.
Girls: Although not quite as open as the boys’ side, this could go in a variety of directions. Silverdale’s Mariah Massengil is the best player in the district, and the Lady Seahawks’ 40-28 win over Grace Academy may be the most impressive performance from any team thus far. If Silverdale is the favorite, Copper Basin isn’t far behind.
Boys: Tyner suffered its first loss to McCallie in the Best of Preps final, but is 5-0 in the district. Below them is a muddled heap that includes Brainerd, Howard and Red Bank. Howard beat Brainerd in overtime on Dec. 2, but neither has emerged as a real threat to this point. East Ridge is another team to look out for. When the Pioneers are hitting threes, they can beat anyone.
Girls: Brainerd is 5-0 in the district, and their 63-51 win over East Hamilton established the Lady Panthers as 6-AA’s top team of the first half. Brainerd, though, isn’t eligible for postseason play after a scuffle with Howard in last year’s district tournament. East Hamilton is probably the second-best of the group, led by talented junior, Tiffany Lewis.
Boys: Led by senior point guard Daniel Cartwright, Sequatchie County is 14-2, with two losses coming against McCallie and East Ridge. Bledsoe County has also impressed early, but the only player that can match Cartwright point-for-point is Notre Dame’s Stedman Ford. The Irish host Sequatchie on Jan. 10.
Girls: Grundy County has crushed district competition in all four of its 7-AA games this season. A 56-43 win over Chattanooga Christian Tuesday night was the closest of those games. The Chargerrettes will likely battle Bledsoe County for second place.
Boys: Cleveland is the only team still undefeated in the district, making the Blue Raiders the default favorite heading into the second half. It’s far from decided, though. The trio of Cleveland, Bradley Central and Ooltewah all finished with matching 9-3 records at the end of last season. Cleveland won based on tiebreakers, and the 2011-12 season could be just as close at the end.
Girls: Bradley Central is right there with GPS, vying for the title of best team in the area. Sophomore Brooke Copeland, at 6-foot-1, has been dominant, and she’ll be joined by 6-2 Rebecca Reuter for the stretch run. Cleveland was impressive in the Best of Preps Tournament, and the young Lady Raiders will look to build on that success heading into the postseason.