Three times as nice…

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2022

There are not too many Sports Editors in the state of Tennessee that can say they have three teams from their county participating in the 2022 BlueCross Basketball Championships but I can proudly puff out my chest and say that I am one who is blessed to have this scenario.
At the penning of this piece, I sit in my room in Murfreesboro anxiously awaiting the opportunity to go to the Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in the morning and cover the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones as they tangle with the Lady Bees of Upperman for the opportunity to advance to Friday’s semifinals.
On Thursday, I will once again return to the same venue to report on the Cloudland Lady Highlanders who will be squaring off with Wayne Co. also for a spot in Friday’s semifinals.
And finally next week I will make a return trip to Murfreesboro to cover the Hampton Bulldog boy’s team as they will have their shot at a gold ball when they open the Class 1-A Championship against West Carroll.
I was asked before leaving Elizabethton today if I thought our teams had a chance. My response was of course absolutely yes. All three teams have the opportunity they have worked hard for all season.
One only has to go back to 2004 when little Unaka High School sent a team to the state championship and that team became the darlings of the tournament as they pulled off improbable wins to return back to Stoney Creek with a gold ball in tow and the title of State Champs.
The Elizabethton girls have also claimed a gold ball under Len Dugger previously.
So, what does it take to win a state title?
Here are my keys, and only my keys, to the game if our schools are to win a title.
First and foremost they have to enter the contest with the same faith that David had when he went up against Goliath of his day. There has to be sincere boldness and trust in each of your teammates that they will help cover any slight mistake that you might make. There cannot be fear, there cannot be arrogance, and there has to be a belief that you can accomplish the task before you. You must have complete trust in your coaches and your teammates.
Secondly, if there appears even the slightest sign of adversity, one has to keep their head on and remember nothing is over until the final second ticks off the clock. Each team has gone into battle since last summer and they have developed an identity and they must remain true to that identity.
And lastly, somewhere during the course of the game, there has to be a good bounce that falls into the net, a hustle turnover that turns the tide of momentum, and no matter what keep taking the battle to the opponent.
Again, these are my key takeaways and others may have different viewpoints but I have seen all these teams during the season and I had actually predicted before the season that these three teams had the right composition if the chemistry came together to be at this stage of the season – and it did.
Now, all that is left for all three is to go out on the court at the Murphy Center and finish what they started at their first summer camp of the season.
Win or lose, they will always be our champions but that gold ball would sure be pretty sitting in the trophy case at each school.
So I leave you with the best of wishes for the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones, Cloudland Lady Highlanders, and Hampton Bulldogs. Carter County is so very proud of you now go out there and in those immortal words – Git ‘er done!!!

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