Sixth-ranked Siegel and seventh-ranked Dyer County share a common bond today
Neither squad has ever reached a boys basketball state championship game.
That streak will end today for one of the two Class AAA programs.
The two tip off at 11:45 a.m. at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center in the TSSAA BlueCross Boys Basketball State Championships. Dyer County, which reached its fifth state tournament this season, has advanced to the semifinals four times. Siegel, which is playing in its sixth state tournament in 10 years, is playing in its fourth semifinal.
“I can guarantee you for one of us it will be a first,” Siegel coach Ben Dotson said. “It’s a sure bet it will be a first for somebody.
“We’d love to be playing somebody on Saturday. Siegel has never been there. I’ve never been there as a head coach or assistant. Our goal was to not just make it to Murphy Center this year. It was to win a gold ball and get a ring.”
Dyer County (30-3) is led by Tennessee signee Robert Hubbs III, a Mr. Basketball finalist. He struggled against Hillsboro in the Choctaws’ quarterfinal win, finishing with 11 points.
“It was pretty much a chess match, more so than we wanted it to be,” said Dyer County coach Derek McCord after the win over the Burros. “Our preferred pace and tempo is fast. Sometimes when you get in foul trouble and shots aren’t falling that typically fall, you can’t go toe-to-toe. You have to dance around. Those shots will fall.”
Hubbs finished the game 5-of-19 from the field against Hillsboro. But that cold of a shooting day has been rare for Hubbs. He entered the tournament averaging 25.3 points.
Dotson said he knows Hubbs can be a game changer.
“He’s a five-star player,” Dotson said. “He’s a special player that only comes along ever so often. We’ll throw every gimmick defense we can and just lay it on the line.
“Hopefully we can represent Siegel and Murfreesboro well.”
The Siegel (29-5)/Dyer County matchup is the second of two Class AAA semifinal games. Third-ranked Southwind (31-6) plays fifth-ranked Brentwood (30-4) in the first game of the day and tip off at 10 a.m. The two semifinal winners play at 2 p.m. Saturday. Like Siegel and Dyer County, Southwind and Brentwood have never reached the finals. In fact, neither team had made the state tournament prior to this season.
Dotson said the Stars must shoot the ball better against Dyer County than they did in their 53-47 quarterfinal win over Maryville.
Siegel shot 18-of-36 from the free throw line in the win.
“We want to get better every game,” Dotson said. “We are not looking ahead. We just want to compete. Hopefully we’ll make more free throws, and maybe we’ll get a few calls to go our way.”