Borthick: Putting Blackman's win in perspective

Borthick: Putting Blackman's win in perspective


Borthick: Putting Blackman's win in perspective



An era came to a close in Murphy Center on Saturday afternoon as the final seconds ticked off the clock during the TSSAA Class AAA title game.

Blackman’s come-from-behind 60-58 win against Oak Ridge ended a span of nearly five decades without a boys basketball champion from Rutherford County.

Not since 1965 (Murfreesboro Central) had a team from Rutherford County hoisted a gold ball on the hardwood. That’s 49 years for those not gifted in math like me. Heck, it had even been 30 years (Oakland, 1984) since a boys team from the county had even played for a AAA state title.

And to top it all off, it’s the first-ever boys basketball championship won by a Rutherford County school in Rutherford County. Central’s championship was in Memphis.

“They host the tournament in our city,” senior Andrew Rogan said. “I don’t see why we shouldn’t win it.”

Forty-nine years ago, my father was 8. Forty-nine years ago, a stamp cost 5 cents and Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. Forty-nine years ago, Murphy Center hadn’t even been built yet.

Have you wrapped your head around the historical significance of the Blackman’s accomplishment yet?

In a state where the best boys basketball is typically played in Memphis or Nashville or anywhere not named Murfreesboro, Blackman managed to do the impossible in its third straight state tournament appearance.

Cliches be darned, the third time was the charm for the Blaze.

“I can’t even really try to put that into words right now,” Blackman senior Reid Pierce said. “I mean to really think how long that’s been is a little overwhelming.”

And breaking through Rutherford County’s imaginary boys basketball barrier wasn’t the only long-time record to fall on Saturday.

With the Lady Blaze’s girls state championship from just eight days ago, Blackman became the first school in 30 years to sweep the girls and boys AAA state title’s in the same season.

Not since Brainerd in 1984 – the only other AAA school to accomplish the feat – has one student body hoisted the gold ball in both divisions of AAA.

“We’re both really competitive,” Rogan said about the boys and girls teams at Blackman. “We didn’t want to let (the girls) down after what they did last week. We saw what they were able to accomplish and we wanted to do the same.”

And if I hadn’t given you enough history already, here’s one last tidbit. The school’s two championships in the last eight days are the first two TSSAA-sanctioned team state titles in school history.

Eleven short days ago, Blackman – as a school – had never even won a game at the state tournament (0-4). Less than two weeks later it has two gold balls under one roof as an entire state looks on green with envy.

Saturday’s victory was a landmark moment for a school, a team, a program and a county that was basically 50 years in the making.

And it wasn’t a bad week for Rutherford County’s blue-and-orange-clad community either.

Will Borthick covers MTSU, prep and recreational sports for The Daily News Journal. Contact him at Follow him in Twitter @willborthick.


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