Two weeks of historical basketball wins can conclude today with the first TSSAA boys basketball state championship in 49 years by a Rutherford County team.
Seven days after its girls basketball program won the first state championship in a TSSAA-sanctioned sport, Blackman plays Oak Ridge for the boys title.
Blackman defeated third-ranked Brentwood 47-41 on Friday in a Class AAA state semifinal. The win avenged a loss to the Bruins in the Class AAA quarterfinals a year ago.
The eighth-ranked Blaze (27-6) play seventh-ranked Oak Ridge (32-7) at 2 p.m. (TV: WUXP-30) at MTSU’s Murphy Center. Oak Ridge defeated fourth-ranked Arlington 57-56 in its semifinal.
“We are going to try and match (the girls),” said Blackman senior Lukas Hart. “We want to try and win a gold ball too, so we can put it in our locker room.”
Blackman can be the second Class AAA school to sweep the boys and girls state basketball titles in state history with a win today over the Wildcats.
Chattanooga Brainerd swept the Class AAA hoops titles in 1984, beating Oakland 54-50 in the championship.
That also marked the last time a Rutherford County team has played for a boys basketball state championship. A school has swept the boys and girls state titles five times in TSSAA history.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Blackman senior Reid Pierce said on the opportunity to play for a state title. “I’m playing with my friends. I’ve known (Hart) since I was an eighth-grader and known (Jauan Jennings) since I was going into the 10th grade. We’ve built a special relationship. These guys will be my brothers for life. In 20 years, I’m going to be going to their houses and hanging out.
“It’s just an amazing feeling.”
If Blackman wins, it would be the first boys basketball state championship by a Rutherford County school since Central High won the 1965 boys state title. That marks the only boys hoops title in county history.
“Murfreesboro is a great city for athletes in general,” Pierce said. “Murfreesboro is a great place to just play ball.”
Despite the county’s long drought, the Blaze said they refused to consider themselves the underdogs in this tournament. Blackman upset fifth-ranked Memphis Hamilton in the quarterfinals to open its tournament play on Wednesday.
“We’re just as good as they are,” Jennings said. “When it comes down to this point, everybody is good. It doesn’t matter who’s better. It matters who wants it more.
“I feel like this team wanted it more. This sport is about who is going to lay out for the ball, who is going to take that charge. It’s not about that big basket. We go to the locker room all the time and talk about shining moments.
“What is your shining moment?”