With four team state championship coming back to West Tennessee this past school year, plenty of games have left an impact.
Some of the games that are featured have major implications behind them, others had a dramatic ending, while others made history for West Tennessee.
So now we take a moment to look back at the top 15 high school games from this past year:
1Middleton girls’ basketball vs. Clarkrange (Class A state championship) — So much was on the line for this one — an undefeated season and a first-ever state championship to name two.
Clarkrange was a bigger team with multiple state championships in the program’s history.
But the Lady Tigers proved that speed and determination could carry a team.
Clarkrange took the lead early, but Middleton won each of the final four quarters to pull out the 62-50 win over the Lady Buffaloes.
Dakedra Mason led Middleton with 22 points, while Chelsey Perry added 14 points.
The lead changed 11 times with seven ties along the way.
2Lexington softball vs. Chattanooga Central (For spot in Class AA state title game) — After losing the opening game of the Class AA state softball tournament, the Lady Tigers had an uphill climb to get a chance to claim the state title.
After fighting into the final three of the tournament, Lexington had to beat Chattanooga Central to get a second shot at Greeneville.
The Lady Tigers were down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
But Lexington got two runners on with one out, and sophomore Samantha McDaniel followed with a two-RBI walk-off triple to send the Lady Tigers back to the championship game with a 3-2 win.
3Haywood boys’ basketball vs. Fulton (Class AA state championship) — The Tomcats won their first-ever state championship with a 47-33 win over perennial powerhouse Fulton.
The game was of typical Haywood style with a reliance on defense. The Tomcats shut down Fulton for the first three quarters for a total of 20 points in 24 minutes of play.
Fulton shot 24.6 percent from the field.
On the offensive end, Haywood took high-percentage shots, shooting 52.8 percent from the field, and Jordon Varnado had his third double-double of the tournament with 19 points and 16 rebounds to be named the tournament MVP.
4TCA volleyball vs. Goodpasture (Class A state tournament) — Success on the state tournament level has been limited in volleyball with two teams from West Tennessee finishing in the top four of the state.
This year’s TCA team was different. Picking up two wins to open the tournament was a huge accomplishment, but the Lady Lions now had to face the defending Class A state champion Goodpasture.
In many past years, it would have been a three-set blowout, but TCA showed how far West Tennessee volleyball has come.
The Lady Lions took Goodpasture to five sets before falling – 30-28, 23-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13.
Clare Taylor cemented herself as one of the top players in Class A with a strong attack.
The two teams met again the following day for the state championship with Goodpasture winning in three close sets.
5Middleton girls’ basketball vs. South Greene (Class A state semifinals) — After an opening win in the Class A state tournament, the Lady Tigers had a much tougher matchup against South Greene.
South Greene got to this point by hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer of its quarterfinal game.
Middleton had a little 3-point magic of its own for this one.
After a missed free throw that could have tied the game with 20 seconds to play, freshman Sequoya Warren grabbed the offensive rebound and passed the ball to senior Averyale Joy for a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left for a two-point lead.
Middleton fouled with one second left on the clock, but South Greene missed the second free throw to give Middleton the 59-58 win.
6Haywood boys’ basketball vs. Carter (Class AA state quarterfinals) — The Tomcats got their toughest game of the state tournament in the quarterfinals. Carter was quick and had the ability to match Haywood player for player.
The game had 10 lead changes and seven ties.
Carter took a 69-67 lead with 50 seconds remaining, but Haywood scored seven unanswered points in the final 39 seconds to get the win.
The rally was started by a 3-pointer from Detarion Boyd to take the lead back, and Varnado put down an emphatic dunk at the buzzer to finish off the win. Varnado led the way with 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Dedric Boyd scored 20 points.
7Haywood boys’ basketball vs. South Side (Class AA sectional) — The game that many West Tennessee fans had been wanting to see for the last two seasons finally came together. With Haywood’s victory in the Region 8-AA championship and South Side’s runner-up finish in Region 7-AA, the two were set to meet in sectionals.
The game sold out quickly, and the gym was packed an hour and a half before the start of the game.
The atmosphere was electric at the start of the game, and the early parts of the game lived up to the hype.
Terrikous Smith scored 16 points early to keep South Side in the game, but Haywood pulled away in the second half for a 65-47 victory.
8Trenton Peabody football vs Marion County (Class 2A state championship) — For many West Tennessee teams, the right to play in Cookeville has been the end of the season prize.
But Peabody wasn’t satisfied with that as it won the Class 2A state championship with a 34-7 victory over Marion County.
Peabody quarterback Kendrick Malone put on an offensive display throughout the game, and he scored the first three touchdowns on runs of 34, 52 and two yards. He finished with 25 rushes for 180 yards and four touchdowns.
9Trenton Peabody baseball vs. Jackson Christian (Class A sectional) — The last time that Trenton Peabody made a state tournament was in 1929, and at that time the TSSAA was not around.
For the Golden Tide to make its first trip to a TSSAA state tournament, they had to go through the defending Class A state champions Jackson Christian.
After falling behind early, Peabody scored two in the fourth inning before exploding for six runs in the fifth inning for the 8-2 victory.
Matthew Pickard allowed two runs on eight hits, while striking out six and walking one to pick up the win on the mound. He also scored twice.
10South Side boys’ basketball vs. Fayette-Ware (Region 7-AA semifinal) — The defending Class AA state champions were one win away from a return trip to sectionals – something few thought the Hawks could do this season.
After a missed shot that went out of bounds with under 20 seconds to play, South Side was in a tough situation.
But that is when you rely on senior leadership. Terrikous Smith stole the in-bounds pass and hit a jumper with nine seconds remaining for the 66-65 lead.
Fayette-Ware missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send South Side back to the Region 7-AA championship game.
11Trenton Peabody football vs. TCA (Class 2A second round) — The Trenton Peabody-Trinity Christian Academy game in the 2013 playoffs was one of the top games of the postseason, and the rematch in 2014 didn’t disappoint.
The two met in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
In a game that saw 79 points scored, defensive plays in the closing minutes made the difference as Peabody defeated Trinity Christian Academy 42-37.
Peabody quarterback Kendrick Malone rushed 39 times for 330 yards to give the Golden Tide a definite advantage in the time of possession category. His teammate Brandon Johnson rushed for three touchdowns and 109 yards on 19 carries.
12Trenton Peabody football vs. Adamsville (Class 2A semifinals) — Two weeks after beating TCA in the second round, the Golden Tide had to beat a second District 15-A team to reach the Class 2A state championship game.
Adamsville is experienced playing in the state semifinals, and the Cardinals took an 18-point lead early in the third quarter.
Peabody got back in the game by the end of the third quarter, and the fourth quarter went back-and-forth with each team holding the lead twice.
But Xavier Ball returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown to take the lead for good, and Daniel Hodges recovered a fumble on a defensive stop to seal the win.
13Jackson Christian girls’ soccer vs. CAK (Class A-AA quarterfinals) — The girls’ soccer program at Jackson Christian has been building its way to be competitive against not only the best in West Tennessee, but also the best in the state.
After reaching the Class A-AA state tournament this season, the Lady Eagles were going to be tested right out of the gate with a draw against Christian Academy of Knoxville. CAK had a 20-8 record at the state tournament with 12 state tournament appearances.
Senior Effie Ferrell converted a penalty kick with 1:19 remaining in the match for the 2-1 victory to send Jackson Christian to its first-ever win at the state tournament.
Georgia Hopkins had the goal earlier in the match.
14Haywood boys’ basketball vs. CPA (Class AA semifinals) — After opening the Class AA state tournament with a win over Carter, the Tomcats were matched up against the perennial powerhouse Christ Presbyterian Academy.
CPA won consecutive state championships in 2011 and ’12, and the Lions had two high major NCAA level players on the team.
Haywood jumped out to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter, and from there the Tomcats relied on its potent defense to lead them to the championship game.
Jordon Varnado had 24 points and 16 rebounds for his second double-double of the tournament. Kyler Douglas added 12 points.
15Sacred Heart boys’ soccer vs. Webb School of Bell Buckle (Division II-A sub-state) — The Knights made program history by beating Harding Academy in the Division II-A West region quarterfinals.
But here Sacred Heart was one win away from a first-ever berth into the state tournament.
The Knights had to travel to Webb School of Bell Buckle and needed their best effort of the postseason to win.
Sophomore Sidney Bryant scored midway through the first half, and Sacred Heart played well defensively from there to get the win.
Michael Odom, 425-9754