MURFREESBORO — A year ago, many didn’t peg Central Magnet and Cannon County as being favorites to come out of District 8-AA — a strong girls basketball league comprised of teams located primarily on the Upper Cumberland.
But Central Magnet and Cannon County both got hot in the postseason, reaching the District 8-AA final as well as the Region 4-AA final. And Cannon County reached the TSSAA Class AA state tournament.
Like last year, neither Central nor Cannon are likely on folks’ radar screens.
Both enter the season with new coaches. Former Central assistant Kyle Turnham has taken over the Central Magnet head coaching position with Steve Willey’s departure to Mississippi to coach high school basketball. And Jonathan Odom has replaced Michael Dodgen (now at White County) at Cannon County.
More so, both teams have lost key personnel.
Central Magnet graduated the best two players to come out of Central in its brief history in guard Claudia Smith and post player Ola Obi. Throw in the graduation of point guard Sophie Fielder and the Lady Tigers have some work to do to get back to a district championship.
Becca Stockton, who started at small forward, has moved to the shooting guard position and will take on Smith’s former role. She was a key addition last year when she moved in from Lancaster Christian.
Kylea Carver will move to the power forward and Catherine Faulk will move to center.
All three had key roles a year ago on a team that won 25 games and reached its first Class AA sectional.
At Cannon County, all-District players Kelli Davis and Autumn King return. Both will be looked on as key personnel with the graduation losses of point guard Erin McReynolds, Kendra Maynard and Kristen Hale.
Both Davis and King averaged double figures. They will have to be even better this season to compete against the likes of Upperman, Livingston Academy and Macon County.
Cannon County finished with 25 wins and lost to state champion M.L. King in the Class AA quartrfinals.