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Brandon Miller (right)

After decisive wins in the Class 2A and 4A sectional rounds, respectively, East Nashville and Cane Ridge enter the 2022 TSSAA state tournament as favorites to bring home a gold ball.

Cane Ridge (25-6) defeated Walker Valley 65-38 in the 4A East Region sectional to advance to the state tournament for the second consecutive year and the second time in school history.

The Ravens are set to take on Bearden (28-5) in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal matchup, which Cane Ridge won 50-47 en route to the state championship game. They fell just short of a title, losing to 62-43 to Houston.

On a mission to avenge last season’s championship game loss, Cane Ridge has been on a tear leading up to the state tournament, riding a 17-game win streak. Cane Ridge’s average margin of victory this year is 27.7 points. 

The Ravens’ last loss was on Dec. 29 to Christian Brothers of St. Louis, Missouri. In fact, all of their losses have come against out-of-state teams from Missouri, Arkansas, Oregon, Illinois and Kentucky.

Led by the do-it-all small forward Brandon Miller, Cane Ridge has reached new heights. The Class 4A Mr. Basketball finalist and McDonalds All-American leads the team in points (26.2), rebounds (7.9), steals (2.0), and blocks (1.5) per game and is third in assists (2.4).

Miller is currently the No. 1-ranked recruit in Tennessee in the Class of 2022, and he’s the third-best small forward and 11th-best player overall in the country, according to 247Sports composite rankings. He committed to Alabama in November. 

Miller isn’t just a one-man show, however. Fellow senior Ryan Oliver is his main running mate, ranking second on the team with 15.8 points per game and leading the team in assists (3.9) while adding 6.7 rebounds per contest.

Cane Ridge and Bearden will face off at 4:30 p.m. on March 16. 

East Nashville (26-3) also enters the state tournament on quite the hot streak as well. After disposing of Jackson County 69-32 the 2A East Region sectional, the Eagles have now won 20 of their last 21 games, winning 18 of them by double digits.

Next up for East Nashville will be a meeting with Summertown (21-3) on March 15 at 10 a.m. It’s the school’s seventh state tournament appearance and third in the last four seasons. They have twice finished as the state runner-up (2011, 2014), but have yet to take home a title.

Led by Class 2A Mr. Basketball finalist Jarrod Taylor and a trio of juniors in Jaylen Jones, Jordan Crawford, and Raz Armstrong, East Nashville thrives on creating matchup problems.

Taylor, a senior, made a huge leap this season, leading the team in scoring with 19.5 points per game while adding 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 3.1 steals per contest.

Jones does a little bit of everything as the team’s point guard, averaging 15.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and team-highs with 8.9 assists and 3.7 steals. He is currently ranked No. 3 in Tennessee in the class of 2023 and he’s the No. 25-ranked point guard.

Crawford scores 11.8 points per game and swipes 2.8 steals per outing, while Armstrong nearly averages a double-double with 8.4 points and a team-best 9.4 rebounds.