Franklin faces an enormous rebuilding season after losing all five of its starters from last year’s 28-4 Class AAA Sectional team.
“Well, that’s why you have a JV program just like a ninth-grade program,” Admirals coach Jason Tigert said. “We try to develop everybody throughout their time at Franklin High School. We lost huge production, but these guys have been waiting patiently.”
The inexperienced Admirals still have high expectations.
“I think it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still trying to go district back-to-back champions and trying to win region and make a state run,” Franklin guard Noah Magee said.
Despite the huge turnover, the Admirals beat Page 68-59 in a season opener Tuesday night.
Jack Medalie, a 6-foot-5, junior guard, led the way with 27 points and 14 rebounds.
“There’s no doubt he’s going to be an impact player,” Tigert said. “He’s a big body that can score the basketball. We’re really trying to challenge Jack not only to view himself as a scorer, but how can he help in other ways.”
Franklin made 10 shots from 3-point range in the win over the Patriots.
“The 3 ball is always going to be a big part of our offense at Franklin,” Tigert said. “We feel confident in positions 1 through 5, being able to knock that thing down.”
Division I basketball switched to a four-classification format this season after 45 years with three classes.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” Admirals girls coach Jay Johnson said. “It’s definitely a different look for us. We’re used to seeing Summit, Page, Ravenwood twice a year.”
Franklin is in a new 4A district with Brentwood, Centennial, Hillsboro and Overton.
The Lady Admirals will also rely on the 3-pointer due to the graduation of power forward Kate O’Neil.
“We’re basically starting four guards,” Johnson said.
Senior Wren Doran posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s 58-33 win over West Creek.
First-year girls coach Bruce Hamilton inherits a team that suffered through a 2-14 season last year.
“We have some learning to do, hopefully learn how to win close games, and just continue to get better,” said Hamilton, whose team got off to a good start with a 47-32 win over Northeast on Tuesday.
The Lady Cougars have seven seniors on their roster.
“I love how he’s come in here with fresh eyes,” Centennial guard Harper Kline said. “He’s the funniest coach I’ve ever had. It’s been really great.”
Life is slowly getting back to normal with some of the COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed.
“Last night we played at Clarksville Northeast and it was great to have the fans tight again,” said Centennial boys coach Jeremy Moore, whose team won its opener 63-53. “Didn’t have to have that 6 feet of space where you couldn’t talk to every kid. After the hard-fought game, we were able to shake hands with the other team.”
Moore is hoping for big crowds at Centennial this season.
Centennial’s boys have six seniors, five juniors and four sophomores.
“We think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good and super competitive,” Moore said.
Page’s girls hope to return to the state tournament after going to the quarterfinals last year, finishing 20-7.
The Lady Patriots return most of the players from that team.
“I was talking with my dad earlier today and he told me a really good quote,” Page senior Lili Wilken said. “He said the past doesn’t guarantee anything. We did well in the past, but we still have to work hard, still have to put the time in. But I hope we will be able to do it again.”
McKenzie Cochran scored 19 points, leading four Lady Patriots in double figures in Page’s 69-40 win over Harpeth Hall on Tuesday.
Page’s boys return five seniors after going 17-10 last year.
“We do have five seniors, but in some aspects we do have some inexperience,” first-year boys coach Jared Street, formerly with BGA, said.
Raptors boys coach Patrick Whitlock enters his 16th season after going 18-10 last year.
“The biggest change I’ve seen is how competitive Williamson County basketball has gotten over the last 10, 12 years,” Whitlock said. “When I first got here, we had this long state tournament drought, particularly on the boys side. The last couple of years, just with the growth of the area, it’s been a regular occurrence for us to have two teams in the state tournament.”
Ravenwood returns four starters. Guard DJ Starr transferred in from Normal, Ill.
“DJ is a dynamic player, a kid that can score the basketball,” Whitlock said.
Elizabeth Flynn and Reghan Grimes will lead the way for the Lady Raptors, who went 13-10 last season. Grimes recently committed to play at Tennessee Tech.
Sophomore Grayson Collins scored 24 points, giving coach Troy Bond a 76-39 win over McGavock in his debut with the Bruins Tuesday.
“Grayson did a great job in the preseason work: weight room, conditioning,” Bond said. “He puts a lot of time in his shooting. He’s one of those warriors on the floor that you love to have.”
Marcel Williams also got a win in his first game as head coach as Sydney Ryan scored 28 points to lead Brentwood to a 56-13 rout of McGavock.
Independence has two new coaches in Tony Hill (girls) and Mark Wilkins (boys).
The Lady Eagles went 3-21 last year.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces we’re trying to blend in, kids that haven’t been out before and also freshmen,” Hill said. “We’re just trying to get a process in place for winning. I just really feel good about the direction we’re going.”
Hill coached Centennial to its first winning season in 2016 (18-8) and set a school record for wins (19) the following year.
Independence got off to an encouraging start with a 73-38 rout of Friendship Christian on Tuesday.
The boys also won their opener 68-47 over FCA.
“We’ve got a really good mix of old guys and some new faces as well,” Wilkins said. “We’re just trying to figure out our identity still, defensively and offensively, but we have the talent. It’s there.”
Summit senior Claudette Runk has made it to the state tournament in softball and golf.
“We’re going to try to make a run and possibly get three,” said Summit coach John Wild, whose team went 17-10 last year. “She exemplifies everything we stand for in our program.”
Runk, a three-year starter in basketball, is aiming for her third different state tournament before she graduates.
“That’s always been a huge goal for me because I told my parents last year after we had gone to state for softball and I went for golf, ‘Next year, my goal is to make it to state in every sport,’ ” Runk said. “That would be formidable.”
Boys coach Jim Fey is dealing with a lot of uncertainty with several of his players on the football team in the playoffs.
“I can’t say who I’ll get from football,” Fey said. “I have no idea. I do not talk to football players about basketball during football season.”
Nolensville, which has six seniors, beat Shelbyville 61-50 in its boys opener Tuesday.
“We don’t have a lot of experience,” Knights coach Todd Babington said. “The biggest takeaway from the first game is we’re very young.”
The Lady Knights, who went 17-7 last year, lost their opener to Shelbyville 52-37 Tuesday.
“We’re kind of a younger bunch this year with three seniors and two juniors, and we’ll play some freshmen,” Nolensville coach Chris Ladd said.
Fairview’s girls are coming off a 20-9 season that ended in the Region 6-AA semifinals.
“Our expectations are pretty much the same as we always have: go try to make the state tournament,” Fairview coach Wayne McGowan said. “We switched district this year so it will be kind of a learning process.”
The Lady Yellowjackets return three starters.
Fairview’s boys, 15-11 a year ago, lost to Santa Fe 63-57 in the opener.
“We did not graduate anyone who played significant minutes, so we’re bringing everyone back,” Fairview coach Trey McCoy said. “Adding a couple young guys to the mix. We’re probably eight-, nine-, 10-deep, which is a good problem to have.”