This past season was one to remember for the Montgomery County boys basketball competition.
District 10-AAA basketball might have been the strongest we’ve seen in the last four years. After several consecutive seasons of no 10-AAA teams making it out of the region quarterfinals, even as hosts, we saw two defeat their foes with one squad coming within seconds of advancing all the way to the state tournament.
As usual, the district was competitive all season. After two weeks, multiple squads looked like contenders.
Even in January, there wasn’t necessarily a clear-cut No. 1 team until right before the final few games.
The one Montgomery County school outside of the district, Clarksville Academy, had a solid run. It wasn’t their best season ever, but they have plenty to look back upon fondly.
With the season wrapped up, let’s take a look at the end-of-year power ranking of all eight teams.
1. Northeast Eagles, 25-6
With their third consecutive District 10-AAA championship and a run at a state bid, it became obvious toward the end of the year that this year’s Northeast squad was one to remember. The team wasn’t particularly dominant out of the gate under first-year coach Sam Young, losing two of its first three games, including one defeat against Kenwood. They’d go on a nice run from there, but it wasn’t until January when things began to really take off.
Starting with an 83-34 win over Cheatham County on Jan. 13 and ending with a 44-42 region semifinal win over Station Camp on March 3, the Eagles ripped off a 16-game win streak which included five combined wins over the next two teams on this list. Young’s squad, led by a rock-solid starting five of Ty Jackson, Marcus Averhart, Isaiah Farrior, Jalen Hooks and Josh Alexander, set themselves apart from the rest and would have gone to the state tournament if it weren’t for a once-in-a-lifetime shot from a Hillsboro guard to put the Burros over the top in sectionals.
2. Clarksville Wildcats, 18-10
Though hardly the most consistent team in the county, the Wildcats were arguably the most dangerous. Led by guards JJ Wheat and Jamarco Mimms, CHS was primed to score 70 or more points on any given night, which they did 10 times, including a 93-point outburst on Jan. 17. If it weren’t for a few late-season stumbles, they could have easily walked away with the district’s regular season title.
After two strong wins in the district tournament, the Wildcats ran into the buzzsaw Eagles in the tournament, yet still claimed their runner-up award and a spot in sectionals. They were matched up with powerhouse Beech and weren’t projected to win the game, yet beat the tar off the Buccaneers 71-48 before falling to eventual state qualifier Mt. Juliet. While they didn’t take home any team awards, JJ Wheat won the District 10-AAA MVP as a sophomore.
3. Clarksville Academy Cougars, 18-12
Things didn’t start well for Clarksville Academy. Despite superstar performances from Christian Brothers signee Daniel Loos most nights, the Cougars kicked off their season at just 3-3. But once Harrison Lackey arrived from Brentwood, they were given a defensive boost and another scorer next to Loos. That sparked a six game win streak in January and they took a win from Nashville Christian in the DII-A District 4 quarterfinal game. They lost to Goodpasture in the semifinal but defeated Donelson Christian Academy in the consolation match to earn a spot in the DII-A Middle Region tournament.
They ended up losing to CPA, but it was still a relatively strong season for the Coogs – especially from the perspective of Daniel Loos, one of the best players in program history. The forward averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds per game while surpassing the 2,000-point milestone for his career.
4. Kenwood Knights, 17-14
If these rankings were a regular occurrence during the season, the Knights would have found themselves among the top three – perhaps even top two – regularly. Led by guard James ‘Scooter’ Williams, they were the only team in the district to beat both Clarksville and Northeast and had spurts of dominance along the way, going on multiple win streaks of five or more games. Unfortunately, they were too inconsistent to match up with the best all season.
Around those long win streaks came five different instances of the Knights losing back-to-back games, with two of those cases ending up in three-game skids. They managed to earn the No. 4 seed in the District 10-AAA tournament and advanced comfortably after the first round, but were beaten by double digits in the next three games, with two of them coming by 25 points or more.
The talent was there with Williams, Jaylen Washington and Kevin McIntosh. The Knights will go down as this season’s ultimate “what if?” team.
5. West Creek Coyotes, 10-18
Back on Dec. 19, it was surprising when the Coyotes, who were 4-0 in the district, lost by 20 at home to Clarksville. Looking back, maybe it should not have been so shocking. From that point forward, the Coyotes would only win two more district games and four games total. The fall from grace was staggering: they had started the season 6-2 including winning over District 9-AAA’s Gallatin in the season opener and Summit, who lost by just three points to Mt. Juliet in this year’s sectional.
It’s hard to say what went wrong for West Creek. They had talent, especially in the long scoring machine Kamarie Coffey, but things simply fell apart quickly. With the loss of their top scorer, the Coyotes could be in danger of a rebuild.
6. Northwest Vikings, 9-16
The Vikings would have been at No. 5 had they not fallen to the Coyotes by a slim margin on Feb. 14.
That game typified the struggles they went through all season long. As is the case with many teams who fell into the bottom-middle of the standings, they had one standout star with not enough complimentary pieces around him. In this case, it was Ametri Moss, a sophomore guard who ended up leading the county in scoring at 21.5 PPG. They even opened the season with a 17-point win at Clarksville Academy. Strangely, the Vikings suffered a large amount of losses that can’t truly be considered close but also weren’t blowouts: nine of their 19 losses were by margins between 10 and 20 points.
With their best player projected to return, the Vikings could be a popular pick to improve upon their 2019-20 season.
7. Rossview Hawks, 7-20
It’s been a rough time for Rossview. After losing in the 2019 District 10-AAA tournament quarterfinals as the top seed, they lost a ton of talent leaving a proper rebuild on their hands. They didn’t manage to beat any of the top four teams in the district, but they can take solace in the fact that half of their losses were by single digits.
After the emergence of junior Spencer Mimms, the Hawks could find themselves with better luck next year if some of those close losses turn into wins.
8. Montgomery Central Indians, 3-22
The Indians had two all-county level players in Isaac Rankhorn and Michael Payton… but not enough to compete with the rest of the district beyond that. MCHS failed to win a district game before losing the tournament play-in game to Rossview by 17.
Give the Indians credit: they’re a AA-size school giving it their all in AAA competition and many of those players played their hearts out for the entirety of the season. Unfortunately for them, it appears that this District 10-AAA experiment has run its course with just eight wins in three years and only one in the past two.