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  • Tim Lownsdale

New Year's Rankings

Tennessee is widely known as a state with an unparalleled tradition in girls' basketball - the state even occasionally puts out a national champion, which creates a unique situation. Successful in-state teams battle with these perennial national powerhouses on any given night of the week, raising the state's level of competition and the entertainment factor for the fans. Tennessee high school girls' basketball is well-represented nationally, facing most of its out-of-state competition during the schools' winter breaks. Over the last month, Tennessee had four teams compete in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, AZ, two teams in the Crescom Bank Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC, and several teams competing at national events elsewhere out-of-state. After acknowledging that the Tennessee teams had a lot more wins than losses at these tournaments, I came away with the thought that Tennessee is in fact one of the best girls basketball states in the country, a thought that was further validated by the NCAA Research Department's recent release of states with the highest percentage of HS basketball players recruited by Division I schools (https://twitter.com/NCAAResearch/status/1079440244548747264).



This thought encouraged me to put out my first annual New Year’s Day rankings for teams in Tennessee. Prior to releasing of this ranking, I personally watched every team that I ranked. The criteria for ranking these teams was to see which teams were the best teams at the moment with strength of schedule and overall record factored in.


Division I - A

1. Gibson County High School

2. Clarkrange High School

3. Greenfield High School

4. Tellico Plains High School

5. Summertown High School

6. Loretto High School

7. Trinity Christian Academy

8. Cosby High School

9. North Greene High School

10. Clay County High School

Gibson County was at the top of the ranking, with their only loss being to Dyersburg. The Pioneers also beat defending state champions, Greenfield earlier in the season as well. Clarkrange comes in at #2 with signature wins over Macon County and Cumberland County, but two big losses to Cookeville and Stone Memorial hurt their chances of being #1. Greenfield, who boasts the two best players in Single A ball, are still trying to get their role players on the same page as Tess Darby and Chloe Moore. This has caused them to take some losses early this season.


Division I - AA


1. Macon County High School

2. Cumberland County High School

3. Cheatham County High School

4. Upperman High School

5. East Nashville High School

6. South Greene High School

7. Meigs County High School

8. Westview High School

9. Northview Academy

10. Grainger High School


Region 4-AA is well represented with Macon County at #1, Cumberland County at #2, and Upperman at #4 in the rankings. Macon County is the defending state runner-up and returns nearly everyone from last year’s team. Cheatham County comes in at #3 and is off to another undefeated start after appearing in the state tournament last season.


Division I - AAA


1. Riverdale High School

2. Maryville High School

3. Houston High School

4. Bradley Central High School

5. Bearden High School

6. Blackman High School

7. Oak Ridge High School

8. Arlington High School

9. White County High School

10. Stone Memorial High School


The Triple A class is the hardest of any to rank. There are a few very talented teams left out of the rankings such as a 17-2 Campbell County team, a loaded Farragut team, and also a Whitehaven team who is just now starting to get everyone back. It will be interesting to see where they fall in the AP rankings, released this Sunday.

Riverdale leads the way, as their only loss was to the nation’s top-ranked team, Bishop McNamara High School (MD). Maryville comes in at two, finishing December with a 16-0 record and winning a loaded Renasant Bank Tournament championship. Houston, the state runner-up to Riverdale last season, holds down the three spot, with a loss to Bearden. Bradley Central is at 4, despite their only loss on the season being in the Nike TOC.

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