Thursday, October 23, 2014 · 12:31 a.m.

The Nooga Nine

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The top three spots in this week's rankings belong to teams from District 6-AA. Howard and Tyner remained as the top two, while Brainerd moved up to No. 3. Notre Dame and Central each moved up two spots, and Boyd-Buchanan made its way onto the charts for the first time all season at No. 9.

1. Howard (18-4)

The Hustlin’ Tigers suffered a 49-46 setback at East Hamilton last Thursday — the team’s first defeat since its 55-50 loss to Oakland in the Sonic Shootout in Sparta, Tenn., on Dec. 27. Howard bounced back with a 66-53 win over Knoxville’s Austin-East on Friday, then defeated East Ridge 69-59 on Tuesday. The Tigers, No. 1 in District 6-AA at 10-2, return to action Thursday when they host Chattanooga Central.

2. Tyner (14-6) 

The Rams captured a 63-56 win over East Hamilton on Tuesday, extending the squad’s winning streak to seven games. Tyner moved into third place in the District 6-AA standings at 8-4 in league play, and trails first-place Howard by two games. The Rams defeated Ooltewah 60-58 at home last Wednesday, and rolled over district foe Hixson 73-53 on Friday. Tyner returns to the court Thursday at Ooltewah for a rematch with the Owls. 

3. Brainerd (11-11)

The Panthers’ overall record might not indicate it, but they’re one of the top teams in the loaded District 6-AA. Brainerd, which is coming off a 52-42 loss at Cedar Grove (Ga.), is currently second in the standings with a 9-4 mark in district play. Two of those league losses were to No. 1 Howard, and another came at No. 2 Tyner on Jan. 19. The Panthers play at Hixson on Friday.

4. Ooltewah (15-8)

The Owls lost two of three last week, including a 60-58 setback at No. 2 Tyner along with a double-digit loss to a 22-6 Maryville squad. Ooltewah’s only win during that stretch is was a 75-62 win over District 5-AAA bottom feeder Soddy-Daisy last Friday. Despite the rough patch, the Owls are still in first place in the standings with just one league game remaining; a trip to third-place Bradley Central on Friday. 

5. Central (13-6)

The Purple Pounders plunged in the District 6-AA standings with their difficult 1-3 stretch, but they put an end to their two-game skid with a 50-47 win at East Hamilton last Friday. Central, which returns to action Thursday at Howard, is currently fifth in the standings with a 6-5 mark in league play.

6. Cleveland (15-9)

The Blue Raiders' four-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday night with their 73-70 loss to Rhea County on Senior Night. Cleveland, which has split its games with first-place Ooltewah, is currently No. 2 in District 5-AAA, one-half game back of the Owls. The Blue Raiders conclude their regular-season schedule Friday at Knoxville-West. 

7. Notre Dame (17-9)

The Fighting Irish rolled to a 19-point home win over Signal Mountain on Tuesday, avenging its earlier-season setback to the Eagles. Notre Dame, which trails Signal by one game in District 7-AA at 6-4, closed out its league schedule with four straight wins. The Irish play at Baylor on Thursday. 

8. East Hamilton (15-9)

The Hurricanes took down No. 1 Howard last Thursday, erasing a five-point deficit in the final 3:26 to knock off the Hustlin’ Tigers, but the Hurricanes have since lost two straight. The ‘Canes, fourth in District 6-AA at 7-5, suffered a 50-47 setback to Central on Friday, followed by a seven-point loss at Tyner on Tuesday. East Hamilton hosts East Ridge on Friday before closing out its regular season at Central on Monday. 

9. Boyd-Buchanan (19-7)

The Buccaneers have only lost twice in their last 14 games, and their average margin of victory in their 12 wins has been nearly 25 points. Boyd-Buchanan’s only losses during that stretch were a pair of setbacks to Middle Tennessee Christian. The Bucs, tied with CSAS for first place in District 5-A, close out the regular season with a pair of league games against Copper Basin and Grace Baptist Academy. 

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