There was quite a bit of movement in this week's Nooga Nine rankings, especially towards the bottom of the charts. Central dropped out, along with Notre Dame after its season-ending loss to Grundy County in the District 7-A tournament on Tuesday, while McCallie and Baylor both returned to the charts at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.
1. Howard (20-5)
The Hustlin’ Tigers closed out their regular season with a 14-point win at lowly Red Bank to finish with a 12-2 record in league play. Despite a pair of losses in the final two weeks of the season, including a 49-46 setback at East Hamilton on Jan. 31, Howard still managed to hold on to the No. 1 seed in this week’s District 6-AA tournament.
2. Tyner (17-6)
The Rams won their ninth straight game Monday at East Ridge, concluding their regular season with a 32-point win over the Pioneers. Tyner, which is tied with rival Brainerd for second in District 6-AA at 10-4, will receive the No. 2 seed in this week’s tournament that starts Thursday. The two teams split their head-to-head matchups this season, but the Rams hold the advantage in point differential.
3. Ooltewah (16-8)
Ooltewah wrapped up the District 5-AAA regular-season title with last Friday’s 44-30 win over Bradley Central. The Owls ended the season with back-to-back district wins over Bradley and Soddy Daisy, improving to 10-2 in district action. They’ll receive a bye in the first round of this week’s District 5-AAA tournament.
The Panthers narrowly defeated Hixson in their regular-season finale last Friday to finish second in the District 6-AA. They won six of their final seven league games, but their only loss was a 60-46 setback at Tyner. Brainerd split its regular-season meetings with the Rams, but only topped Tyner 60-56 back on Dec. 14.
5. Cleveland (16-9)
The Blue Raiders had the No. 1 seed in District 5-AAA all sealed up if they could just get past league foe Rhea County last Tuesday. They couldn’t. Cleveland suffered a 73-70 loss on Senior Night to an 11-14 Eagles squad, and instead, settled for the second seed. The Raiders won five of six to close out the regular season, and they’ll face Soddy-Daisy tonight in the opening round of the district tournament.
6. East Hamilton (17-9)
The Hurricanes enter this week’s District 6-AA tournament as the No. 4 seed after capturing back-to-back league wins to close out the regular season. East Hamilton, which suffered a 50-47 homecoming loss to Central, avenged the Feb. 1 defeat with a 67-61 win over the Purple Pounders on Monday in its regular-season finale.
7. Boyd-Buchanan (21-7)
The Buccaneers captured their fifth consecutive win Tuesday by defeating Grace Baptist Academy by 26 to close out the regular season. Boyd-Buchanan, winners in 11 of their last 12, wrapped up the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s league tournament. The Buccaneers are 7-1 in District 5-A play, and their only district defeat came nearly two months ago at No. 2 Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences.
The Blue Tornado is ranked dead last in the Division II-Class AA East/Middle Region standings, but concluded the regular season with back-to-back wins over Baylor and Stone Memorial. Just like most of its losses, though, McCallie’s win haven’t been by much. They edged the rival Red Raiders 65-63 in overtime Saturday, then grabbed a 60-55 win over the Panthers in its regular-season finale. The Blue Tornado’s last four losses have been by a combined eight points.
The Red Raiders appeared to be building some momentum heading into the postseason, but instead dropped their final two regular-season games to McCallie and region-leading Ensworth. Baylor, No. 6 in Division II-Class AA East/Middle Region at 3-4, had previously won five of six, including victories over McCallie, Tullahoma, Bradley Central, Walker Valley and Brentwood Academy.