Not the Arby's, but plenty of beef

  
 
  Kudos to Unaka High School for the first annual Climate Controllers Basketball Tournament. The boys side was loaded with two time defending state champion Tennessee Temple, Division II private school powerhouse Chattanooga McCallie, Twin Springs, Va. whom some consider on of the top teams at the Arby's and 2004 defending Class A state champion, Unaka.
  Eddie Butler and Steve Tipton, co-owners of Climate Controllers, sponsored the event and both need to be commended. The same can be said for the Unaka High School boys basketball boosters club and many others who made this two-day classic a success.
  The hospitality room was filled with food fit for a king. Each participating team was fed after game and given a tee shirt. The quality of basketball was at an all time high.
  Although not the Arby's Classic, this was a tournment where the teams were very talented and well coached. Ken Henry of McCallie is well respected among his peers and it doesn't get any better than Donald Ensor, Dan Wadley and John McCrary.
  Both Ensor and Wadley have earned Tennessee Coach of the Year honors while McCrary is one of the winningest high school coaches of all time.
  The tournament boasted several top quality players. Caleb Skogan, who delighted the crowd with 37 points against Twin Springs has signed with Mercer University. Tyler Smith of Twin Springs is Appalachian State bound.
  Charles Lindholm is a sure bet to sign along with Lee Hilt and Cliff Doizer of McCallie. Tyler McCann, Derek Cline and Rusty Holtsclaw will get some looks by local colleges.
  The Ranger gym was loud with good crowds for each game. Donald's Disciples, a newly formed Unaka student section, was out in full force. They were entertaining as well.
  Coach Howard of McCallie commended Unaka for putting on such a classic.
  "This is what high school basketball should look like."
  This coming from a coach who plays in a multi-million dollar complex where TBS superstation owner Ted Turner happens to be a graduate.
  On the girls side of the tournament, kudos for Leslie Campbell for bringing her Hampton Bulldogs to Unaka. This long time rivalry had been haulted the past few seasons but Campbell and Coach Kenneth Chambers took it upon themselves to treat area basketball fans to this game.
  This was entertaining for Carter County high school basketball because it's what the fans want to see. Classification has killed the long time traditional rivalries that teams once had when playing one another.
  I applaud any coach who is willing to go the extra mile to play a good team. Campbell knew Unaka was considered one of the top teams in the state but that didn't matter.
  Nor did it matter when she played. Till this day, Campbell is the best high school girls basketball player I have ever got to watch. Although small in size, Leslie possessed the heart of a champion.
  I watched her light up South Green one night for 30 points as the Rebels tried all assortments of junk defenses. I'll never forget that heartbreaking loss to the Rebels after Hampton led most of the way.
  Campbell dropped to her knees from exhaustion as time expired. South Green went on to win the state championship.
  Campbell coaches the same way. She demands a great deal from her players and expects them to compete with the best.
  The only thing needed on the girls side was more quality teams. Elizabethton would have been the perfect fit. What better way to cap off the girls side than to pit what many consider to be East Tennessee finest girls programs.
  It the game that fans want to see. Oh well, what do I know? Maybe next year.
  Officiating
  If anyone got to witness the Johnson County verses Cloudland girls game this contest left people scratching their heads. I've watched high school basketball for 30 years and never have I seen anything of this nature.
  The Longhorns shot 41 times from the foul line while Cloudland managed just eight. In the final four minutes of the game, the Longhorns went to the line 18 times.
  Out of 50 points, 28 came off charity tosses. I thought Santa Clause would arrive before the fourth quarter got finished.
  I would have loved to saw what the referee supervisors wrote up about this contest. No doubt this game left Cloudland basketball coach Matt Birchfield in a "foul" mood.
  Hustler Hoops, Picks of the liter
  Girls
  Cosby at Cloudland
  If the Highlanders expect to make the big dance they got to start playing better basketball. The Johnson County game should have been a wakeup call.
  The Highlanders lost a heartbreaking 51-50 game earlier this month at Cosby. But this time, the results will be different. Cloudland by 10 over the Eagles.
  Boys
  Happy Valley at Daniel Boone
  This game features two coaching icons, Charlie Bayless and Bobby Snyder. Boone is tough at home and could give the Warriors some trouble.
  Happy Valley needs to play up to their potential against all opponents. Bragging rights such as beating Unaka are good for Warrior fans but a trip to Murfreesboro would be a great gift for their legendary coach.
  For the Valley to get there, they must play consistent every time they take the floor. This team has the type of players needed to reach the big dance. But it helps to be hot around March.
  Players of the Week
  Girls
  Lacey Oliver, Hampton: The senior guard was huge in wins over Crockett and Cloudland. She tossed in a game high 20 verses the Pioneers while adding 15 in their victory over Cloudland.
  Boys
  Rusty Holtsclaw, Unaka and Cody Jones, Cloudland:
  Holtsclaw tallied 25 in a win over Sullivan East while reaching double figures in both the Temple and Chattanooga McCallie game.
  Jones totaled 17 against a very good South Greene team and followed up with 18 points in a win over Tri-Cities Christian.