Who's hot, who's not

  As the new year approaches its time for high school basketball coaches to re-evaluate their teams performances over the 2004 season. Coach Charles Bayless stated, "its meat and potatoes time," meaning the conference schedule is about to kickoff in full gear.
  Some local teams get one last fine tuning before plunging into their league slate. Happy Valley and Hampton boys will take this week off.
  Unaka boys and girls take part in the Volunteer Pizza Plus/Dairy Cup/ Coca-Cola Classic at Volunteer High School.
  Elizabethton boys will participate in the 22nd Annual Arby's Classic at Viking Hall while the girls journey to the prestigious Greene County Bank Tournament in Greeneville. Happy Valley's girls will take part of the Science Hill Classic.
  Cloudland and Johnson County boys and girls along with the Lady Bulldogs are part of the 15th Annual Golden Coral Prep Classic in Avery County.
  A list of games and times can be found on page eight in today's addition of the Elizabethton Star.
  Who's Hot
  Elizabethton and Unaka
  The Cyclones are 9-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Archbishop Carroll 62-56. Seven times Betsy has defeated their opponent by double digit margins.
  The Cyclones have a tough task in the first round of the Greene County Bank Classic with Jefferson County as their opponent. The Patriots have an identical 9-1 record with their only blemish a four point loss at Greeneville.
  The Patriots have defeated Boone twice, South Greene, Karns, Farragut, Cocke County, Clinton, Bearden and Dobyns Bennett, and like the Cyclones, seven of those wins have been by double digit margins.
  Unaka takes on Sullivan South in the first round of their tournament at Volunteer. The Rangers are 9-1 with their only loss coming on the road against Clay County.
  The last time Unaka played on the Falcons court resulted in a 69-43 win over Volunteer. South stands at 6-4, including a 54-35 loss to the Cyclones. They have defeated Volunteer twice, along with wins over Hampton, Sullivan North, Tennessee High and Charlotte Christian.
  Who's Not
  Cloudland and Happy Valley
  The Highlanders suffered two losses in last weeks Unaka tournament and have been up and down all season. If the same Cloudland team that defeated Unicoi County and Tennessee High earlier in the season shows up the blue and gold will challenge Unaka for the conference championship.
  When the Highlanders come with their A game, they can be a tough opponent for opposing foes.
  The Warriors should improve on their 1-7 records. If the young players fail to develop, it could be a long season for Coach Ben Godsey and the Tribe.
  Who's Hot
  Although Happy Valley has a 6-3 record, losses to David Crockett and Daniel Boone keep the Tribe at lukewarm. The Valley is loaded with talent and more studs in the stable than Peyton Manning has touchdown passes.
  If this team can find the right combinations, the Warriors have a great shot at reaching the big dance at Murfreesboro come March. The hardest task for Coach Bayless will be finding minutes for everyone on the team.
  Unaka is 6-2 since their trip to Pickett County. For those that need a reminder, the Rangers were 15-13 heading into the District Tournament last season.
  Ensor knows the games that count so look for Unaka to be at the top of their game when the middle of February rolls around.
  Who's Not
  Elizabethton and Johnson County
  The Cyclones are 0-9 but hope the second half will produce some better results. After getting blown out by Knox Fulton 73-37, the Cyclones lost a heartbreaking 74-70 contest to Austin East on Dec. 18th.
  Johnson County is 0-6 as offensive woes have plagued the Longhorns. The Steers are averaging only 35 points per contest.
  The tough schedule played by 'Betsy should make them a much better team during the conference slate while Johnson County must find a prolific scorer to spark the offense.
  Hardwood Hustler's Picks of the Liter
  Avery County over Cloudland
  This could turn into a back yard brawl against two neighboring schools. A win over Avery could give the Highlanders some much needed confidence with the conference schedule just around the corner.
  Elizabethton over Jefferson County
  Cyclones win in a nail-biter.
  Players of the Week
  Andrew Bowman, Happy Valley
  Andrew had 13 points and 11 rebounds in a one-point loss at Boone.
  Keila Williams, Happy Valley
  Williams had a solid performance in a loss at Boone including eight points and seven rebounds.