After wrapping up the District 2-A regular season championship, the Jellico High School boy’s basketball team is the odds-on favorite to win the league tournament, which begins this week at Rutledge Middle.
The Blue Devils (9-1 district, 18-7 overall) defeated Clinch, 66-30, Friday night in their homecoming game after leading by 30 points at halftime.
Junior point guard Darius Marlow makes Jellico go. He averaged 7.8 assists per game during the regular season. Senior guard Ben Mitchell leads the Blue Devils in scoring with 16.5 points per contest.
Aside from a loss at Cosby, when five players were serving a six-game suspension for playing in an unsanctioned benefit game, Jellico has dominated District 2-A this season. However, the rest of the league has been balanced.
Hancock County, the defending district champion and number two seed going into this year’s tournament, was knocked off a couple of weeks ago by Washburn, the fourth place team.
Prior to that, Washburn was upset by the J. Frank White Academy, which takes a six-game winning streak into tournament play as the number five seed.
Jellico received a first-round bye and will face the Washburn vs. J. Frank White winner on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.
Hancock County got the other bye and will face the Cosby vs. Clinch winner on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
In the girl’s bracket, Cosby and Hancock County come in seeded first and second, respectively.
Fourth-seeded Jellico, with three-sport standout Noel Tiller leading the charge, has improved dramatically during recent weeks. The Lady Blue Devils will open tournament play tomorrow (Fri.) at 4 p.m. against fifth-seeded J. Frank White Academy, whose star player Clarissa Medley recently scored her 1,000th career point, though only a junior. The Jellico vs. JFWA winner will play Cosby at 7 p.m. in Saturday’s semifinal round. Hancock County will get the Washburn vs. Clinch winner at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Girl’s and boy’s championship games are scheduled for Tuesday night while consolation games will be played on Monday. The top four teams, girls and boys, advance to regionals.