High school basketball season is back in full swing.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the Nashville-area girls teams:
Last year’s state champions
Class A: Loretto (21-7); Class AA: Macon County (26-6); Class AAA: Blackman (24-3); Division II-A: Webb School (28-2); Division II-AA: Hutchison (21-2).
Last year’s state runners-up
Class A: Summertown (29-4); Class AA: Grainger (35-4); Class AAA: Lebanon (30-5); Division II-A: Providence Christian (23-10); Division II-AA: Knoxville Catholic (15-16).
This year’s title contenders
These Midstate teams – on paper – look to have the best shot to compete for gold-ball trophies.
Class 1A: This bracket might be wide open. With Loretto and Summertown both now in Class 2A, there won’t be a repeat of the 2020-21 title game. That means a laundry list of teams – including Clarkrange, Clay County and Pickett County – have a chance to separate themselves as contenders.
Class 2A: Loretto is the team to circle here. The defending Class A champions welcome back Alabama commitment Karly Weathers, who averaged 22.4 points and won Miss Basketball honors last season. Of course, the Lady Mustangs will likely have to get past Lawrence County rival Summertown in the district and region tournaments.
Class 3A: Page may benefit from not moving up to Class 4A like its Williamson County peers. The Lady Patriots return a talented pair of senior guards in McKenzie Cochran and Lili Wilken who know what it takes to get to the state tournament. White County is another team to watch.
Class 4A: Lebanon fell just short of earning its first state title since 1971 when it finished as the runner-up to Blackman. The Lady Blue Devils should be back in the mix this season, along with Oakland.
Division II-A: Webb School may be a girls basketball powerhouse in the making. The Lady Feet rolled to their first-ever state title last year, and second-year head coach Matt Shewmake looks to have an even more talented roster this season.
Division II-AA: Ensworth had to play its state tournament games without injured Miss Basketball winner Jaloni Cambridge. If the Lady Tigers can stay healthy this year, they could add another gold ball to their collection of six state-title trophies.
5 things to watch
Can Lebanon, Page take the next step?: Both teams took a step forward last year as Lebanon made its first state finals appearance since 1982 and Page made its first-ever state tournament appearance. With each team returning key starters, Lebanon and Page are poised for runs in Class 4A and 3A, respectively.
MNPS returns for full season: Most Metro Nashville Public School basketball teams only played a handful of games last season due to COVID-19 concerns. Maplewood still qualified for the Class AA tournament before falling in the quarterfinals. A full return to the court could mean more success for the Metro teams in March.
The effect of a fourth class: The TSSAA Board of Control voted in August 2020 to add a fourth classification in baseball, basketball and softball starting with the 2021-22 school year. It remains to be seen whether the move will be good for competitive balance or if it will water down the state tournaments, but most basketball coaches seem to be in favor of the additional class.
Webb School looking to repeat: The Lady Feet graduated Miami (Florida) signee Lashae Dwyer, but they’ve since stockpiled talent from everywhere. The boarding/day school will feature Maryland commitment Summer Bostock, a Canada native, at guard along with New York transfers Aalyah Del Rosario (center) and Angelica Velez (guard). Webb’s roster lists players who hail from five different countries.
Who will win Miss Basketball?: Jaloni Cambridge and Karly Weathers are obvious choices to become repeat winners. But watch out for the players listed below too. Some of them could make serious cases to be named Miss Basketball.
25 players to watch
Jada Anthony (Sr./G/Cane Ridge): Anthony averaged 16 points and won District 12-AAA MVP during the COVID-shortened season for Metro teams.
Imari Berry (So./G/Clarksville): Berry, who has been a walking highlight reel since her middle school days, touts offers from several Power 5 schools, including Vanderbilt. She averaged 13.1 points per game last season.
Summer Bostock (Jr./G/Webb School): The Maryland commitment averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for Canada during the 2021 FIBA U16 Women’s Basketball Championships.
Millie Brown (Sr./G/Brentwood Academy): The UNC Asheville signee scored 11.5 points per game and hit 77 three-pointers as a junior.
Briley Burchett (Jr./F/Clay County): Burchett will be key to Clay County’s postseason hopes after posting 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore. She is closing in on 1,000 career points.
Brianna Burgess (Jr./So./Creek Wood): Burgess averaged 16.9 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc to lead the Lady Red Hawks to the Class AA state tournament.
Jaloni Cambridge (So./G/Ensworth): Cambridge is back from the arm injury that derailed her otherwise memorable freshman campaign. She averaged 19.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists to win DII-AA Miss Basketball.
Kennedy Cambridge (Sr./G/Ensworth): Cambridge, who recently reopened her recruitment, averaged 13.2 points last season. She is Jaloni’s sister.
Ni'Kiah Chesterfield (Jr./C/Oakland): Chesterfield has offers from Chattanooga, Lipscomb, Marshall and Trevecca and is drawing interest from other Division I schools. She averaged nine points and six rebounds in 2020-21.
McKenzie Cochran (Sr./G/Page): Cochran is a valuable weapon for the Lady Patriots on both ends of the court. She averaged 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.7 assists last season.
Kamil Collier (Sr./F/Ensworth): The Lipscomb signee averaged nearly 11 points per game as a junior.
Tonie Davis (Jr./F/Rockvale): Davis, who is coming off patellar tendon surgery, averaged 12.5 points, four rebounds and two blocks per game last season. She is the sister of current Vanderbilt forward Brinae Alexander.
Brooke Dowlen (Sr./G/F/Jo Byrns): Dowlen can run the point, shoot or post up for the Lady Red Devils. She is still weighing her college options after averaging 22 points and seven rebounds as a junior.
Alana Eakle (Sr./F/Westmoreland): The Anderson University signee averaged 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game as a junior.
Bri Ellis (Sr./G/Beech): The Freed-Hardeman commitment averaged 14 points per game to help the Lady Buccaneers reach the Region 5-AAA semifinals last season.
Reghan Grimes (Sr./F/Ravenwood): Grimes poses matchup problems for opponents in the paint. The Tennessee Tech signee averaged 19.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals as a junior.
Acacia Hayes (Sr./G/Riverdale): Hayes, a Western Kentucky signee, is looking to build on her 2020-21 season, when she averaged 19.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals and was named a Class AAA Miss Basketball finalist.
Mary Mackie (Sr./G/Father Ryan): Mackie’s sharpshooting – she made 44% of her three-point attempts – and 12 points per game led Father Ryan to the DII-AA semifinals last season.
Meioshe Mason (Sr./C/Lebanon): The Middle Tennessee State signee averaged 9.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in the Lady Blue Devils’ run to the Class AAA finals.
Addison Melton (So./G/Central Magnet): Melton still has two years of high school left, but she already owns offers from Lipscomb and Yale after putting up 13.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a freshman.
Atyia Moss (Jr./G/Clarksville Academy): Moss averaged 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and three assists per game to earn all-district honors as a sophomore.
Sydney Ryan (Sr./G/Brentwood): Ryan will likely be Brentwood’s go-to scoring option. The Furman signee averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals following her transfer from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy last season.
Ta’Mia Scott (Sr./F/Northwest): The highly recruited Scott settled on Middle Tennessee as her future home last month. She averaged 20.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 2.6 steals and two assists in 2020-21.
Lili Wilken (Sr./G/Page): The Trevecca signee averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in Page’s run to the Class AAA state tournament.
Karly Weathers (Sr./G/Loretto): Weathers had a junior year that will be difficult to top. The Alabama commitment won Miss Basketball, earned state tournament MVP honors and helped Loretto win its first title since 1958 all while averaging 22.4 points.
10 others to keep an eye on
Aubrey Blankenship (Jr./G/F/Green Hill); Katie Burdette (Sr./C/Summertown); Brooklyn Crouch (Sr./G/Upperman); Christianna Groves (Fr./G/Pearl-Cohn); Madi Lewis, (Jr./G/Columbia Academy); Abby McFarland (Jr./G/Providence Christian); Beth Nelson (Sr./G/Oakland); Renata Watson (Sr./G/Maplewood); Carleigh Wilson (Sr./G/Oakland); Marisa Wirtz (Sr./G/Station Camp).