Only one more day remains in the 2022 TSSAA high school basketball season. Four champions (Class A, Class AA, Class AAA, and Class AAAA) will be crowned on Saturday in this year’s TSSAA Division 1 Boys’ State Tournaments. Before champions…
Only one more day remains in the 2022 TSSAA high school basketball season. Four champions (Class A, Class AA, Class AAA, and Class AAAA) will be crowned on Saturday in this year’s TSSAA Division 1 Boys’ State Tournaments.
Before champions are crowned inside Murphy Center, let’s take a look at the best performers from Friday’s action:
Tylan Lewis, Independence: Lewis is a tough, bulky guard who loves to do everything to help his team win. In a convincing win over Memphis East in a TSSAA Division 1 Class 4A semifinals round matchup, the sophomore guard played solid defense, crashed the boards and scored when needed to.
The win also gave the Eagles their first-ever appearance in a state title game.
To be only 5-foot-10, Lewis isn’t afraid of contact. He simply runs into it and embraces the physicality.
“He’s unbelievable. I mean, he really is,” Independence head coach Mark Wilkins said. “The thing that makes him so special when he gets those defensive rebounds is that we already have the outlet. That’s what so amazing about him. He’s an offensive rebounder, too. It seems like we take a lot of shots and thinking they are going to go in, and somehow, he puts them right back in.”
Lewis finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.
Brayden Buck, Independence: Buck had a great shooting performance on Friday, converting on 6 of 11 shots from 3 to finish the day with 20 points. The Mustangs kept losing him off ball screens, while a lot of attention was on junior guard Jett Montgomery Jett Montgomery 6'1" | PG Independence | 2024 State TN . Montgomery and Lewis did a great job swinging the basketball and finding Buck for great looks.
“I don’t think about them that much,” Buck said when he was asked about his hot day. “I just keep shooting.”
Matthew Wilt, Independence: The senior forward got whatever he wanted in the paint against Memphis East. Wilt finished strong at the rim, made a couple of solid passes, and crashed the boards. The Mustangs didn’t have a guy to match his energy on either end of the floor for the full 32 minutes. Wilt finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
Jett Montgomery, Independence: Montgomery usually has a great shooting performance each time he steps onto the floor. Luckily, he didn’t need to on Friday. The junior guard led the Eagles with 24 points, but did other great things to help his team reach Saturday’s Class 4A state title game.
“I try to do other things to get the win,” Montgomery said. “They didn’t need my 3 to win this game, so there were other guys stepping up, too. I was feeding them. They were getting buckets.”
Jordan Frison, Memphis Overton: The senior point guard was a Class 4A Mr. Basketball finalist for a reason. Frison had 36 points, eight assists, three steals, and three blocks in the Wolverines’ 71-61 win over Hillsboro to clinch its first-ever spot to a Class 4A state title game. He didn’t have a problem getting to his spots on the floor. Frison handled the Burros’s pressure well and didn’t rattle when double teams came his way.
“You go be you,” the words Memphis Overton’s head coach Shelvie Rose said to Frison after Lebanon’s senior forward Jarred Hall was named this season’s TSSAA Class 4A Mr. Basketball award winner on Monday. “Go show the Middle and East Tennessee people who you are. We are just riding along in his Cadillac, and we are going to ride him until the wheels fall off.”
Jailen Hardaway, Memphis Overton: Hardaway has added extra juice to his game since the Wolverines’ first round win over Bartlett in the TSSAA Region 8 Class 4A Tournament. On Friday, he was a mismatch in the post and didn’t have any issues scoring over the smaller Hillsboro team.
“We called him District Hardaway because we were like ‘You have to show them you are a dominant force in the district,’ Rose said. “Then, we called him Regional Hardaway. Now, we call him State Hardaway.”
Cadon Buckles, Hampton: The senior shooting guard was one of the most efficient prospects on the floor on Friday in his team’s 53-43 victory over Chattanooga Prep in the semifinals round of the TSSAA Division 1 Class A State Tournament. Each shot he took was a good one. Buckles was very patient as opportunities opened up for him. He finished with 29 points on 12 of 16 shooting.
Rodgerick Robinson Jr., Middleton: Robinson got to his spots in the Tigers’ 66-50 win over University School – Johnson City, setting up a TSSAA Division 1 Class A title game against the Hampton Bulldogs. The TSSAA Division 1 Class A Mr. Basketball winner made shots from the perimeter, made the right reads and was aggressive on the glass. To complete his season, he will have to perform at a high level once more against Hampton for the Class A state title.
Jahvin Carter, Alcoa: The junior guard and his teammates had to stay level-headed as Brainerd fought its way back from a 17-point second-quarter deficit to get within two late in the fourth quarter. Carter went to the free throw line twice in the waning seconds and went 3 for 4 from the charity stripe. Before that, Elijah Cannon made a layup then Carter made a one-handed floater as time expired.
That small stretch sent the Tornadoes into the fourth quarter up 50-44.
Carter and company were big in the 71-68 win, and now, Alcoa will play for the TSSAA Division 1 Class 2A Championship tomorrow evening, its first state title appearance since 1992.
“It was a big momentum swing for us,” said Carter, who finished with 32 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. “They hit us with a hard punch in the second half in that third quarter. For Elijah to get that putback, and for me to get that steal and floater heading into the fourth changed everything.”
Soundbite of the night
Jett Montgomery Jett Montgomery 6'1" | PG Independence | 2024 State TN has heard chatter about teams from Memphis being tough. The junior guard feels this season’s Independence team is tough as nails.
“I think we had a chip on our shoulder this game. I feel like people are saying stuff about these Memphis teams being tough, but we are some dogs over here. We got dogs over here. I look pretty sometimes, but Matthew (Wilt) and Tylan (Lewis) are dogs, so put us against anybody.”
Final game of the day
Douglass defeated Giles County, 56-42, in a TSSAA Division 1 Class 2A semifinals matchup. The Red Devils will play Alcoa in the title game.