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Area middle schools record big basketball wins

Middle school basketball in Washington County reached its pinnacle following a championship week in which four local teams participated in the state sectionals in Sevierville, two of which brought home championships.
The girls of Gray and Ridgeview and the boys of West View and Ridgeview competed in the middle school equivalent of the state tournament last week.
The Gray girls and Ridgeview boys earned championships for their schools.
The West View boys, an early favorite to compete for a sectional championship, opened the tournament on Feb. 7.
Led by all-tournament selections Dustin Day and DJ Britton, West View defeated Burchfield of Scott County 43-29 to advance.
On Feb. 10, West View’s championship aspirations came to a close in a 44-35 loss to Oakdale. West View finished the season with a 25-3 overall record.
Across the bracket were the Ridgeview Raptors.
On Feb. 4, in their first sectional contest against Sunbright, the Ridgeview Raptors jumped ahead early to a 21-3 first quarter lead and never relinquished control, eventually winning the first round bout 53-21.
They returned to the court in the quarterfinals on Feb. 8 against Catons Chapel.
A 21-8 run in the final minutes of the second quarter extending through the third helped the Raptors catapult into the lead and eventual 41-36 win. Alex Percell scored 17 and Ryan Keever added 16 to lead the Raptors.
The second round victory set up a Feb. 10 semifinals matchup against Fairview.
In a contest controlled by defense, Ridgeview squeaked out a 26-23 win. Keever led scoring in the game, finishing with 13 points.
The win set up a chance at a championship against the team that had denied West View in their search for a championship, Oakdale.
Ridgeview used sound defense and a strong scoring attack to take a 26-9 halftime advantage in the contest.
The game never drew closer than 12 points as the Raptors finished with a 45-30 win to bring the hardware back to Washington County.
Ridgeview was led in scoring by Percell who finished with 22 points and Keever who added 11. Joining Keever and Percell on the all-tournament team were Trevor Trujillo, Gabe Sanders and Jacob Street.
The Raptors finished the season with a 21-10 record.
“We saved our best for last,” Head Coach Travis Mains said. “This was a special group of kids and parents and one awesome principal.”
The Raptors will be cutting down the nets on Feb. 14 at 5:30.
It was an all Washington County championship on the girl’s side of the bracket as the Ridgeview and Gray girls advanced through sectionals on opposite sides of the bracket last week.
Without a single eighth grader on the team, Gray Head Coach Randy Winstead wondered how his young team would perform on the biggest stage.
“I thought it was a possibility for us to win it all this year,” Winstead said. “But being so young I thought it was probably a long shot.”
The girls of Gray wouldn’t be denied as they captured the sectional championship over Ridgeview on Feb. 11.
Gray’s sectional run began with a first round bye, before opening play on Feb. 6 against Catlettsburg. Gray won the contest 44-23 to advance to the semifinal contest against top seed Coalfield. Gray was once again victorious with a 43-26 win.
On the other side of the bracket, Ridgeview was making noise of their own in the tournament, returning to the sectionals for the second year in a row.
“Last year we finished in the elite 8 of the sectionals,” Ridgeview Head Coach Tonya Jenkins said. “With seven eighth graders we felt we could get back to the tournament and do even better.”
The experienced team lived up to the expectations advancing through the sectionals until just one game remained, the Feb. 11 championship against Gray.
The Lady Raptors struggled to shoot the ball and Gray took advantage, going on to win 30-22.
“After winning the championship, they were thrilled and completely overwhelmed,” Winstead said. “They were ready to get started up for next season. Our goal is to do it again.”
Seventh grader Montana Riddle was joined by sixth grade teammates Sydney Pearce, Lizzie Davis and Emily Sizemore as all-tournament selections. Gray seventh grader Maykala Ledford was selected as tournament MVP.
Gray finished the season with a 20-3 record. Ridgeview finished at 23-4.
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