District 5-AAA Polls
Media: 1. Bradley Central. 2. Cleveland. 3. Walker Valley. 4. Ooltewah. 5. McMinn County. 6. Rhea County. 7. Soddy-Daisy.
Coaches: 1. Bradley Central. 2. Cleveland. 3. Walker Valley. 4. McMinn County. 5. Rhea County. 6. Ooltewah. 7. Soddy-Daisy.
Media: 1. Ooltewah. 2. Cleveland. 3. Bradley Central. 4. McMinn County. 5. Walker Valley. 6. Rhea County. 7. Soddy-Daisy.
Coaches: 1. Cleveland. 2. Ooltewah. 3. Bradley Central. 4. McMinn County. 5. Walker Valley. 6. Rhea County. 7. Soddy-Daisy.
For the second straight season, coaches think that Ooltewah is the second-best team in District 5-AAA, while the media's thought is that the Owls will be the best.
The only difference is, the other team at the top has changed.
The Cleveland basketball team was given the nod by the coaches to claim the regular season district title at the media day-event held at the Mountain View Inn in Cleveland. A season ago, Bradley was selected at the top by the coaches, going on to the sectionals, where they suffered a heartbreaking last-second loss.
The Bradley Central girls were selected first by coaches and media despite losing six seniors from a state sectional team. They were followed by Cleveland and Walker Valley, giving Bradley County the top three slots in the district preseason.
Ooltewah lost three seniors from a team that advanced to the state quarterfinals. They return starters Antonio Jackson and Ben Snider, as well as post Andrew Ware, who was in the rotation.
"I've got a lot of young, talented players. There's a catch, though; there's a lot of inexperience," Ooltewah coach Jesse Nayadley said. "Every year, there's four or five teams that could been where we were last year."
Since 2005, Bradley Central, Cleveland, McMinn County, Ooltewah and Walker Valley have advanced to the Class AAA state tournament.
The coaches chose despite losing Jarod Rhodes to Lee University and D.J. Bowles to a prep school. Bowles, who plays for Oldsmar Christian School in Florida, recently committed to Wichita State University.
The Raiders return senior C.J. Bryant and added transfer Jahmal Johnson, a 6-foot-6 wing from Walker Valley. Coach Jason McCowan is also excited about junior guard Kendrick Thompson.
The Bearettes return junior posts Brooke Copeland and Rebecca Reuter, both over 6-feet tall. The projected starting point guard, sophomore Chelsie Summers, tore an ACL in her final AAU game this summer, but junior Whitney Donaldson, who was an All-District selection at Morristown West before transferring, will step in.
"We have a lot of young girls. I don't know how many we'll be counting on at the varsity level," Bradley coach Jason Reuter said. "We've got two Division I post players, so our biggest question will be if a new point guard can come in and run the show."