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Cleveland's JaCobi Wood breaks past a defender during his fourth-quarter takeover Friday night at Bradley Central. / Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon

This story was updated Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. with more information.

Three area teams received first-place rankings in the first Tennessee high school basketball Associated Press polls released Monday.

Bradley County has two of those teams as the Cleveland Blue Raiders (15-0) and Bradley Central Bearettes (11-3) top the rankings in Class AAA. Led by a suffocating defense, Boyd Buchanan (12-3) was voted No. 1 in the Division II-A boys' poll.

The defending state champion Bearettes are 3-2 this season against teams that won state titles last year. A talented post duo of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga signee Anna Walker and 6-foot-2 junior Anna Muhonen have combined for 28.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.

After missing last season, Muhonen was averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds and shooting a team-high 58% from the field going into Tuesday's win over Walker Valley.

some text Bradley Central's Anna Muhonen, left, missed last season but is a key factor in this year's No. 1 state ranking for the Bearettes. / Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter

"An ankle injury in volleyball forced her to miss all of last season," Bradley Central coach Jason Reuter said. "Anna had to wear a jogging suit all last year and watch us win a state championship. But I knew I had a horse over there in the stable nobody saw. Now people are seeing her and she has had a lot of good games for us. She does what we need around the bucket."

After winning 21 of their last 22 games last season, Cleveland's boys are scorching hot once again, led by senior point guard JaCobi Wood.

The Blue Raiders knocked off state champions Bearden and Knoxville Webb in their first two games and have added impressive wins over Sevier County, Maryville, Howard, Tyner and Siegel.

"We have some resilient kids who play for one another and believe in each other. I am not shocked we are 14-0," first-year Cleveland head coach Reggie Tucker said before Tuesday's 70-45 defeat of Soddy-Daisy. "I tell people all the time, come watch my guys practice. They are battling every time. They compete every day, and it shows up in the games."

Fans around town have been wowed by Wood's Mr. Basketball-level performance. The 6-foot-2 Belmont signee averages 28.5 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals per game while shooting 56% from the field, 80% on free throws and 40% from 3-point range.

some text Ian Johnson (10) launches a 3-point shot for Boyd Buchanan against Notre Dame last season. The Buccaneers are ranked No. 1 this week in Division II-A. / Staff file photo by Robin Rudd

Since the dismissal of a star player last season, the Blue Raiders are 37-1.

"If the vote was today, there is no question JaCobi is Mr. Basketball," Tucker said. "He's almost had several triple-doubles. He is one of our best defenders. What he does in practice and outside of scoring also makes him one of the best players in the state. It's not just his 50-point games.

"He is a team guy. His personal goals will help us get to where we need to be at the end of the day, too. I would love to see him get that trophy, and I am proud of him and all our guys."

Losing 40-33 Tuesday night to Notre Dame, Boyd Buchanan has allowed only 40 points per game.

The Buccaneers have go-to scorers in Ian Johnson and Eli Evans, who each has scored 28 points in a game this season, while Preston Edmondson and Ryan Lopez help set the tone defensively. Will Emrey and Karson Gay have been steady scorers and rebounders in the paint.

Other ranked local programs include District 6 rivals Tyner (10-2) sixth and Howard (9-2) seventh in Class AA. Best of Preps tournament champion Baylor (8-3) is fifth in the Division II-AA boys' rankings.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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