Lady Rebels savor state title

When the last Associated Press poll moved last year, McKenzie’s girls basketball team sat atop the Class A girls rankings.

Despite losing to Loretto in substate last year, not much changed. When the first poll was released this year, the Lady Rebels were in an old, familiar spot: at the pinnacle once again.

MHS coach John Wilkins even had a discussion with his wife about the polling data.

“It’s rare when people start at the top and go all the way to the end No. 1. I can’t think of it happening before,” he said.

The last team I remember going wire to wire was the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, but their success had nothing to do with polls.

Usually teams bounce around the top 10 after a few hiccups here and there. But even in defeat, which McKenzie only tasted twice this year, the pollsters had confidence in the Lady Rebels. 

But Wilkins tried to downplay the rankings. Sure, it’s great recognition for the school, but the eight place settings in Murfreesboro aren’t determined by who is atop the AP rankings.

And so it was for the Lady Rebels. They have a bonafide prodigy in sophomore Savannah Davis and a collection of determined, focused, hard-working players around her.

Even more impressive is the fact that these kids have adopted the Harry Truman mantra: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Davis had a subpar day against North Greene, so … Briley Auvenshine drops in a double-double, 18 points, and 10 rebounds. Senior Dani Dyer knocks down 13 points and everybody is happy?


The team won. And, as Wilkins observed, two other players may lead in scoring the next night … and so on and so on.

“That’s the way we’ve been all year.”

So, for the time being, McKenzie has separated itself from the pack. Losing only Dyer next season, the expectations will be high for this team. The Lady Rebels know what it takes and can use this as incentive to be even better next year. Or, they can rest on their laurels and be an exercise in frustration. 

Given the attitude of this team, I feel like a sleeping giant has awakened. But the bullseye on their backs has gotten that much bigger. As former Tennessee football coach Johnny Majors once said, “The wind blows the strongest at the top of the flagpole.”

As for Wilkins, I figure he has a chance to collect enough gold balls for McKenzie to decorate a Christmas tree. 

Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and the host of The Pressbox radio show, which airs 4-6 p.m. CT Monday-Thursday on WRJB, 95.9 FM, Camden, Tenn.

Related Posts

The Carroll County News-Leader is a full-service, premium newspaper and news website serving Carroll County, Tennessee. We take advantage of today’s digital technology to deliver you the news that matters to you in ways that are only possible in this platform and in print.
Contact us: [email protected]

© Copyright 2024, 84 Elks Lodge Rd. Huntingdon, TN