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Post-season rekindles old memories 

Observing these post-season tournaments have taken me back a bit.

When McKenzie swept the District 11A top prizes, I scrambled to recall if something like this had happened before. I mentioned a similar feat back in 1996 with Martin-Westview. Then it occurred to me that lightning had struck twice.

In 1990, Phil Meeks coached both Dresden boys and girls teams to substate, both suffering defeat to Denmark-West at North Side’s gym.

Rewind a few years before at Greenfield. Lady Yellow Jackets coach Bill Colwick stepped down because of health reasons during the 1984-85 campaign. Don Durden, who had authored Greenfield’s boys’ state basketball title a year before, took over the girls’ job in mid-season. 

“Durden’s Dangerfield,” as they were whimsically known in those days, enjoyed more success. The girls reached the state semifinals, beating Midway before losing to Rickman. Meanwhile, the Jackets traveled to Bolton for their substate bout, but were overmatched by a vengeance-minded Wildcat team that lost to the Jackets in the state finals a year prior.

Tuesday night, Weakley County rivals Gleason and Dresden will play for the Region 7A crown, just like they used to do 30 years ago. In 1990, both Gleason and Dresden made it to the state tournament. That was the beginning of Gleason’s run of six straight state appearances, which included one gold and one silver trophy.

In 1995, Gleason and Westview reached the Murphy Center, but both of those visits weren’t as memorable as would be for the Lady Chargers a year later and again for Gleason in 1999.

In the early 90s, Durden had some success with McKenzie, but just had rotten luck in the regional semifinals. But those Rebel teams were exciting.

I saw where Camden’s boys’ memorable season came to an end against Gibson County. Camden hosted the District 11A tournament, the first time the school hosted a tournament in 50 years. The Lions should know they have company when it comes to a fourth-seeded Gibson County team.

The fourth-seeded Pioneers visited top-seed McKenzie about seven years ago or so and eliminated a good Rebel team in the first round of the regional. A few months later, lower seed GC visited McKenzie in the semifinals of the regional baseball tournament and hit the Rebels with the double whammy.

More evidence? Top-seed Memphis-Oakhaven was upset in the first round of the 2A football playoffs two straight years.

Moral to that story? Folks who suffered setbacks from lower seeded Pioneer teams stand in a pretty long line.

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

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