Stories from the Student Section

Blaze Basketball 2015-16


Photo courtesy of Kim Baumann David Ivy, Jaellan White, Christian Dewitt, Jarrell Reeves, Donovan Sims, Trent Gibson, and Miller Armstrong cheer on the team in the closing seconds of the substate win vs. Bradley Central

Jared Robinson, Reporter

Back in November, nobody was sure how well the 2016-17 Blaze would be able to cope without the seniors they lost.

The first game, our boys beat William Blount by 42 points. I hadn’t seen any other high school team play at that point, but it was clear that after one game that the Blackman Blaze was something special again this year.

Game two arrived: Blackman vs. Riverdale. William Blount was an unknown, but Riverdale always displays some talent. Students came out to support both schools, but Riverdale’s students didn’t have much to say once the game started. Blackman came out with another win, and anyone who saw that team play knew they weren’t going down without a fight.

The boys kept playing game after game, and only one thing remained the same: a ZERO in the loss column. During winter break, the team participated in the Father Ryan Christmas Tournament. Round one wasn’t a competitive game, but round two put Blackman up against Cane Ridge, their toughest competition of the regular season. In a battle of two undefeated teams, Blackman came out on top and won the tournament.

Still undefeated. Still hungry for more. The team was churning out district wins, and nobody could even come close to beating them. It wasn’t until January 30th that the Blaze boys would have their next test. They traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, to take on one of the nation’s premier teams: Spain Park.

Blackman found themselves down for the majority of the game, but they continued to fight. Spain Park’s Austin Wiley, who is a 6’10” center with college offers to Duke and Kansas, made life difficult for Blackman’s frontcourt of Christian DeWitt and Jarrell Reeves, who both fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter.

After Blackman made a sensational comeback, the game was tied at 60, and Blackman had the basketball. Donovan Sims drove down the court and passed out of his shot to Miller Armstrong. Miller missed the shot, but Sims was able to grab the rebound and put up a shot over Wiley that won the game as the buzzer sounded.

The game against Spain Park was a defining moment for this year’s team. It showed that they could play not only with the best teams, but also that they were one of the best teams. With that in mind, the boys knew their journey was far from over.

As the regular season closed out, Blackman finished with a perfect 26-0 record as they headed into the district tournament. Being that it was a weak year for many of the district’s other schools, Blackman won the district tournament without too much of a scare from any of the Rutherford County teams.

The regional tournament was more of the same with Blackman dominating every game, and the opposing teams ending their seasons at the hands of Blackman. In the last sub-state game, Blackman knocked out Bradley Central for the second consecutive season, and the team advanced to the state tournament for the fifth consecutive year.

In round one of the state tournament, Blackman played Science Hill. Science Hill was a good team, but quite honestly, they got hot at the right time, and that was why they got into the state tournament. Blackman moved past them to maintain the perfect 32-0 record, set up to play Memphis East in the second round.

Memphis East had gone back and forth with Blackman, trading the number one spot in the state rankings, but now it was time to see who really was the best in Tennessee. The game was even throughout the first quarter, but as the clock wound down, Memphis East made it clear the type of team they were.

The team’s two guards passed the ball back and forth for the final two minutes of the quarter in an attempt to hit the final shot of the first quarter. Memphis East had no desire to win by playing basketball, but instead preferred a high stakes game of monkey in the middle. Regardless, Blackman continued to fight.

The game entered halftime with Blackman down 28-20, but there are few things more beautiful than a Barry Wortman third quarter. Blackman stormed out of the locker rooms; Memphis East wasn’t ready. The Blaze fought back and found themselves down only four points heading into the final quarter.

The team fought as hard as they could, but eventually, the final buzzer ended and Blackman suffered their season-ending first loss.

Although this season didn’t end with a state championship, the Blackman Blaze and Lady Blaze played with heart, class, and guts the entire season. For that, Blackman, particularly its fans, owe a thank you to the players for teams worthy of Blackman Pride!