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More players would make Coach Witt's New Year happy

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

Three months ago I took on the role of sports editor at The Tomahawk. I hope our readers have enjoyed my first 12 weeks of work.
I came in with some fresh ideas. We’ve added more middle school coverage, high school standings for each sports, statistics, box scores, upcoming games and a weekly column. We are now able to vote on the Associated Press high school football and basketball polls each week for the first time ever.
All of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the high school and middle school coaches. You couldn’t find a better group of men and women to work with.
The majority of our student athletes are role models. They work extremely hard to represent our community but they’re up against some big odds.
One example is girls’ basketball.
I heard a comment at a recent game that Sullivan East had a very good girls’ athletic program. That’s true and it’s easy to see why.
They’re blessed to have two outstanding feeder schools.
Bluff City Middle School and Mary Hughes Elementary are two of the top middle school programs in this area. Those athletes will later attend Sullivan East High School.
Elizabethton has T.A. Dugger Junior High in its back door but they are also able to draw in a few good players from the surrounding elementary schools in Carter County.
Happy Valley has a good drawing base with the outskirts of south Johnson City and some of Elizabethton in its back door.
Throw in a much larger Sullivan South High School and traditionally strong Unicoi County. They plus Sullivan North and Johnson County make up the Mountain Lakes Conference.
It’s a tough league to compete in for a school with only one feeder school.
It’s double difficult to compete against those teams with only seven players.
That’s the number of Lady Longhorns presently on the high school roster. But there is a positive.
Johnson County is fortunate to have Todd Whittemore as its head girls’ basketball coach. I witnessed some of his old Volunteer High School teams play while working as a sportswriter more than a decade ago.
They were always well-coached and fundamentally sound. His teams stood toe-to-toe with the giants among the Big 7 conference.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.