Here’s a look at each of the league teams.
1. Science Hill
2. Tennessee High
4. Daniel Boone
5. David Crockett
The Hilltoppers return seven of their top players from last season and add Griffin Ballard, a top player at Liberty Bell Middle School before his family went overseas for his father’s employment.
With six players 6-foot-3 or taller, this is the biggest team coach Ken Cutlip has had since 2009. Ballard (6-0, Sr.) will likely get some starts at point guard.
Coming off a disappointing 17-17 year that ended in the region semifinals, the Hilltoppers also feature Jordan McLoyd (5-11, Sr.) as a top scorer, Laithen Shingledecker (6-2, Jr.) as a versatile player and Jake Matherne (6-6, Sr.) as a force inside.
Others expected to start at times are Keynan Cutlip (6-2, So.), Amare Redd (6-3, Jr.), Thomas Messimer (6-5, Jr.) and Hunter Phillips (6-5, Sr.).
The reserves — Dalvin Mathes (5-8, So.), Ben Edwards (6-4, Jr.), Caleb Mazoff (6-1, Jr.) and Landon Willis (6-7, So.) — should see many minutes as well.
Matching much of Science Hill’s height, along with athleticism, the Vikings are expected to challenge for the conference crown.
Cole McBrayer (5-10, Sr.) will be the point for a team that went 23-9 and lost in region quarterfinals a year ago. Other projected starters are Reece Proffitt (5-10, Sr.), Mchale Bright (6-3, Sr.), Blake Fauver (6-7, Sr.) and Nolan Wishon (6-7, Sr.), who is quicker than a year ago.
Athleticism reigns through a lineup that includes Jaden Keller (6-3, Jr.), Isaiah Smith (5-9, Jr.), Brayden Henard (5-11, Sr.), Ezekiel Johnson (6-4, Jr.) and Isaiah Smith (5-9, Jr.), who is coming off a calf injury.
The Indians lost most of their scoring from last year’s 30-5 team, which lost to state champion Bearden in the sectionals.
Abiah Releford (6-1, Sr.), who averaged five points per game last season, will be expected to up his production significantly. Once football season ends, Dalton Harkleroad (5-8, Sr.) and Zane Whitson (6-2, Jr.) should join him in the starting lineup, along with Malachi Hale (6-4, So.) and Jack Browder (6-3, So.).
Greg Allen (6-0, So.) has developed into a shooter, while Jahson Dennis (6-4, Jr.) may be the most improved overall. Football players Jaden Alderson (5-11, Sr.) and Braxton Kulbacki (6-2, Sr.) are looked to bring more leadership on the court.
McKinley Tincher (5-10, So.) draws rave reviews for his talent, and Brady Stump (5-10, Fr.) and Kaleb Crumley (6-1, Sr.) give the Indians a solid top-to-bottom roster.
Trailblazers coach Chris Brown is having a hard time naming a starting lineup because it is likely to change depending on the matchup.
Ayden Begley (6-0, Jr.), Jared Adkins (5-11, Sr.), Cade Norris (6-2, Sr.), Caleb Head (5-10, Jr.), Zach Saul (5-10, Sr.), Crowder Jones (6-3, Jr.) and Colby Backus (6-5, Sr.) are all projected starters at some point.
Backus has added 20 pounds of muscle and increased his jumping ability.
Chase McGonigle (6-1, Sr.) could also contribute quite a bit to a team coming off a 13-14 season. Samuel Stroupe (5-9, Jr.), Nevada Goodwin (6-3, So.), Jason Gage (6-0, Jr.), Jackson Jenkins (5-11, Jr.) and Harrison Sherfey (6-5, Jr.) round out the roster.
The Pioneers may have the single best athlete around in 6-4 junior Donta Hackler. Dawson Wagner (6-0, So.) will be at the point with Mack Hensley (6-0, Sr.), Mason Britton (6-4, Jr.) and Prince Kollie (6-3, Jr.) the other projected starters for first-year coach Cody Connell.
Coming off a disappointing 8-20 season that ended in the district quarterfinals, Crockett will have size with bruisers Caleb Hackler (6-5, Sr.) and Tony Davis (6-3, Jr.) inside.
Avery Letcher (6-0, Sr.), Chris Reagan (5-10, Jr.), Eric Dunbar (6-0, Sr.), Colton Estepp (6-3, Jr.) and Jake Gaffney (6-3, Sr.) will give the Pioneers depth.
Former Chiefs assistant Trey Fields takes over as head coach for a team that went 9-19 and lost in the district quarterfinals last season.
Carter Metz (5-11, So.) has added 17 pounds and takes over as the point guard. Other starters will be Jonas Leeper (6-2, Sr.), Micah Jones (6-0, Sr.), Breiydon Gilliam (6-2, Jr.) and Andrew Cope (6-4, Sr.).
The second five comprises Joe Nichols (6-1, Sr.), Jonathon Fulkerson (6-1, Sr.), Hayzen Hayes (5-11, Jr.), Jacob Kenner (5-11, Jr.) and Jason Sattler (5-11, Jr.).
The Falcons look to turn the page on last season’s 6-24 campaign with a team coach Mike Poe believes will get better as the season wears on.
Jon Wes Lovelace, the state runner-up in boys golf, takes his talents to the hardwood where the 6-1 sophomore is the team’s top shooter.
The team’s senior assets are Zack Evans, Brody Hunley, Luke Bellamy and Dakota Hicks. The junior class includes Evan Berry, Tucker Bellamy and 6-6 Eli Amyx.
Young players on the roster include sophomores Heath Miller and Garrison Barrett and freshmen Bradin Minton and Andrew Knittle.