It will be a battle of familiar foes on Wednesday night when Cheatham County Central (26-3) meets East Nashville Magnet (27-3) for the Region 5AA Championship.
This is the fourth consecutive year that the Lady Cubs and the Lady Eagles will meet in the region tournament. They’ve met in the championship game three out of the last four years.
Three years ago (2015-16), East beat Cheatham in the championship game, 56-40, and Cheatham went on to lose to CPA in the sectional. That Cheatham team finished 22-9. East finished 32-2, and won the state championship, beating Upperman, 70-56.
Two years ago (2016-17), East beat Cheatham in the region semifinals, 71-62, ending what had been a magical season for the Lady Cubs at 27-3. East made it back to the state tournament again that year, losing in the semifinals to Upperman (61-44), and Upperman won the first of two consecutive state championships that year.
Last year (2017-18), Cheatham finally got over the hump, beating East in the region championship, 64-56. The Lady Cubs beat Marshall County in the sectional to get into the Elite Eight for the first time since 2002-03. They lost however in the state quarterfinals to Macon County 75-55, finishing 28-2. Upperman beat East in the quarterfinals last year. Macon eventually lost to Upperman (the fifth time Upperman beat Macon last season), who repeated as state champions.
So what will happen this year? We will find out some things on Wednesday night. It’s possible that both teams could make it to the state tournament again. We do know that neither team will have to face Upperman because they lost in the Region 4AA semifinals last night. So there will definitely be a new state champion this year.
PICTURED: Coach Jim Gibbs with three of his stars: Abbi Douglas, Alli Douglas, and Eryn Nelson. BILL CLARK PHOTO