WVC Journal Before Christmas



You better get the Christmas lists into Santa Claus as soon as possible.

We’re just a few days away from Santa shimming down the chimneys meaning 2015 is just around the bend.

Carter County teams will be busy across the area leading into the new year.

As I look into a New Year’s resolution – Dr. Enuf is heaven sent but may need a slack off a bottle… or seven – the local WVC teams could look to make some noise and have postseason aspirations written into their plans for the new year. Here’s my, journal of sorts, of some moments that have stood out for me in the league.


Hampton: For the boys’, head coach Ned Smith saw his team rebound back from an upset from South Greene to take a quality win against Chuckey-Doak, a class AA program from Afton.

The team showed mentally toughness with the victory. The Bulldogs have quality wins under their belts against Morristown East, Unicoi County, just to name a few, and made things interesting againsts teams the likes of David Crockett, Elizabethton and the Rebels.

Coby Jones remains to be the firepower offensive and has carried over his quarterback leadership to the hardwood, joined by senior Stanley Valentine (who has recently added on to an AND1 highlight reel with all his recent dunks).  Seniors Cheyenne Camillo, Tyler Moody and Stone Hutchinson continue to add sparks offensive while underclassmen Adam McClain has started to come into his own at the guard spot after a standout season, dinged up some by injury, in football.

You also have to be impressed with the Lady Bulldogs. Head coach Bud Hazelwood and Co. have seen sophomore Alexus Grubbs developed into a point-scoring in tons, recording back-to-back 20-plus point games versus South Greene and Chuckey-Doak.

Also credit the defense, the Lady Rebels entered the ‘Dog pen last week nearly average 70 points a game and HHS may have been an improved first quarter away from nabbing an upset.

Kim Swearingen is the utility player across the board while Shyanna Tuelle, Megan Garland, Hope Bridgeman and Madi Weir have each came into their own.

The projection may be for Greene County to reign atop the WVC, keep an eye out for a improving Lady ‘Dogs team heading to postseason play in 2015.


Cloudland: The Highlanders have shown their own progressive under head coach Gary Harrison – including push South Greene to their second overtime game last week.

The record may be deceiving, but Cloudland has pushed teams, like Unicoi County, the Rebels and Happy Valley to the wire with a team led by two seniors.

Jonah Woods patrols inside while Zac Benfield adds an element from the outside, Preston Benfield also looked impressive this season, including the matchup I covered when the ‘Landers faced Unicoi County – Benfield recorded 14 points, respectively, in the loss.

Dealing with the Three Rivers Conference – a parity amongst the top for the boys’ standings in a common theme.

Don’t be surprise if it’ll also apply to the WVC with the ‘Landers, ‘Dogs and Rebels.

For the Lady ‘Landers, Matt Birchfield’s crew have an injury to deal with to guard Shian Strickland but their youthfulness, complemented with talent, could be the same direction as their guy counterparts.

Kendall Mull leads the team as a senior.


Unaka: Kenneth Chambers knows basketball and the Lady Rangers are buying in.

Led by the sharpshooting of Hannah Tipton, the team recently scored a victory against Johnson County and played a traditionally tough Cosby team close in the North Greene Classic held this weekend in Baileyton.

Don’t sleep on the Lady Rangers come tournament time.

Unaka is coming off a win against Tri-Cities Christian in their stint in the North Greene Classic.

The Rangers are led by four seniors; Bobby Davenport, J.C. Cocklin, Brandon Pierce and Travis Overdorf. With the win, Rangers also have a quality win under their belt with a home win against Johnson County.

Joe Seafross and Dylan Carrier are also a pair of shooters that can make some noise down the stretch.

Don’t sleep on the fellers from Stoney Creek, either.

The squad will be back in action during tournament play in Rockwood next week.

Upcoming Schedule for Carter County teams

Monday, Dec. 22: Hampton at Johnson County (four games)

Tuesday, Dec. 23: Unaka at Happy Valley (four games)

Friday, Dec. 26 – Tuesday, Dec. 30: Unaka, Hampton, Cloudland girls in Johnson City Honda Invitational (Daniel Boone High School)

Sunday, Dec. 28: Elizabethton boys at Corbin High School


I can’t wait to see what happens with A selling-point for me was the simple fact its a chance to bring quality, up-to-date coverage on Carter County athletics and utilize social media to bring the breaking news to compliment in-depth game stories.

There is nothing about competing with other media outlets, it isn’t about promoting the writers. The coverage is all about spotlighting the local athletes and community members and allows the site to record the memories individuals will remember for the rest of their lives.

Any funds gathered from businesses providing sponsorships also goes directly into the site, with podcasts, broadcasts, highlight videos and more on tap.

I’d just like to personally say thank you to the folks who have help the site gather moment, its great to be part of a project that will become a quality source of athletic news for the community. I’m a 2010 graduate of Hampton, so you best believe I enjoy the direction this beast is going.


Curtis Carden is an award-winning sportswriter recognized by the Tennessee Press Association and serves as the sports editor of The Erwin Record, an award-winning weekly newspaper based in Unicoi County. Curtis is also a contributing writer/columnists for publications in Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter (@CurtisCarden_ER) or contact by email at [email protected]


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