The road to the 5-6 grade tournament title goes through Dibrell in two ways – 1) the tournament itself is being played at Dibrell School, and 2) both Dibrell squads appear to be the teams to beat as the tournament begins Monday.
The Dibrell boys hold the No. 1 seed after a dominant, undefeated season. Like their nickname suggests, the Wildcats (12-0) are cat quick with a well-rounded team. They have depth, perimeter shooting, inside scoring, and spunk.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a successful season,” said Dibrell coach Darek Elrod. “Through our players’ great effort and teamwork, hopefully we can carry the momentum into the postseason.”
A number of Dibrell’s games have been out of reach by halftime. One of the few exceptions was a game against WCMS, which has the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Pioneers have been getting steady scoring from big man Chance Hunter in the post and have a bench as deep as Dibrell’s.
The Pioneers may have the best chance to knock off Dibrell, but they’ll have to get past No. 3 seed Morrison just to advance to the finals. Morrison has been tough to beat at tournament time and coach Kyle Cannon will have his Eagles ready to play.
Rounding out the boys bracket is No. 4 Centertown, No. 5 Eastside, No. 6 Irving College, and No. 7 Boyd.
The girls bracket is a similar sight with Dibrell, WCMS, and Morrison holding the top three spots.
No. 1 seed Dibrell finished the season 11-1 and has perhaps the best defensive player in the county in Kylie Mason. She is always assigned the other team’s best offensive player.
JuJu Pyburn has been Dibrell’s top scorer, helped by strong performers like Emma Parsley and Karlee Cantrell.
Dibrell’s only loss this year came against Centertown. In fact, the Lady Warriors played Dibrell close in both of their games this season.
That could provide Dibrell with a tough tournament matchup right off the bat because the Lady Wildcats will have to play No. 4 seed Centertown in the second round should Centertown get past No. 5 Eastside. However, Eastside has also given Dibrell a down-to-the-wire game this year.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed WCMS is led by Katie Toney, a source of relentless energy. Should WCMS and No. 3 seed Morrison win their first-round games, it will set up a brutal second-round matchup.
Tournament action gets under way Monday at 4:30 p.m. when the Centertown girls face Eastside. Games are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday before the two championship games Friday. All games are scheduled at Dibrell School.