The Blackman High School girls' basketball team has finished fifth nationally for the 2014-15 season. The announcement was made by MaxPreps, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site. MaxPreps ranks more than 20,000 high school girls' varsity basketball teams.
Blackman (32-2) defeated Oakland, 58-54, in double overtime on March 8 to claim its second straight Tennessee 3A state championship. The Blaze beat Oakland for the fifth time this season, winning by 14, 6, 8, 23 and 4 points. Blackman is one of 10 girls' teams being honored on the ninth annual MaxPreps Basketball Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. The Blaze were voted the No. 1 team for the 2013-14 season in the Xcellent 25 poll of MaxPreps writers.
"For the past decade, MaxPreps, in partnership with the Army National Guard, has honored the top high school sports teams in the nation. Blackman High School is one of a very select and elite group of basketball teams to be honored this year," said Andy Beal, President and Founder of MaxPreps. "We congratulate the coach, players and the Blackman High School community for earning the Army National Guard national ranking trophy."
"To be honored by MaxPreps is special for our program. To be a part of the Tour of Champions and be considered as one of the best teams in the country is a great situation for our kids to get that experience and exposure," said Blackman head basketball coach Chad Hibdon, who completed his 10th season.
Blackman, which is a remarkable 92-8 the past three seasons, received stellar play from its seniors. Guard MeMe Jackson, who will play at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville next season, averaged 9.3 points to go along with 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Alex Johnson, who played the post position, netted 14.6 points (hitting 61 percent of her field goal attempts), had a team-leading 8.4 rebounds and blocked 29 shots. She will stay at home and attend Middle Tennessee State University. Guard K.K. Williams, who will move on to Georgia State University in Atlanta, scored 7.8 per game.
Junior point guard Crystal Dangerfield, who has committed to the University of Connecticut in Storrs, led the Blaze in scoring (15.5), assists (5.6) and steals (2.5). Jazz Bond, a junior forward, blocked 67 shots and averaged 7.9 points per game.
Tennessee Staff Sergeant Jesus Merino presented Coach Hibdon and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy during a pep rally Friday afternoon. The team also received a banner for its accomplishments.
"Much like the hard work, determination and teamwork of an elite athlete, so are the men and women of the Army National Guard," said Major Mark Burns of the Army National Guard. "On behalf of the National Guard, I am honored to recognize this nationally ranked team for the commitment to something bigger than oneself - the commitment to a team."
MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighted 2.1 times a regular season game.