After a busy district tournament week at Claiborne High School, the boys’ championship game was played last Tuesday. Cumberland Gap and Greeneville began the action on the boy’s side of the bracket. The Panthers were looking to capture third place in their battle against the Green Devils while Grainger and Chuckey-Doak would battle for the District 2AA championship.
To begin the third place game, Nathan Hatmaker got the scoring going with a basket in the paint. Trevor Graves and Isaac Daniels quickly joined in with scoring of their own. The Panthers went ahead 10-3 forcing the Green Devils to slow the game with a time out. Greeneville made a comeback and got to within two at the buzzer which ended the first period, 12-11.
The two teams took time about leading the contest during the second period. Hatmaker’s continued hard play in the paint kept the Panthers out front until the two minute mark where the Green Devils went on a short run that gave them a three point advantage. At the end of the opening half of play, the Green Devils led by three points at 26-23. Trevor Wright scored nine first half points which had spurred his team out front.
Cumberland Gap grabbed the second half’s first score but the Green Devils stayed ahead on the scoreboard and at one time held a nine-point lead. After three periods the Greeneville lead was 36-29. The Panthers inched back into the contest in the middle portion of the final period and with three minutes left the lead was four points but back to back charge calls angered the Panther coaches and fans. Hatmaker hit a huge two in the paint and made the “and one” to pull the Panthers to within three with a minute and a half remaining. It then became a free throw shooting game for Greeneville as Landon Duncan made six big shots from the charity stripe to help seal the deal for the Green Devils. The final score of the game was 47-37 with Greeneville taking the victory and the tournament’s third place.
It was not a lost cause for the Panthers, as they were scheduled to travel to Elizabethton on Saturday to face them in the regional tournament. Landon Duncan and Trevor Wright led Greeneville in scoring with 15 and ten points respectively. Cumberland Gap was led in scoring by Nathan Hatmaker with 13 and Isaac Daniels with 12.
In the boy’s championship game, the scoring was slow to start and the two teams played to a 18-17 score at halftime with Grainger holding the one point lead. Cory Swinney was the leading scorer at the half for the Black Knights with nine points and Corey Bates had six to lead the Grizzlies.
Grainger’s Bates scored the opening basket of the third quarter but with 4:11 remaining on the third period clock the Black Knights had taken a one point lead and followed it up with a three pointer by Garrett Johnson. After three periods of play, the game was still just a two point affair at 31-29. With 5:36 left in the game Bailey Lamb hit a jumper to tie the game at thirty-one. At the 3:40 mark, Chuckey-Doak spread the Grainger defense out and got what they wanted, an easy lay up to increase their lead to three at 34-31. The tactic worked a second time to extend the lead out to five but Grainger’s Trey Cabbage hit a huge three to chip the lead back down to two.
The game was tied at 36 with 1:50 remaining. Grainger’s Thomas Movon hit a basket in the paint but Birkir Viddisson for Chuckey-Doak tied the game again with two clutch free throws. Grainger had 23 seconds left in regulation and the ball, when their coach called a time out to set up a play. Grainger’s Bailey Lamb narrowly missed on the last second shot attempt and the game was thrust into overtime.
In overtime, the Black Knights got to the stripe after a push call on their own baseline and hit both free throws. Grainger was fouled on their next possession as well and went to the stripe seconds later making one of two. It was back and forth putting points on the board during the overtime period but in the end Chuckey-Doak had just enough scoring to get the win in a low scoring overtime game at 49-44. Josh Lamb and Corey Swinney led the Black Knights to the win with 15 points each. In the loss, Grainger was led by Logan and Corey Bates with 13 and 11 points respectively.
All-tournament selections went to: Chuckey-Doak’s Corey Swinney (MVP), Garrett Johnson, Birkir Viddisson, and Josh Lamb. Grainger’s Corey Bates, Logan Bates and Bailey Lamb along with Greeneville’s Landon Duncan and Quan Harrison received the honors as well. For Cumberland Gap three players were selected: Isaac Daniels, Trevor Graves and Nathan Hatmaker.