The Claiborne County varsity middle school teams gathered Dec. 12 to start the 2016 basketball tournament. This year’s tournament was hosted by Powell Valley and held in the gymnasium at Cumberland Gap High School.
The first game featured the Forge Ridge Lady Dragons and the Midway Elementary Lady Red Devils. Forge Ridge came out strong and led the first period, but during the second, Midway made a run and actually took a one point lead. The Lady Dragons stormed back and led at the half 14-10. During the third period, Midway used their defense and offensive rebounding keep the game close, but by the end of the period Forge Ridge still led 21-17. Midway remained close and tied the game at the end of regulation play, 29-29. During overtime, the Lady Dragons secured the win with free throw shooting. The final score was 39-37. Forge Ridge was led in scoring by Brooklyn Daniels with 11 and Haylee Sturgill with nine. Gracie Ray led Midway with 17, and Kinley Cox had seven.
The same two schools tipped it off next with their boys’ teams. Midway ran out to a lead and finished the period leading 8-6. During the second, Midway was the aggressor and rolled out to a 14-8 lead. By halftime the Red Devils led 17-11. The third belonged to Midway as they made a run and finished with a 30-15 third period lead. Midway finished strong and won the game 36-19. Jimmy Del Ervin led Midway with 18 and Sammy Day finished with 12. Clint Crockett had seven to lead Forge Ridge, and Malachi Sandefur had six points.
The Powell Valley Lady Indians versus Clairfield Lady Eagles were next on schedule and during the first period, Powell Valley took it to the Lady Eagles who were trying hard but just couldn’t find the rim. It was 18-0 after one period of play. Powell Valley continued putting the ball down the cylinder and led at halftime 24-0. Clairfield put the defense on the Lady Indians during the third period but still couldn’t get any to fall. The score was 28-0 going into the final period. The Lady Eagles got on the scoreboard early during the fourth, but in the end the game ended 34-4 in favor of the Lady Indians. Powell Valley was led by Kayli Hinckley and Olivia Williams with six points each. Clairfield had two post scores and they were Makenzie Lamdin and Abby Hatfield.
The final game of opening day featured Clairfield versus Soldiers Memorial Middle School on the boys side of the bracket. The Blue Devils came out strong and quickly moved ahead 18-2 and by the end of the period led 29-4. The Blue Devils shut down Clairfield’s offense and ran away on the scoreboard to a 43-4 halftime lead. The Blue Devils forced a running clock and kept scoring during the third period sending out reserve players to go against Clairfield’s starting and only five players Going into the final period, it was all Soldiers Memorial and they won the game 68-11. Storm Livesay led the Blue Devils with 15 and Zach Bailey had seven. Gracin Gerber led Clairfield with seven while two other Eagles had two each: Haiden Russell and Jesse Marlow.
The winners moved on to the Dec. 15 games, and the losers were eliminated from the tournament.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.