The Stone Memorial Panthers defeated the Alcoa Tornadoes 61-54 to claim the District 4AA Tournament championship Tuesday night at Kingston and to host Knox Carter in the opening round of the Region 2AA Tournament Saturday evening.
Justin Simmons led the Panthers with 16 points, followed by Brock Rowan (14), Tyler Yoder (11), Luke Matthews (11), Gage Spence (six) and Mitchell Ball (four).
Rowan had two three pointers, while Yoder and Ball had one apiece, while Matthews had several offensive and defensive rebounds and several steals to aid the Panther effort.
Alcoa led once in the game - 2-0 early in the first quarter, before the Panthers finished the quarter with a 17-10 run for a 17-12 advantage. The score was tied three times in the first eight minutes.
Yoder buried a trey to give the Panthers a 24-20 lead, and a Simmons' layup gave the Panthers at 29-20 advantage. Alcoa finished the quarter with four unanswered points to slice the deficit to 29-24 at the break.
A Yoder dunk gave the Panthers a 31-24 third-quarter lead, and they stretched the advantage to 39-29 with 2:40 left on a Rowan layup. Alcoa outscored SMHS 8-7 to slice the deficit to 46-37 by quarter's end.
The Tornadoes cut the Panther lead to 48-43, but a Simmons' dunk made it 59-43. SMHS stretched the lead to 56-46 with 1:45 remaining in the game; however, the Tornadoes scored five unanswered markers to make the score 56-51 with one minute remaining.
Mitchell Ball had a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter, and the Panthers hit several free throws to secure the 61-54 victory.
The Panthers will host Knox Carter, who lost 69-66 to Gibbs in the District 3AA consolation game Tuesday night. Carter was paced by sophomore Jordan Bowden with 26 points, including eight three-pointers, and Tucker Green added 21 points.
The winner advances to the semi-finals at Knox Carter Feb. 26.
All-Tournament: Yoder was named the tournament MVP, while teammates Gage Spence, Brock Rowan and Justin Simmons were All-Tournament. Rounding out the team were Jordan Belvin, Loudon; Jordan Huddleston, Kingston; Otariah Lee, CAK; Kenny Dean, Alcoa; and Nick Miller, Alcoa.
Girls All-Tournament: Lady Panther Faith VanRuden was named All-Tournament, joining Haley Cornellison, Kingston; Bre Snow, Loudon; Zoe Grimes, Loudon; Katie Stubblefield, Alcoa; Tara Shields, Alcoa; Tiffany Moore, Alcoa; Anna Hammaker (CAK). and Kaycee Heitzman, CAK. Cheyenne Hooper, CAK, was the tournament MVP.
(Shane Wyatt contributed information for this story.)