Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 3, 2014

SMHS hosts Blackman in substate tonight

By Ed Greif
Sports editor

CROSSVILLE — "I am proud of the kids and their effort. This was a total team effort," said SMHS Panther Coach Neil Capps said last Thursday night, after his team defeated Walker Valley 72-54 to claim the Region 3AAA Tournament championship.

SMHS (27-6) will play  Blackman (24-6) in the Class AAA substate tonight at 7, with the winner earning a spot in the state tournament March 12-15. The game was originally scheduled for Monday, but was postponed due to the inclement weather which hit the state Monday morning.

"The kids played hard for each other by making plays for each other. Mitch Ball was a catalyst for us in the second-quarter run. Defense won the game," he added.

Ball was one of five players to score in double figures, coming off the bench to score 13 points. Tyler Yoder led the way with 18 points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals, followed by Gage Spence (10 markers, one rebound, four assists), Brandon Thomas (14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal), Justin Simmons (12 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals) and Luke Matthews (five points, two rebounds, seven assists, three steals). Taylor Orme, Frank Heilmeier, Parker Hill and Collin Russell also played.

Yoder, Simmons and Thomas scored eight, seven and six points, respectively, in the first quarter, as the Panthers jumped to a 13-2 advantage and were never challenged.

A three-point play by Austin Harwood with 3:25 left in the first half to start a 9-8 run to finish the quarter to slice the Panther lead to 21-11. SMHS was nine of 14 from the floor with two turnovers, while holding the Mustangs to four of 11 and three of three from the charity stripe with four turnovers. The Panthers didn't attempt a free throw in the first quarter, but were four of five from three-point range — two by Yoder and one by Simmons.

Ball scored 10 of his 13 points in the second quarter, as the Panthers outscored the Mustangs 20-17 for a 41-28 advantage at the break. Yoder and Thomas each buried a trey, while Simmons and Matthews each scored two points for the Panthers, who were eight of 12 from the field with two turnovers.

Brandon Crews scored 12 points for the Mustangs, who were seven of 15 from the field and one for one from the charity stripe. Again, SMHS didn't attempt a charity toss.

The Panthers opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run for a 48-30 advantage with 4:08 left in the quarter, but a jumper by Lukas Korn helped the Mustangs finish the stanza with an 11-9 run to  slice the gap to 57-41.

SMHS was six of 12 from the floor and three of four from the charity stripe with three turnovers, while Walker Valley was five of 12 and three of three from the charity stripe with three miscues.

The Panthers came out in the final quarter being patient with the basketball and outscored Walker Valley 15-13 to secure the region championship. Five Panthers scored three points in the final quarter — Spence, Yoder and Thomas, one three-point basket; Matthews, a lay-up and one of two free throws, and Simmons, three of for three throws.

The appreciative SMHS fans gave the starters a standing ovation as they left the court in the waning seconds of the game.

For the game, the Panthers were 27 of 45 from the field, including 11 of 16 from three-point range, with 22 rebounds, 17 assists and eight steals, while holding the Mustangs to 20 of 44 from the field, including two of six from long-range, and 11 turnovers.

Luke Matthews, Justin Simmons and Tyler Yoder were named to the All-Tournament team. Yoder was the MVP.

Other scheduled sectional match-ups  Monday were Jefferson County at Powell, Oak Ridge at Dobyns-Bennett, Walker Valley at Siegel, Kenwood at Brentwood, Hunters Lane at Wilson Central, Dyer County at Hamlton and White Station at Arlington. Others may have been postponed Monday due to the weather.

The winners advance to the Class AAA state tournament March 12-15.

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A pep rally will be held in the SMHS auxiliary gym at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.