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Greeneville overcomes Cyclones in Region 1-AA semis

Douglas Fritz • Feb 25, 2014 at 10:58 PM

GREENEVILLE — There

were so many elements to this game, it would be hard to pinpoint the

difference. But the sum of the parts added up to a tie with a minute

remaining.

And Trevor Wright broke it.

The Greene Devils' senior guard drove to the basket, and converted a layup while drawing a blocking foul with 8.5 seconds left. The play stood up for a 53-50 win over Elizabethton in the semifinals of the Region 1-AA basketball tournament at Hal Henard Gym.

Greeneville improved to 23-9 and will play Unicoi County (26-6) in Thursday's championship game at 7 p.m. Both teams also earned berths in Monday's sectional round, where a berth in the state tournament will be on the line.

With the score tied at 50, Elizabethton went first and may have shot a little too

quickly. Greeneville rebounded the miss with about 40 seconds left, and

held for one shot.

Wright took the ball from midcourt and with 10

seconds left drove hard into the lane. He pulled up and used a Euro

Step to create just enough of an angle to get to the rim — and it may

have bought him the block call as well.

“I definitely froze for a

second,” said Wright about hearing the whistle. “They had been calling

it both ways, and they were letting us play. But I didn't know what the

call would be there.”

For a Twitter interview with Wright, follow Douglas Fritz @FritzBlitzzz.

Greeneville head coach Brad Woolsey said he wasn't sure, either.

“I will have to watch the film,” said Woolsey.

The

bucket counted, and Wright stroked the free throw. Elizabethton had 8.5

seconds left, and got the ball to Zeke Clark. The junior was getting in

position for a 3-point attempt, but the ball was poked out of bounds

with five seconds left.

Clark got it again, but had to force a contested shot at the buzzer.

It

was a tough end for the Cyclones (22-9), who overcame a technical on

Clark with 6:17 left in the third quarter that was his fourth personal

foul. It came after a very questionable offensive foul on Clark. At the

other end of the court, Clark reportedly said, “What did I do?” and was

assessed a technical.

Leading 31-28 at the time, the Cyclones maintained that lead throughout the rest of the third quarter.

“Our

kids did a great job handling it,” said Cyclones' head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “They did a good job

keeping their composure. We didn't make enough plays down the stretch,

but we gave it our best shot.”

Clark certainly battled to the

finish of his career. He totaled 20 points and buried three tightly

guarded trey balls in the fourth quarter.

“Clark kept making big

shots,” said Woolsey. “All credit to him. They weren't easy shots. They

were pull-ups with people in his face.”

Elizabethton led 50-46

with two minutes left in the game, but Anton Almqvist hit a layup before

Wright tied the game with a basket with 1:10 remaining.

It was big win for Greeneville's program, said Woolsey.

“We

want to teach the kids the right things as far as life goes, but from a

professional standpoint and a school standpoint, this is icing on the

cake,” said Woolsey.

Almqvist and Hays Culbreth each totaled 11 points for the Greene Devils with Culbreth adding five assists.

For Elizabethton, which ended its season at 22-9, Tyler Nichols totaled 14 points while Conley Bowers added eight.

It was the second straight year the Cyclones' season ended with a questionable charge-block call in the final moments of the game. They lost in a Class AA sectional game at Corryton Gibbs last year.

"You try to do the right things and try to make the right plays," said Honeycutt. "Sometimes it goes the other way. I guess that's just life."