The Blue Devils of Unicoi improved to 21-11 and advanced to Tuesday’s Region 1-AA semifinal to face Elizabethton for a fourth time in the season — this time at Chuckey-Doak with a 7:45 p.m. scheduled tip.
Unicoi County won all three meetings this season against the Cyclones, including a 74-66 overtime win in the District 1-AA tournament. The Blue Devils are 7-2 against Elizabethton over the last three seasons. The last time the two met in this phase of the postseason was in 2008, when the Blue Devils won 55-37.
“They were there last year, too — Elizabethton was in this game (Region 1-AA semifinal),” Unicoi County head coach Michael Smith said about the next contest. “It’s a big game, a lot riding on it.
“I hope we come ready to play and get after them like we did late in that game, but start that earlier in the game.”
Unicoi County went into the last quarter with a 54-50 lead that was trimmed a single point at 55-54 just 50 seconds into the frame.
The next Blue Devil possession saw Brett Lingerfelt get fouled on a three-point shot. The sophomore knocked down all three tosses that started a 15-2 run over the next four minutes to put the game away.
“Those were big,” Smith said about Lingerfelt’s free throws to break away. “He added two later on that were big as well. Proud of him for that.”
Unicoi County was productive at the line in that stretch — going 10 for 13 — and shot 21 of 34 for the game from the charity stripe. The Greene Devils were 14 of 20 on their end.
“It was huge that everyone contributed from the free throw line in the game, we made some big ones,” Smith said. “We kept adding to the lead and we kept them from scoring on the other end to keep extending the lead.”
UC SCORERS GIVE 50 POINTS
Trevor Hensley added to his point total with eight points in the final quarter to give him a game-best 28 for the night. Hensley helped propel Unicoi County to a 49-48 lead with 1:50 to go in the third to erase a five-point deficit.
Thompson had seven of his 13 in the last seven minutes. Troy Podvin had just two points in the quarter, but had 20 through the first three periods to round out the double-digit scorers for Unicoi County.
GREENEVILLE RALLIES FOR LEAD
The Green Devils trailed by a point at halftime only to take a 47-42 lead at the midpoint of the third.
Jaevon Gillespie had four points in that 12-6 run as he accounted for 26 overall. He did not score in the final 7:10.
Dorian Goddard helped the Green Devils with 19 points in the game, including six in the third quarter. Nathaniel Moon knocked down a trio of 3-pointers en route to 13 points.
Greeneville’s season closed at 16-15.