Fulton ended the Blue Devils’ season on Monday night inside the Falcons’ gym, soaring past Unicoi 90-57 in the Class AA basketball sectionals to advance to the state tournament in Murfreesboro.
The Falcons (23-8) used a strong third quarter where they outscored Unicoi 20-10 to pull away by the beginning of the fourth.
The Devils (22-13) fell to 0-9 in sectional games and also lost to Fulton for the fourth time in this round.
Fulton’s coach Jody Wright recorded his 700th career win and has now won 17 out of 18 sectional games.
Edward Lacy led Fulton with 26 points and hit six threes in the game. Trey Davis tossed in 17 points, James Davis 14 and DeShawn Page 13.
“No matter who we come down here (Knoxville) to play, they’re ready to go,” Unicoi head coach Michael Smith said. “They’re battle-tested and it’s every night for these teams. I felt like we played well for a while and their athleticism just took over.”
The Falcons wanted to play an up-and-down game from the start. The Blue Devils were willing to comply for the majority of the first quarter, but Fulton led by 10 (26-16) at period’s end.
Both teams could not miss and the track meet was on.
Unicoi’s Trevor Hensley hit a layup with 4:18 left in the second quarter that tied him with Amy Engle for the all-time scoring lead at Unicoi County with 2,356 points.
He passed Engle by making two free throws near the end of the first half.
He would finish the game with 22 points to lead the Devils and finish out his career with 2,367 points.
“I never got to watch Amy play, but she must’ve been a heck of a player,” Hensley said. “We came up short, but looking back on it — all the days I came in sore, had to run and everything else — I’d do it all again. I loved every second of it and I wouldn’t want any other coaches out there mentoring me. I wouldn’t want any other brothers out there playing with me. I would’ve died for them.”
Brock Thompson added 12 Unicoi points and Troy Podvin 11.
The Blue Devils briefly got back into the ball game in the second quarter, cutting the Fulton lead to one point.
The Falcons went on a 12-0 run to stretch the lead back out to 11 before intermission and took the lead to the locker room at 42-31.
THE HEAT IS ON
The Falcons used a 1-3-1 full-court pressure scheme and vicious man-to-man defense out of the locker room to grow their lead up to 20 points.
The Devils scored 10 points in the third and had more turnovers than points.
The onslaught continued into the fourth and Fulton rested its starters toward the end of the game.