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University High stuns Crockett, will face Boone in Hardee's final

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Nov 23, 2018 at 11:40 PM

Kaleb Meredith and Colin Daniel combined to score 50 points as University High rallied from a six-point deficit late in the fourth quarter deficit to stun host David Crockett 62-61 in the first semifinal Friday night at the 29th annual Hardee's Classic basketball tournament.

The Bucs will meet Daniel Boone, a 58-50 winner over Volunteer, in tonight's final scheduled for 8. Crockett will face the Falcons in a third-place game at 6:30 p.m.

Daniel was sent to the free-throw line with 2.6 seconds left and made a pair of winning free throws. Crockett's Dawson Wagner came back with a last-second heave from three-quarters court, which bounced around and off the rim at the buzzer.

Daniel, who scored 18 of 20 points from 3-point range, explained he was confident going to the charity stripe with the game on the line.

"I wasn't thinking about anything but making them," Daniel said. "I knew I was going to make them both. It was a good team win. I couldn't be happier."

Meredith, who finished with a game-high 30 points, was equally effective penetrating with the basketball as shooting outside.

"You just get hot sometimes and start feeling it," Meredith said. "I had a couple of shots not fall in the first quarter, so I took it in and got a few layups. That got me rolling and then, you just have to have the mindset that nobody can guard you."

Still, it looked bleak for University High as Crockett pulled out to a 59-54 lead with 2:04 remaining. However, the Pioneers didn't execute down the stretch, forcing some quick shots and giving up an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, which led to Daniel's opportunity.

"The shots weren't falling and we made some bad decisions," Crockett coach John Good said. "When the shots aren't falling, you have to value the basketball. We're a young team and I encourage them to shoot, but we didn't do it at the right time."

Donta Hackler and Ayden Begley each scored 11 points for Crockett. Wagner added nine points.

Meredith scored the last seven points of the third quarter for University High to give the Bucs a 49-47 lead heading into the final period. Mason Broome grabbed eight rebounds and Marshall Fleenor had eight points and six rebounds for UH.

"This will give our kids a lot of confidence because we have that much respect for Coach Good and his program," University High coach Justin Penley said. "We were down a couple of buckets late, but we kept fighting and kept fighting. Colin stepped up, made the free throws with two seconds left and we were able to get it done tonight."

Daniel Boone 58, Volunteer 50

Chad Heglar followed up his 51-point performance in the opening round by posting 17 points, 10 rebounds and five steals against the Falcons.

The Trailblazers took the early lead up 20-2 at the end of one quarter and 27-15 at the half. Jared Adkins added 11 points and Cade Norris had four assists in the Boone win.

"We stayed in control, but I thought we had some opportunities to make plays, come up with loose balls," Boone coach Chris Brown said. "It seemed like we were a step slow every time. We've got to clean that up by tomorrow, but we have an opportunity to play for the championship and that was our goal coming in."

Down by 18 entering the final quarter, the Falcons cut the lead to just seven with 3:06 left. The Trailblazers scored the next two buckets to put the game out of reach.

Eli Churchwell led the way with 16 points, followed by Chance Johnson with 12 and Ethan Dean with eight. Volunteer coach Mike Poe explained that playing behind the whole way was just too much of an obstacle.

"I'm more disappointed in our ability to compete from the get-go," Poe said. "We're not talented enough where we can dig ourselves a 14-point hole and then dig ourselves out of it. We have to hang in there and take it to the final quarter. Tonight, we didn't make enough plays and we're down by 18 entering the fourth quarter and we're not talented enough to outscore somebody by 18 in the fourth quarter."

Sullivan South 59, South-Doyle 33

The Rebels put on quite the defensive display, holding a South-Doyle team which had scored 99 points against Daniel Boone three nights earlier, to just 33 points.

Chase Bowery led South with 14 points, followed by Ben Diamond with nine and Cole Layne with seven. However, the major emphasis in preparing for the game was defense as Rebels coach Michael McMeans explained.

"I don't know if we shot a ball in practice Wednesday. It was all defense," McMeans said. "I'm proud of them with how they responded. It shows you what type of team we can be. You hold a team like that to 33 points. I'm pretty proud of that."

The Rebels rolled to a 27-13 halftime lead and extended it to 21 points on Chase Bowery's 3-goal with 1:05 left in the third quarter. They maintained a comfortable advantage the rest of the way.

Quentin Carr was the only Cherokees player in double figures with 13 points.

Unicoi County 80, Claiborne 74

Five players scored in double figures as the Blue Devils held off the Bulldogs in Friday's opening game.

Brett Lingerfelt, Nicholas Hensley and Austin O'Dell scored 13 points apiece to lead Unicoi County, which also got 12 points from Gavin Casey and 11 points from Danny Lowery. Phoenix Holt nearly hit double digits with nine, while Ty Thelen added seven for the Blue Devils without leading scorer, Brock Thompson, missed the game due to a broken nose suffered in Tuesday's loss to University High.

Kade Beeler led Claiborne with 19 points. Daniel Adkins, Isaac Thomas and Christian Whitaker all finished with nine.

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