After going the length of the floor, Meredith hit a runner with 0.2 seconds remaining to lift the Bucs to a 62-60 victory over Hampton in Tuesday night’s District 1-A championship game at Daniel Boone. The bucket lifted Meredith to 2,000 career points.
University High is set to host Washburn to open the Region 1-A tournament on Saturday, while the Bulldogs will welcome Hancock County to town for their first-round matchup.
In the consolation game, North Greene took a 50-41 win over Cloudland. The Highlanders will open the Region 1-A tournament Saturday night at Cosby while the Huskies journey to Jellico.
After two thrilling semifinal contests on Saturday, Tuesday’s championship delivered a thrilling game from start to finish.
Throughout the final quarter, the teams traded shots and the lead. After a quick 5-0 Hampton run was capped by a Rocky Croy jumper to give Hampton a 53-52 edge with just under three minutes to play, Meredith knocked down a pair of free throws.
Conor Jones answered to the Bulldogs, but Meredith delivered a trey with 2:27 to play to give UH a 57-55 lead going to the final minute.
Caleb Oaks produced an old-fashioned 3-point play to push Hampton into the lead with 32 seconds remaining and a Croy free throw upped the lead to two points with 24 seconds left.
Meredith knocked down a deep 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining before Hampton’s Matt Hughes was fouled on the other end. From there, Hughes knocked down 1 of 2 free throws and Meredith and the Bucs grabbed the rebound, setting the stage for the game-winner.
The contest offered a back-and-forth battle from the opening tip.
After the first quarter ended in a 17-17 stalemate, UH rolled to a 27-17 lead in the second quarter. Hampton, however, battled back with a quick run to open the third and then regained the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth.
Marshall Fleenor had 13 points for UH, while Mason Broome had eight points.
Croy led Hampton with 19 points. Oaks added 13 and Hughes 10.
North Greene 50, Cloudland 41
The Highlanders were unable to rally past the Huskies in the consolation game.
It was a tight battle in the opening minutes before North Greene used a 12-2 run to take a 14-6 lead early in the second quarter. Conner Birchfield and Hunter Shell hit key shots to stop the run and pull CHS within five points at the break.
After the Huskies pulled out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter, Birchfield scored 11 points in the period to keep Cloudland within three points heading to the final period. The Highlanders used a run to pull within one point early in the quarter, but a 10-0 North Greene surge was too much for CHS to battle back from — despite narrowing the gap to five points.
Birchfield scored 22 points to lead all scorers, but he was the lone Highlander in double digits. Elijah Blair had seven points.
Turner Bailey led North Greene with 19 points.