The Bucs (20-10) will face Hampton, which scored a dramatic 49-47 win over Cosby, in Thursday’s championship game. It will be the fourth meeting of the season for University High and Hampton, who split during the regular season. Meredith hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to lift the Bucs to the win in the District 1-A championship game.
University High also advanced to next Monday’s sectional round with a chance to make it back to the state tournament for a second straight year.
Meredith smothered the Blue Devils’ chances, hitting 16 of 26 shots from the field and grabbing eight rebounds.
Marshall Fleenor provided University High with an all-around effort of 15 points, six rebounds and three steals. Mason Broome cleaned up with another 12 points and eight rebounds.
“People knew we were going to have a good team. To get to this level is incredible,” University High coach Herman Rice said. “The kids have worked extremely hard. They have a never-quit attitude. Marshall Fleenor was sick tonight and had to leave the game about two minutes, but he came back, finished the game and showed the leadership of a senior.
“Kaleb Meredith is one of the best players in the state. I would argue that with anybody. He’s a big-game player who shows up and works extremely hard. When the ball is in the air, he’s ready to go.”
University High took control early, up 21-12 at the end of one quarter and racing out to a 39-18 halftime lead.
Hayden Llewellyn led the Blue Devils with 28 points. Jordan King and Bobby Zecchini each scored eight as their hopes were squashed.
Hampton 49, Cosby 47
With the ball under their basket, the Bulldogs (24-10) ran an in-bounds play — resulting in a game-winning bucket by Caleb Oaks with five seconds left.
Garrett Vines made a steal on the next play to secure the win. Rocky Croy led Hampton with 11 points, followed by Caleb Oaks. Conor Jones scored eight and Jordan Bentley had seven in a balanced attack.
Trey Johnson paced Cosby’s efforts with 19 points. Braden Shaffer totaled 15.
The Bulldogs also secured a berth in Monday’s sectionals. Thursday’s regional final could be moved to a closer venue for both teams. That decision is expected to be made Wednesday morning.