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East lands in the record books for 3-pointers

Douglas Fritz • Apr 17, 2020 at 10:00 AM

It’s official: Sullivan East had a record-setting basketball season from behind the arc.

Head coach John Dyer confirmed Wednesday the Patriots earned a spot in the TSSAA record books, shattering the state’s all-time mark for 3-pointers attempted and earning the No. 2 spot for treys made during the 2019-20 season.

Also, former Patriots’ star Gavin Grubb was added to the record books for assists and free throws.

Dyer said he held off on releasing the team’s 3-point information until the numbers were officially included in the state’s record books, which occurred this week.

East’s shooters were turned loose by Dyer as he relied on what the players did best.

“I knew one of our strengths would be shooting the basketball,” said Dyer, who announced his retirement from coaching during the season. “We had four guys who could make the three. It was just consistent. All we talked about was making the extra pass and shooting an open one. It all comes from driving the basketball and making good passes.”

East attempted 1,032 shots from 3-point land, an average of 31.3 per game. That shattered the previous record of 896, which was set by the Patrick Good-led David Crockett team that made the Class AAA state tournament in 2016. Science Hill’s 2013 squad, which played 40 games, stands in fifth place with 861 attempts.

The Patriots finished second on the all-time list with 377 3-pointers made, an impressive average of 11.4 per game. Dylan Bartley (3.2 per game), Ethan Bradford (2.9) and Mason Montgomery (2.7) did the bulk of the damage. Eric Hare was also a threat, hitting 1.1 per game.

White County holds the record of 388, set in 30 games in 2016. A stunning upset in the region semifinals was White County’s only loss that season. Science Hill stands fourth on the list with 345 while David Crockett is fifth with 331.

The Patriots had a shot at eclipsing White County. East made 13 treys in the season-ending region quarterfinal loss to Grainger, a tough decision by — you guessed it — three points (74-71).

“We needed one more game,” said Dyer.

East made 36.5 percent from 3-point land, using an offensive approach that was exclusively layups and treys.

“We probably set a record for the least amount of attempts from six to 15 feet,” Dyer said.

The best news for East, and whoever takes over the program, is the entire roster returns with the exception of the graduating Hare. So another assault on the record books could be in the future.

“Our guys this year were very young,” said Dyer. “And we played as tough of a schedule as we’ve played here. We got better and better, and it’s just great for the future.”

GAVIN GRUBB

While researching East’s place in 3-point history, Dyer’s attention was directed to some leaders in other categories. He went back to his record books and found Grubb should be on the state’s lists.

Grubb now ranks No. 3 in career assists (793), second in free throws attempted (937) and third in free throws made (714).

“It was pretty awesome,” said Dyer. “We all know what a great career he had, and this put icing on the cake.”

Grubb recently completed his sophomore season at Johnson University in Knoxville. He averaged 15.2 points per game for the Royals, who went 19-11 and reached the National Christian College Athletic Association national tournament in Missouri.

“They were eating their pregame meal prior to the first game when the tournament was canceled,” said Dyer.

One of Grubb’s biggest accomplishments in high school was leading the Patriots to the Class AA state tournament in 2017. East was defeated 71-55 by Nashville Maplewood, which was led by Bo Hodges and went on to win the state title. These days, Hodges is a star at East Tennessee State University.

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