Blaze, Stars reach championship game

Blaze, Stars reach championship game

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Blaze, Stars reach championship game

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SMYRNA

Blackman recaptured its third-quarter magic Saturday.

But it almost didn’t have an answer for Oakland guard George Stanberry.

The top-ranked Blaze reached their second consecutive District 7-AAA boys basketball championship game with a 69-57 win over Oakland.

Blackman (25-0) outscored the Patriots 20-7 in the third quarter to break open a Blackman 1-point lead at half. It continued a trend of strong third-quarter performances against 7-AAA foes by the Blaze.

“We did a nice job,” Blackman coach Barry Wortman said of the quarter. “Statistically, I could be wrong, but statistically we held them without a rebound in the third quarter. That’s after they got us in the first half.

“We’ve talk about that it for three days now, and talked about it at halftime.”

Blackman plays Siegel (25-3) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the championship. La Vergne (18-10) plays Oakland (16-10) at 6 p.m. in the consolation.

Vanderbilt commit Darius Thompson, a Mr. Basketball finalist, led the Blaze with 18 points and had seven assists. Quindell Cousin added 12 points and eight rebounds. And Justin Coleman had nine points and seven rebounds.

The Blaze led by as many as 22 points at 59-37 in the fourth quarter before Stanberry put the Patriots back in position to pull off the upset.

Stanberry scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 straight points at one point to trim the deficit to 61-50 before Josh Maher’s layup ended the rally.

“He has great instincts,” Wortman said of Stanberry. “He’s a hard-playing kid. We were a little lose with the ball with the lead. That’s probably a credit to how competitive he is. We just have to do a better job with it with a 21-point lead.”

But Stanberry countered with a pair of free throws with 1:45 remaining and later hit his fourth 3-pointer to make it 65-55 with 30.5 seconds left.

“He was playing in attack mode,” Thompson said. “As soon as we let up, he started attacking us.”

Emmanuel Smith added 13 points, including 11 in the first half. Kyle Oliver had 10.

“(Stanberry) let us get back in it,” Oakland coach Mike Wright said. “I thought we had about a three-minute stretch in the game where we just fell off and lost some intensity.

“We didn’t hold them from making their one big run.”

Blackman 69, Oakland 57

Oakland 16 12 7 22 — 57

Blackman 19 10 20 20 — 69

Oakland: Stanberry 26, Epps 2, Oliver 10, E. Smith 13, Gains 2, Lippert 4

Blackman: Cousin 12, McMiller 8, Dowdy 4, Thompson 18, Jennings 7, Maher 4, Coleman 9, Rogan 7.

Siegel came back from an early double-digit deficit to clinch a spot in the 7-AAA championship game.

Siegel outscored La Vergne 14-1 in the final 2:45 to pull off the win.

Siegel point guard Ryan Jones led all scorers with 26 points, which tied a career high. He had 13 in the fourth quarter. Siegel outscored La Vergne 27-12 in the final quarter.

“I wanted to win,” Jones said. “That was the main thing. I knew we were going to play hard.”

Charles Clark added nine and Damien Clark had eight for the Stars.

“We’ve withstood a lot of good teams’ best blows this year,” Siegel coach Ben Dotson said. “We’ve got a junior-led team, but it seems like they are seniors out there. They’ve been together long enough to battle. We just fought back.”

Siegel 66, La Vergne 55

La Vergne 16 13 14 12 — 55

Siegel 6 20 13 27 — 66

La Vergne: Cowart 6, Fuller 4, Horner 6, Johns 3, Reese 8, Sparks 9, Sutton 15, Shaw 2, Reyes 2.

Siegel: C. Clark 9, Trice 2, Gooch 3, Jones 26, McGee 2, Martin 6, Simpson 4, Burton 6, D. Clark 8.

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