Lukas Hart played like there was no tomorrow.
The Blackman High senior was going to make sure his season continued past Tuesday night’s Region 4-AAA semifinals.
Hart recorded a double-double, scoring a game-high 21 points while grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the eighth-ranked Blaze past rival La Vergne 72-46 at Siegel High. The win advanced Blackman (24-5) to Thursday’s Region 4-AAA championship, when it will play second-ranked Siegel (29-1).
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Siegel holds a 2-1 series edge over the Blaze this season, but Blackman won the most recent meeting in the District 7-AAA tournament championship.
“I personally don’t want my season to be over,” Hart said. “And I know my other senior teammates don’t want their seasons to be over too. I’m going to bring it every night the rest of the way out.”
Siegel and Blackman are guaranteed a Monday sectional contest by reaching the region finals. The Region 4-AAA champion will host the Region 3-AAA runner-up in one sectional. The Region 3-AAA champion hosts the Region 4-AAA runner-up in the other. Stone Memorial (26-6) plays Walker Valley (23-9) in the 3-AAA final.
Jauan Jennings added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Blaze, who will be attempting to win its third straight Region 4-AAA championship. Andrew Rogan had 11 points and Reid Pierce added 10.
Marquis Johns, who was one of five La Vergne senior starters, led the Wolverines with 15 points. J.J. Horner and Isaiah Reese each added 10.
“They are a really good team,” said Blackman coach Barry Wortman, whose Blaze beat La Vergne four out of six meetings this season. “They have five seniors that I have a lot of respect for. That’s the same team minus Cayman Dial that we played to a one-point game two years ago in the region finals.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for those kids and that staff. It’s been a real battle the last couple of years against those kids.”
Blackman led 22-9 with 5:15 left in the first half thanks in part to La Vergne’s 11 first-half turnovers. But the Wolverines regrouped and eventually turned an 18-point deficit to 32-21 after Isaiah Reese’s five straight points.
But point guard Isaiah Hart bumped the lead back to 13 with two free throws to end the first half.
Blackman 72, La Vernge 46
La Vergne 9 12 12 13 – 46
Blackman 14 20 16 22 – 72
La Vergne: Marquis Johns 15, D. Sparks 4, J.J. Horner 10, Sutton 5, Isaiah Reese 10, Gray 2.
Blackman: Jauan Jennings 18, I. Hart 8, Lukas Hart 21, Andrew Rogan 11, Reid Pierce 10, Wilson 4.