When an opposing high school basketball player posts 33 points and 17 rebounds, it’s typically a sign that the game didn’t go your way.
That wasn’t the case for Maplewood on Tuesday night.
The Panthers used a disruptive defense and a 26-point outburst from Class AAA Mr. Basketball finalist Bo Hodges to capture a 64-50 win over Cheatham County in the Region 5-AA semifinals at Lipscomb Academy — despite an even better game for Cheatham County’s Mr. Basketball finalist, Austin Douglas.
“I think Bo was looking forward to the matchup since both of them are Mr. Basketball finalists,” Maplewood coach Tyron Wilson said. “At times you could tell it was personal, but Bo did a great job and his teammates did a great job of looking for him.”
The win earned Maplewood a chance at the Region 5-AA title in a showdown with Whites Creek Thursday night at Lipscomb at 7 p.m. The Cobras knocked off East Nashville 64-51 Tuesday.
Maplewood (22-5) took a 10-6 lead before a Gage Lipscomb layup made it a two-point game, but Hassan Littlepage sunk a corner 3-point try as time expired to put Maplewood ahead 13-8 after the first quarter.
The Panthers pushed that lead to nine in the second quarter, but a pair of Douglas free throws made it 27-20 at halftime.
The third quarter didn’t go well for Cheatham County (23-5), as Maplewood outscored the Cubs 18-9 and frustration surfaced with a pair of technical fouls.
“We tried to slow the game down,” said Hodges, who added six rebounds and four assists. “We just wanted to get everybody together and make sure we were doing what we were supposed to do.”
Cheatham County narrowed the deficit to 10 with less than five minutes to go, but it wasn’t enough to offset the lopsided third quarter.
While the Cubs weren’t able to find a way to win, it wasn’t due to any lack of effort on Douglas’ part.
The senior standout made the most of his last half of high school basketball, scoring 23 of Cheatham County’s 30 second-half points while dominating the boards.
“He’s that special of a player,” Cheatham County coach Josh Stuart said. “We knew going in that he’d have to play well, and he did. He carried us this entire game. All year long he’s been our leader and he did it again tonight.”
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.