Brainerd's Joe Derrick turned, faced the basket and made a high-post jumper with 1:25 to play in the last of four semifinals Saturday in the District 6-AA high school basketball tournament at East Hamilton.
It's big news in that those were the final points in the fourth-seeded Panthers' 49-47 upset of top-seeded Howard.
Brainerd coach Robert High said they were big in another way, too.
"We've been telling him all year, 'When you get the ball in there, square up and take that shot,'" High said. "First time all year."
With his Red Bank team down five points early in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Clay scored nine consecutive points and the Lions never trailed again on the way to defeating Tyner 67-60.
The day's opener was a foulfest that Tyner's girls won over Brainerd, 39-26. Top-seeded East Hamilton won the second girls' game 50-35 over Howard.
Tyner (18-6) will play East Hamilton (19-10) in the girls' final Tuesday at 6 p.m. Red Bank (23-7) will play Brainerd (16-13) for the boys' championship at 7:30.
Consolation games are Monday night with Howard's girls facing Brainerd (19-10) at 6 and Howard's boys (18-6) taking on Tyner (15-6) at 7:30. All remaining teams move on to region play.
Damon Warren and Demetrius Kitchens made two 3-point shots apiece in the last 6:50 with the Panthers down 42-35 right beforehand. Led by Warren's four, six of Brainerd's field goals came from behind the arc. Jalen Stallion sparked Brainerd with 13 points and 10 steals.
The Hustlin' Tigers' KeanteCameron, who made three 3-pointers but missed from halfcourt at the final buzzer, scored 11 points, as did teammate Deontay Suttles.
Red Bank's Clay scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter.
"We never have shot well in this building," Red Bank coach John Cherne said. "I think he was the only one hitting some jumpers."
Nick Ross contributed 15 points for the Lions, whose largest lead was 43-34.
Tyner's Trey Suttles worked the inside for a team-high 19 points and point guard Travis Jones added 14. Dee Suttles scored 12 points for the Rams before fouling out with 48 seconds left.
Tyner's girls led from the time Alexxus Sturkey drove the length of the floor for a layup that made it 7-6, but her failure to complete the three-point play was a sign of things to come. The Lady Rams were in the bonus as early as the 1:46 mark of the first quarter, but ended up 7-for-20 from the free-throw line in the first half. They wound up shooting 11-for-38.
"We're a lot more mentally tough than we showed today," Tyner coach Terrie Parks said. "Free throws and layups, that's our game. That's why we press and fastbreak."
Parks at least was pleased with the effort by her inside players, particularly substitutes Treketta Bonds and Kennedy Speight. Sturkey led Tyner with 16 points and Brittany McKinney addded 10.
Brainerd, which made 12 of 25 free throws, got 10 points from Tiara Boston. Her rebound basket with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter ended a field-goal drought that began after Anisha Douglas made a 3-pointer at 6:09 of the second quarter.
East Hamilton's girls got off to a 12-2 start but saw that lead evaporate to two points before taking an 18-14 lead at halftime. Outscoring the Lady Hustlin' Tigers 19-9 in the third quarter turned things the Lady Hurricanes' way for good.
"The second half we knocked down some long-range jumpers," East Hamilton coach Derek Morris said. "That always helps a little bit. That started to open things up. I think they started pressing a little bit then and forcing some shots. That allowed us to get out in transition."
Post player Alexis Adams led East Hamilton with 16 points. Point guard Jessica Caudle came back from a leg injury in the second quarter and chipped in with 11 points. Deronesha Smartt's 13 points led Howard.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or email@example.com.
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