published Friday, March 4th, 2011

Patriots win 3-A title

ARTS & SCIENCES 65, LOOKOUT VALLEY 48

Arts & Sciences 14 16 15 20 — 65

Lookout Valley 14 10 5 19 — 48

Arts & Sciences (65) — Brogden, Woodruff 5, M. Ball, Alex Stallion 18, Malik Dodds 10, Collins, Taylor, Kirtz, Sharif Cobb 23, Gordon, Houston, A. Ball, Austin 2, Lenoir 7.

Lookout Valley (48) — William Long 19, Farmer 5, Clounch, Pickett 3, Melton, Gay 3, Morris, Stracey Bonner 11, Jones, Heathington 7, Dozier, Parham, Rudolph.

3-point goals: CSAS 3 (Dodds 2, Cobb); Lookout Valley 6 (Long, Farmer, Pickett, Gay, Bonner, Heathington). Records: CSAS 27-4; Lookout Valley 21-11.

All-region tournament: Sharif Cobb (MVP), Alex Stallion, Justin Austin, Jackson Lenoir (Arts & Sciences); Stracey Bonner, Delaney Heathington, William Long (Lookout Valley); Hogan Whitmire (Signal Mountain); Sheldon Hitchcock (Van Buren).

Of all the basketball knowledge he could pass along, Arts & Sciences coach Mark Dragoo picked the simplest logic to inspire his team before Thursday’s Region 3-A championship game at Signal Mountain.

“I reminded the guys that it’s a whole lot easier to play a sectional at home than it is to go on the road,” Dragoo said. “It was up to them to make sure we got to host.”

With that in mind, the sixth-ranked Patriots pulled away from stubborn Lookout Valley in the second half, claiming a 65-48 victory for their second straight region title. Arts & Sciences will host Friendship Christian in a Class A sectional Monday, while Lookout Valley travels to Clay County.

“865 East Third Street were the numbers we cared about the most,” Dragoo added, referring to the address for his home gym. “Lookout Valley does a very good job of playing in their roles, but our guys turned the energy up in the third quarter and did what we had to.”

The Patriots (27-4) were too fast in transition in the early going, opening the game on an 8-0 run, with each basket coming off a fastbreak. Lookout Valley pulled even by the end of the quarter and led briefly midway through the second before CSAS closed out the half on an 8-0 run, highlighted by Malik Dodds’ two 3-pointers.

The Patriots forced four quick turnovers in the third quarter, turning each into points as part of an 11-0 run that put the game out of reach. Sharif Cobb scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and was named the tournament’s MVP.

“We didn’t want them hanging around very long in the second half,” Cobb said. “They had gotten a little momentum in the first half, and we knew if they kept it close anything can happen.

“I feel like with my experience, when my team needs a lift it’s my job to give us that. This was a really big win because we all know it’s a much easier route to the state tournament when you play at home on Monday in front of our home fans.”

The Yellow Jackets, who had won eight straight games coming in, never got closer than 12 in the final quarter. CSAS connected on six of its final eight free throws and got four more uncontested layups off turnovers in the final 2:40.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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