The storyline of Arts & Sciences' District 5-A boys' high school basketball semifinal against Boyd-Buchanan resembled that of the fable "The Tortoise and the Hare." This time, though, the hare woke up in time to win.
The CSAS Patriots got off to a fast start Friday, only to see the Buccaneers creep their way back and pass them with less than three minutes to play. But CSAS regrouped down the stretch and escaped with a 51-47 victory.
CSAS (9-14), which is hosting the tournament, advances to tonight's final at 7:30 against Grace Academy (14-10), which beat Silverdale Baptist 46-35 in the other semifinal.
In the girls' semfinals, Silverdale defeated Copper Basin 56-50 and CSAS beat Grace 55-46 in overtime. Tonight's girls' final is scheduled to start at 6 with the consolation games beforehand, beginning with the girls' game at 3.
The Patriots scored the first 11 points in their game. By the time their Frank Brogden rebounded his own miss and scored with 1:57 remaining in the first quarter, the lead was 17-2 and Boyd-Buchanan coach Cole Rose called time out for the second time.
"Youth and inexperience hurt us early in the game," Rose said. "We had to use two timeouts just to try to work through some things."
CSAS's largest lead was 23-7 on Patrick Taylor's putback for the first points of the second quarter. When Boyd-Buchanan's Jeremiah Nason converted a three-point play with 2:43 to play, the Bucs led 46-45.
"The bottom line is we started getting some stops," Rose said of the turnaround. "We didn't get our first stop until about two minutes were left in the first quarter."
The Patriots regained the lead on Taylor's driving layup at the 2:05 mark, and his penetration of the defense set up Johnathan Kurtz for a layup that made it 49-47. Rose called time out with 17.7 seconds to go to set up a play, but Boyd-Buchanan fumbled the ball away and two free throws by Kurtz sealed it with 9.3 seconds left.
"The start and the finish were both fine," CSAS coach Mark Dragoo said. "The second and third quarters is where we stunk. I'm glad we had the lead early or we could've been in trouble.
"Boyd-Buchanan has improved all year long. They're small but they're very physical. They're pesky and they don't let up. They play their roles very well."
Those roles aren't as big scorers. Hall Allen led the Bucs with 10 points, Nason scored nine and John Hale added eight after none of them scored in the first quarter.
Kurtz paced the winners with 17 points. Taylor finished with 16.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.