GRACE ACADEMY 53, SILVERDALE BAPTIST 44
Silverdale 9 10 4 21 -- 44
Grace 13 10 16 14 -- 53
Silverdale Baptist Academy (44) -- Strawn 4, Spencer Mossburg 13, Clements 7, Dye 5, Hall 6, Delashmitt 7, Keylon, Sanders, Marshall 2.
Grace Academy (53) -- Slack 5, Hernandez 8, Smith 8, Blake Savard 15, Austin Powell 11, Hughes, Swanson, Tisdale, Godsey 1, McQueen 5, Mattheny, Mason, Cooke.
3-point goals: Silverdale 2 (Delashmitt, Mossburg); Grace 2 (Smith, McQueen). Records: Grace 12-14; Silverdale 9-22.
Grace Academy trailed Silverdale Baptist Academy for 23 seconds Tuesday in their boys' semifinal in the Region 3-A high school basketball tournament at Sale Creek, and it must have upset the Golden Eagles. Or at least one of the them.
Austin Powell made one of two free throws to tie the game again late in the first half, and his rebound basket afterward put the Golden Eagles back in front. Grace then assumed control with a predominant third quarter and beat the Seahawks 53-44.
Grace (12-14) will play Thursday in the region final against Boyd-Buchanan at 7 p.m.
Blake Savard, who topped the Eagles with 15 points, made a layup after a turnover with 12 seconds to go in the first half that extended the lead to 23-19. Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said at halftime he talked to his players about meeting the intensity he expected from the Seahawks to start the second half, and again Powell took the opportunity to assert himself.
"Right before we left the locker room Austin Powell challenged everybody to come out and play hard the first three minutes of the second half, which could potentially decide who wins the ballgame," Mattheiss said. "Everybody must have listened to him.
"Sometimes it's almost better when it comes from one of their teammates -- the captain of the team instead of the coach -- how important coming out of the locker room is."
Grace scored the first seven points in the third quarter for an 11-point lead and maintained a double-digit edge until a late Seahawks free throw for the final score.
"We played a little catch-up," Silverdale coach Randy Evans said. "We just didn't really come out with the energy we needed starting out. I think late in the second quarter we started showing some energy, but we had a few shots in the third quarter that didn't fall and I think it kind of took the wind out of our sails. When we missed them, they made them."
Powell gave Savard support with 11 points. Alex Hernandez and Josh Smith contributed eight apiece.
Spencer Mossburg's 13 points paced Silverdale, which equaled the 2007-08 team by advancing as far as a region semifinal. John Hall, who had 22 points when the Seahawks beat District 6 champion Marion County in their quarterfinal, injured his right shoulder and elbow late in the first half Tuesday, and that limited his effectiveness.
"We played a very tough schedule," said Evans, whose team ended 9-22. "I think it paid off, especially against Marion County, the district champion over here. We have come a very long way. I think our aggressiveness and team cohesion came together at the right time."
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.