DUNLAP, Tenn. -- After seeing Notre Dame score five quick points to begin their District 7-AA semifinal matchup Thursday, Sequatchie County boys' basketball coach Jason Smith called a timeout.
His message was to loosen up, and the response came through pretty clear, pretty quickly.
The Indians stormed back to take the lead, then took control of the game with a 12-0 second-quarter run. Their lead reached 14 by halftime and they cruised to a 77-54 victory to advance to the tournament final Saturday in their gym.
Sequatchie (26-2) will face Signal Mountain at 7:30. Notre Dame will face Bledsoe County in the 4:30 consolation game. All four teams advance to the region tournament.
Daniel Cartwright led the Indians with 27 points and 10 assists and added six rebounds. Rodney Smith and Trevor Holland combined to score 30 points, while Kegan Frederick added 12 plus eight rebounds and three blocks.
Stedmon Ford led the Irish (13-17) with 21 points and seven steals
Thursday's game was a far cry from the two regular-season meetings, both close Sequatchie wins. And Notre Dame won last season's district tournament championship over the Indians.
"I thought that Sequatchie elevated their game to a different level, and we didn't match that," Notre Dame coach Brad Harris said. "The tournament atmosphere sped us up, and they started getting all of the loose balls and killing us on the glass.
"All credit goes to them."
Smith thought his team responded well out of the early timeout.
"We were being hesitant," he said. "We started to settle down and get some good looks, but I really thought our defense won the game. Notre Dame has some guys that can play, so we wanted to concentrate on closing out, pressuring the ball and getting it out of [Ford's] hands.
"I thought we were ready, though. The guys worked hard all week to be ready for this game."
The lead reached 30 in the fourth quarter before Ford created some turnovers and had some layups on the other end.
Sheldon Brogden had 13 points for Notre Dame.
"Now begins the real test. How will we respond?" Harris said. "We have to come back tomorrow ready to work."