It may not have been the round when most expected to see the matchup, but today's consolation finals in the Best of Preps basketball tournament features another chapter in one of the area's most heated rivalries.
Baylor and McCallie, each a tough-luck loser in Thursday's opening round, won consolation games Friday to set up a battle between the two for fifth place today at 2:30 p.m. at Chattanooga State. McCallie (5-5) overcame a slow start to down Grace Academy 62-48, and Baylor (7-3) held off a late charge by Ringgold to win 53-48.
The Lookout Valley and Tyner girls play for seventh place at 10 a.m., followed by the Grace Academy and Ringgold boys at 11:30. The fifth-place girls' game pits East Hamilton and Signal Mountain at 1 p.m. The third-place games are at 4 and 5:30.
McCallie's Blue Tornado, after winning the tournament the past two years, were still feeling the effects of Thursday's tough loss to Tyner in the early going Friday. However, after trailing 11-8 at the end of one period they woke up behind the slashing play of JeVaughn Craig and Adrian Thomas.
The two combined for 35 points for the game and did much of the damage in a 22-point second period as McCallie took a 30-27 lead into halftime. The margin was five entering the final period, when the more athletic Blue Tornado finally wore Grace down.
"It was tough to get them back up after last night, and it took us until halftime to figure out which guys were going to play hard," said McCallie coach Dan Wadley, whose team forced 34 turnovers while committing 26. "It was pretty ugly at times, but we found a way."
Blake Savard topped Grace (4-8) with 16 points, with Will Slack adding 14.
Baylor never could shake Ringgold (5-7) despite Matt Clendenen's 26 points. In fact, the Tigers had several opportunities to tie or take the lead in the final four minutes but missed their final six shots from the field to go with four free throws. The teams combined for only 12 fourth-period points.
"It was a tough game, but a lot of it had to do with Ringgold," Baylor coach Austin Clark said. "They hustled and played hard and were real aggressive the entire game."
On today's unusual matchup with McCallie, Clark would only say, "It's tough, but it's fun for the fans and the kids. It should be interesting."
• East Hamilton girls 46, Lookout Valley 15: The Lady Hurricanes (2-11) held Lookout Valley to two total points in the middle quarters to earn a berth in the fifth-place game. Rhyne Howard topped the winners with eight points.
• Signal Mountain girls 52, Tyner 30: Aryn Sanders poured in 27 points and helped spark a quick start for the Lady Eagles (8-6), who led 19-8 after one period and kept going. Porchia Turner had another strong outing for Tyner (1-6) with 22 points.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or 423-757-6296.