Signal Mountain simply gave up too much too early.
Unable to find an offensive rhythm in the early going of their Region 4-AA basketball quarterfinal game, the Eagles fell behind 20-4 just past the midway point of the first quarter. And although they rallied to within three late in the third quarter, the energy used to make that comeback seemed to take its toll as the Eagles wore down in the final quarter and lost 74-57 to visiting Upperman.
"We seem to do that a lot lately -- dig ourselves into an early hole and then have to fight back," Signal Mountain coach Steve Redman said. "We were standing around too much at the start of the game. I'm not sure if it was nerves or what, but we just got too far behind and it took a lot out of us to get back in it."
The Bees led by 20 midway through the second quarter, but the Eagles closed the half on a 12-2 run, led by Jack Teter, who scored nine of his game-high 20 points during that stretch. Signal Mountain then opened the second half on a 9-3 surge to get within four and later pulled within 45-42 on B.J. Wilkerson's 3-pointer.
But after an Upperman timeout, the visitors countered with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer by Wyatt Slagle to close out the quarter. The Bees then opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers to rebuild a 15-point advantage.
"What we lack in athleticism we make up for in heart, and our kids left it all out on the floor," Redman said. "We're scrappy and you can't fault the effort."