Clarkrange 18 12 10 13 -- 53
Boyd-Buchanan 19 11 16 1 -- 49
Clarkrange (53) -- Norman, Landon Baldwin 15, Hall, Siens 2, Taylor Edwards 11, Garrett Stults 11, Chase Beaty 14.
Boyd-Buchanan (49) -- Hall Allen 10, Justus McMillan 10, Cox 4, Austin Walker 13, Jenkins 4, Avendale 2, Nason 6.
3-point goals: Clarkrange 5 (Edwards 3, Stults 2); Boyd-Buchanan 5 (Allen 2, Walker 2, McMillan). Other highlights: Baldwin 11 r (C); Zach Jenkins 7 r; Walker 4 s (BB). Records: Clarkrange 18-16; Boyd-Buchanan 25-8.
For 24 minutes of Monday night's TSSAA Class A boys' sectional basketball game, Boyd-Buchanan showed no signs of letting the enormity of the game get in the way. Ahead eight with one period to play against Clarkrange at a packed Chattanooga State, the Buccaneers were poised to end a long state-tournament drought.
It is Clarkrange, however, that will be playing in Mufreesboro next week after a nightmarish fourth period resulted in a 53-49 Boyd-Buchanan loss. The Bucs, who were a missed layup at the end of the third quarter from going up 10, were outscored 10-1 in a physical final eight minutes.
"I think the moment may have been too big for us this year," Boyd-Buchanan coach Cole Rose said of his team, which has no seniors. "We looked, for the first time in a long time, young. Clarkrange was in this position last year and lost, so when they started the fourth period down eight they had their backs to the wall and stepped up. That's what good teams do, and I didn't think we did tonight."
An 11-5 run to end the third period, capped by Austin Walker's floater in the lane over 6-foot-6 Landon Baldwin, pushed the Bucs (25-8) up eight and sent an already raucous student section into a frenzy. The missed layup at the buzzer, though, was a portent of things to come.
The Buffaloes (18-16), their defense up a notch, scored nine quick points in the first two minutes of the final period to erase all of Boyd-Buchanan's good work. Taylor Edwards hit a long 3-pointer and Garrett Stults made a steal and a layup, resulting in Rose calling a quick timeout.
"We settled for too many 3s in the second half, and it came back to get us," he said. "Defensively we didn't get the stops we needed to. I thought they moved their feet better and they were more physical. We just seemed to quit going into the lane. For some reason we seem to fall in love with the long-distance shots."
Zach Jenkins made a free throw to briefly tie the game -- the Bucs' lone point -- and after Baldwin made one of two free throws on Clarkrange's next possession, the game went scoreless for nearly five minutes as the teams traded empty possessions.
A Bucs turnover with 40 seconds to play down one led to a pair of Chase Beaty free throws, and when Jeremiah Nason's 3-point attempt fell off the rim with 11 seconds to play, the Buffaloes secured the rebound and the game. Clarkrange ends its own drought of state play, having last appeared in 1990.
"We've been in a lot of close games this year, so this wasn't unfamiliar territory," winning coach Rodney Pile said. "That experience really helped us tonight. Boyd-Buchanan is a very good offensive team and they had us reeling a couple of times. We've been getting knocked down all year, though, and we keep bouncing back every time."
Baldwin led four players in double figures with 15 points and added 11 rebounds, while Beaty had 14 points and Edwards and Stults scored 11 each. Walker topped Boyd-Buchanan with 13 points, with Hall Allen and Justus McMillan adding 10 apiece.