Grace 8 7 12 12 -- 39
Watertown 22 16 12 9 -- 59
Grace Academy (39) -- Slack 5, Swanson 2, Hernandez 4, Smith 9, Roberts, Tisdale, Brandon McQueen 15, Powell 4.
Watertown (59) -- Ty Jobe 19, Jennings, Allison, Belcher 2, Moss 5, Josiah Smith 11, Macieo Gaines 18, Sackman 4, Bain.
3-point goals: Grace 4 (McQueen 3, Smith); Watertown 1 (Moss). Records: Watertown 30-3; Grace 12-16.
WATERTOWN, Tenn. -- It took the Grace Academy basketball team until the second half to make the adjustments needed to compete in its Class A sectional matchup against fourth-ranked Watertown.
It was a half too late.
The Golden Eagles committed 20 first-half turnovers in falling behind by 23. They outplayed Watertown in the final 16 minutes yet watched their season come to a close in a 59-39 loss Monday.
The Purple Tigers (30-3) will be making the program's first trip to Murfreesboro for the state tournament. They were led by Ty Jobe's 19 points and Macieo Gaines' 18 and got 11 from Josiah Smith.
Behind a capacity crowd in Watertown's first-ever sectional game, the Purple Tigers jumped to a 14-point lead after a quarter. The lead crept above 20 points before halftime and was at 26 before Grace's Brandon McQueen banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"It was a very physical first half," Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said. "They let us play; it was like a football game and we didn't adjust until halftime, but the game was decided in the first half. We didn't quit, but we probably whined about the calls we didn't get in the first half instead of playing through them.
"When you go on the road, it's never friendly confines. Watertown is a very good basketball team and very physical. That will serve them well in the state tournament."
The Golden Eagles rallied, cutting the deficit to 17 at one point in the fourth quarter behind the shooting of McQueen and Josh Smith.
McQueen led the Golden Eagles (12-16) with 15 points. Smith had nine.
"I'm proud of our guys," Mattheiss said. "We played a fairly difficult schedule and made it back to sub-state. I wanted them to experience a game like this, but not a loss like this.
"I think this group overachieved."