SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. - Normalcy returned to the District 6-A basketball tournament Monday. After a day of upsets Saturday, in which the lower-seeded teams won all four games, the higher seeds reclaimed dominance Monday, but just barely in the nightcap.
No. 2 seed Sale Creek overcame a seven-point deficit with just over two minutes remaining to grab a 47-45 boys' win over sixth-seeded Lookout Valley. Chase Janow's 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining gave the Panthers a two-point lead and Janow added a free throw later to push the lead to its final margin. Lookout Valley was called for an offensive foul and never got off the potential tying shot.
"I knew we needed a big shot, and when the ball just swung around to me I didn't hesitate," said Janow, who scored 23 points.
Although it was a struggle at times, Marion County's top-seeded and defending champion boys pulled away late to claim a 65-54 win over Whitwell.
Van Buren County's top-seeded girls beat Lookout Valley 62-32, but the seventh-seeded Richard Hardy girls took second seed Whitwell to the wire before the Lady Tigers won 65-57.
Whitwell will play Van Buren tonight in the girls' title game, preceded by the Lookout Valley vs. Richard Hardy consolation game at 6:30 EST. The boys' third-place and championship games are set for Wednesday.
Having lost both regular-season meetings with Marion, the Whitwell boys stayed close Monday with 10 3-point baskets. After Logan Burdette hit consecutive 3s ending the first quarter and opening the second, giving Whitwell a five-point lead, Marion responded with a 7-0 run. And once the Warriors had the lead, they never gave it back, although the Tigers kept it close, including missing a 3 midway through the fourth period when they were down by just four.
"It's really hard to beat anybody three times, but especially a rival," said Marion coach Chuck Keef, whose team hadn't played in nine days. "I thought we were a little rusty from the layoff.
"When they got hot from the outside we just had to ride out the storm and hope they didn't stay that hot."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.