After a tough semifinal loss Friday, East Hamilton basketball coach Andrew Webb had a simple message to prepare his Hurricanes for their third-place game in the annual Best of Preps tournament.
"Wake up and show up," Webb told his team.
The Hurricanes clearly took their coach's directive to heart, opening Saturday's matchup against Brainerd with a 29-point outburst in the first quarter and riding the momentum of that quick start to a 70-53 win at Chattanooga State.
"We've focused on starting faster, and that first quarter was really, really big for us," Webb said. "We knew we were going against a historically good team with a lot of talent, so we had to come ready to play early."
In the girls' third-place game, Red Bank used stingy defense to jump out to an early lead and went on to hold off Sequatchie County 51-39.
In other consolation action, Notre Dame defeated Silverdale Baptist Academy 48-46 in the girls' fifth-place game and GPS beat Brainerd 58-27 in the seventh-place game. Red Bank's boys defeated Stewarts Creek 59-56 for fifth place, and Ooltewah beat Notre Dame 42-34 for seventh place.
Darwin Randolph scored 11 of his 15 points and Haynes Eller connected on three 3-pointers all in the first quarter to help East Hamilton jump out to a 29-14 advantage. After their lead had been cut to single digits, the Hurricanes (7-8) began the second half with a 16-point scoring barrage to regain command.
Jordan Harris led the Hurricanes with 16 points, and Marcus Long added 14, including two of his team's nine 3-pointers. Terry jackson's 12 points paced Brainerd (5-7).
Red Bank's girls (13-4) held Sequatchie County (5-8) to just three first-quarter points and outscored the Lady Indians 16-11 to open the second half. Those two quarters proved to be the difference.
"I was anxious to see how we would bounce back and respond after a tough loss the day before," Lady Lions coach Bailey McGinnis said. "It was a tough, physical game, but I really liked the effort we gave."
Lady Lions sophomore guard Savannah Washington led all scorers with 12 points, and Raijeria Bell added 11. Sequatchie County was led in scoring for the third straight game by Peyton Longson, who finished with 11 points.
"Savannah is an incredible athlete," McGinnis said. "She's one of the most talented players I've coached. She can put a team on her back and lead us. The fight in her this season is something that not a lot of kids her age have."