ROGERSVILLE - The Greeneville Greene Devils are district champs for the fifth straight year but they had to work hard for this one. The Devils beat the Fighting Cocks of Cocke County 55-40 in a game that much closer that the final score indicates to claim the District 2-3A title.
Greeneville Coach Brad Woolsey said, “We’re blessed with great kids to make this stuff happen. Kam (Lester) really stepped up when we needed him."
Cocke County came out fighting and took a nine-point lead when Ethan Fine nailed a three and forced Woolsey into a timeout. After the time out the Devils settled down a bit and Adjatay Dabbs drove the lane with 40 seconds to play in the first quarter. After An empty Cocke County possession the Devils would have one more shot in the opening quarter. It was a 30 footer out front by Dabbs and it hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded and the Devils were closer at 13-9.
By the midway point of the second quarter Greeneville had inched its way into a 19-19 tie as Trey Thompson was fouled on his way for a layup and his free toss was good. The two teams swapped buckets for a bit until Hayden Goad knocked down a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left in the first half.
Cocke County was holding for the last shot of the half but a turnover gave the ball back to the Devils. Jayquan Price went almost unguarded for an easy layup and the Devils had a slim one point lead at the half at 25-24.
Price opened the second half with a corner three, Kam Lester drove the lane with authority for a layup and Dabbs made a nice euro step in the lane that gave the Devils a 31-26 lead at the4:40 mark.
Lester scored on the next two possessions on near identical passes from Thompson and J.D. Woolsey. Dabbs finished off a 10-0 run with a short jumper in the lane for the Devils. Brazen Stewart hit an elbow three as the third quarter buzzer went off, but the Devils out scored the Fighting Cocks 16-5 in the third quarter for a 40-30 lead.
The Fighting Cocks were forced to foul down the stretch but the Devils were up to the task hitting 13-of-14 free throw in the fourth quarter en route to their fifth consecutive District title, 55-40.
Woolsey's message to the team at halftime was, "We have to do what we’re supposed to do, we have to sprint back in transition and on offense we have to be able to handle their physicality, and we did better at that in the second half”.
Dabbs led Greeneville on Tuesday with 19 points while Pirce had 16 and Lester 10. Stewart led Cocke County with 10 points.
Price, Lester and Thompson were selected and all-tournament while Dabbs was the MVP of the tournament. The regular season all-district was also announced with Dabbs, Price and Lester making the team, and Thompson was named the regular season MVP.
Greeneville now moves on to the Region 1-3A Tournament where its will face Sullivan East at home on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
Price 16, Goad 2, Dabbs 19, Thompson 8, Lester 10
Stewart 14, France 9, Fine 5, Baxter 5, Hayes 4, Ramos 2, Woods 1