High School

Greeneville's Road Ends In Region Semis To Unicoi County

Greeneville's Road Ends In Region Semis To Unicoi County
Written by 
Tate Russell
March 2, 2023

ELIZABETHTON  -The Greeneville boys basketball team will not be making a return trip to the state tournament to defend its back-to-back state championships after falling to Unicoi County 59-51 on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Region 1-3A Tournament.

The Greene Devils simply had trouble scoring the ball in the second half as Unicoi County pulled away to advance to Thursday’s region championship game.

“This was a tough night,” Greeneville coach Brad Woolsey said. “I felt like the guys played hard. And I felt like (Unicoi County) did a great job of doing what they do. We kept fighting, and fighting and fighting, and I appreciated them so much for that.”

The second half started with the teams deadlocked at 29-29, but in a less-than-stellar offensive start to the second half Greeneville managed just six points in the third quarter.

It took almost three minutes for the Greene Devils first bucket to fall through, and it was a put back by Trey Thompson. It would take 4:59 for Greeneville to make another field goal when J.D. Woolsey made a three-pointer with three seconds left in the period.

“They sunk (Lucas Slagle) into the paint and anytime we tried to penetrate he was there,” coach Woolsey said. “Then he was always there boxing out getting rebounds. When we would try penetrate and kick it out we just weren’t making shots. We weren’t getting the shots  from a lot of the places we wanted to.  (Unicoi County) was just tough tonight.”

On the other end of the floor the Blue Devils did not get much more going as Greeneville’s defense kept it in the contest while their shots would not fall. Unicoi’s Grant Hensley made a pair of mid-range jumpers as the Blue Devils pushed out to a 36-35 lead at the period’s close.

The fourth quarter started with Greeneville’s Kam Lester being left open and knocking down a three-pointer to give the Devils a 38-36 advantage.

With 6:21 left the Greene Devils took their final lead when Adjatay Dabbs nailed a deep triple to make the score 41-40.

Over the next three minutes a lid formed over the rim and Greeneville could not get any type of shot to fall.

Unicoi regained the lead when Hensley sank a three-pointer. The lead grew to 47-41 before Trey Thompson hit from behind the arc to breathe some life back into Greeneville.

Greeneville’s defense kept it within striking distance until the final minute, but Dabbs was called for two fouls in quick succession and fouled out with 1:45 left. Dabbs led Greeneville 21 points on Tuesday, and his absence made an already uphill batter even steeper.

With 1:39 left Unicoi’s Eli Johnson drove the baseline to stretch the advantage to 49-44. Seven seconds later Greeneville’s answer was cut short when Thompson was called for a charge that those clad in green vehemently disagreed with.

On other end Hensley converted an old-fashioned-three-point play to give the Blue Devils a 52-44 lead with 1:18 left to play. At that point Greeneville had to start fouling and the Blue Devils went 7-for-8 at the stripe in the final 1:06 to hold on for the win.

Unicoi County started the night by jumping out to a 12-4 lead wit five different players scoring.

Greeneville brought Hayden Goad and Isaac McGill off the bench and they both quickly hit from behind the arc to close the gap 14-10.

Dabbs added five more points over the final 1:18 of the first half, but Unicoi held on to a 19-15 lead at the close of the quarter.

Unicoi’s lead grew to 25-17 early in the second quarter when Lucas Slagle slipped a pass across the lane to Mason Hensley for a layup.

Dabbs then got warmed up and started blowing by the Blue Devils on a series attacks to the rim. He scored seven points in a two-minute stretch to close the gap to 27-26.

Thompson then gave Greeneville its first lead at 29-27 when he powered in a layup through contact and made the free throw that followed.

The first half ended with Unicoi’s Kolby Jones going coast to coast for a lay in that tied the game at 29-29.

“I hope these guys remember the values of relationships we have built. I hope they learned about the value of these connections going forward,” Woolsey said. “We always want to win, and winning is why we do what we do, but the relationships we build are the ultimate thing I hope these guys remember. Then I hope the guys coming back know that we want to get back to the state tournament, and that its going to take work to get back. But I think we have the guys that can do it.”

Thompson finished the night with 18 points to go with Dabbs’ 21 points, no other Greeneville player scored more than three points.

Grant Hensley scored 26 points for the Blue Devils.

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