ROGERSVILLE - South Greene hung on to claim a 73-69 win in the first round of the Big H BBQ Christmas Bash at Cherokee High School over a pesky Union County squad on Saturday.
The Rebels jumped out to a quick five point lead to start the day, but that lead was short lived when Bryson Merril nailed a three from out front that swung the Patriots in front 10-7 half way through the first quarter.
TJ Buckner answered with a three-point play the old-fashioned way to even the score. Cooper Kelley next hit a short jumper, then Jase Roderick put back a Buckner miss. At the buzzer Woody Hixson was fouled as he attempted a long three and hit one of the three free tosses to give the Rebels a 15-10 cushion at the end of the first stanza.
The second quarter started with the southpaw Kelley burying a three from the elbow to put the Rebels up six at 18-12.
Not to be outdone Union's Max Richardson sank a three of his own to keep the Patriots close. Jase Roderick found a wide open Hixson for an easy bucket then Roderick stole the inbound pass for an easy layup for himself, and the Rebs were up 22-15.
South Greene managed to stretch the lead out to 34-28 when Hayden Birdwell hit both ends of a one-and-one with 42 seconds to play in the half. The half ended with the Rebels up 34-28.
To start the third quarter the two team matched each other play for play until Union went on an 8-0 run and tied the score at 41-41. Richardson capped the run by hittting a jumper from out front.
Birdwell banked one off the glass and Buckner laid one in to give the Rebels a lead at 46-43.
Ty Edds drove the lane for a layup and was fouled, but missed at the line, then Merril tied it again at 48-48 with a jumper from the free throw line.
Buckner found Kelley in the lane and Kelley hit the layup though contact. He would complete the three-point play and gave his team a three point lead with 1:13 on the clock. Then with 19 seconds to go Kelley dropped a three from the corner and the Rebs would lead heading into the final period 59-54.
After about three minutes into the fourth quarter South Greene coach Terry Hoese went to a Plan B.
Coach Hoese said, “They stayed back in the 2-3 zone, and weren’t coming out of it and we weren’t getting good shots, so we slowed it down some and made them come up and spread the court a little bit."
That strategy worked and Andrew Thornburg hit two free throws before Buckner hit a big bucket to give South Greene a seven-point cushion at 65-58 with 3:55 to play. It was a free throw shooting contest for the remainder of the game and the Rebs out shot the Patriots to hang on for the win 73-69.
Four Rebels finished in double figures with Buckner leading all scorers with 21 points. Kelley had 18 points, Roderick 12 and Birdwell 11.
Buckner 21, Roderick 12, Marshall 1, Toth 1, Kelly 18, Thornburg 6, Hixson 3, Birdwell 11
Edds 18, Nease 9, Merril 19, Miracle 1, Richardson 18, Earl 4