No members of Boyd-Buchanan's basketball starting lineup were on the court when the Bucs secured their first District 5-A championship in over a decade.
They didn't need to be.
Boyd-Buchanan set the pace early against Grace Academy on Saturday night at Chattanooga State, and went on to dominate the defending champions in a 62-38 victory. They will join the Silverdale girls, who won their first-ever district title with a 52-36 defeat of Grace on Saturday, as No. 1 seeds for next week's Region 3-A tournament.
"Winning this district is something that hasn't been done at our school in a very long time," Bucs coach Cole Rose said. "This is huge for us as far as changing the culture and raising the level of expectations. Since the beginning of school, this has been one of our goals, and it's great to see kids work really hard for something and then have it pay off."
Playing in the district final for the first time since 2003, against a Grace team that had been there in every subsequent year, the young Bucs never trailed. They opened with a basket from Hall Allen, and although Grace tied the score twice in the first quarter, Boyd-Buchanan responded each time. The Bucs led 18-12 at the end of the first, and extended their advantage to 28-18 at the half.
"Grace has a lot of good seniors, but I think the main thing we did that was really important was set the pace in the first quarter," Rose said. "Even though the margin wasn't that big at the end of the first, I felt good about it because we were playing the way we wanted to play."
The Bucs gave Rose plenty more reasons to feel good about their play, opening the third quarter with a 9-0 run that proved to be too much for Grace to overcome. Tournament MVP Austin Walker scored with 3:03 remaining in the period to give his team a 20-point advantage, and although the Golden Eagles cut it to 14 heading into the fourth, Colby Arendale opened the final quarter with a 3, and his team never looked back.
Both teams' starters left the court for good with 2:45 remaining and the Bucs leading 61-36. Rose said his team's dominant performance is a credit to his players' hard work and teamwork.
"Our guys all work really hard, and they're all very unselfish, and that shows in the way they play," Rose said. "They share the ball with each other, and they're happy no matter who gets the bucket. They don't care who gets the credit."
QD Cox led the Bucs (22-7) with 18 points, while Walker followed with 11 and Zach Jenkins added 10. Blake Savard was the only Golden Eagle in double figures with 11 points. Boyd-Buchanan will host the fourth-place team from District 6-A when the Region 3 tournament begins next week, while Grace will host the No. 3 seed from the opposing district.
Silverdale Baptist girls 52, Grace Academy 36:
What Lady Seahawks senior Mariah Massengill described as an "off-night" was still good enough to lead her team to the first girls' basketball district title in school history. After pouring in 31 points in Silverdale's semifinal, Massengill was limited to 14 against Grace, but found plenty of other opportunities to contribute.
"Nobody on this team is selfish," Massengill said. "Tonight, I had a very off game, but my team picked me up. We always help each other out. We move the ball well and we communicate well."
Although the Eastern Kentucky signee who has surpassed 2,000 career points was held scoreless in the first quarter, Massengill's assists helped Silverdale build a 16-7 lead. Teammate Megan Lewis connected on three 3-pointers in the first nine minutes as the Lady Seahawks built a 28-14 advantage at halftime.
Grace struggled to finish its scoring opportunities, and the Lady Golden Eagles trailed 42-25 at the end of three quarters. They opened the fourth on a 8-0 run to trim their deficit, but Lewis responded with her fourth 3 to help the Lady Seahawks put the game away.
"I have to say that the best team won tonight," Grace coach Les Compton said. "We made it difficult on ourselves. We certainly didn't struggle to find shots tonight, but nobody could hit."
Sierra Nunley finished with 16 points for Grace (10-14), while Lewis led all scorers with 18 points. The victory gives Silverdale its 20th win of the season, against only five losses, and after a runner-up finish last year, the Lady Seahawks finally got to celebrate a championship.
"This was one of the main goals we set at the beginning of the season, and we weren't going to stop until we got it," Massengill said. "We promised to come in first. As a team, we've jelled together as family this year. It's amazing how close we've gotten."
Arts & Sciences girls 68, Boyd-Buchanan 29:
The Lady Patriots raced to a 21-7 first-quarter lead and never looked back in the girls' third-place game. CSAS was led by Keturah Billen's 19 points, and will face the No. 2 seed from District 6-A in the upcoming region tournament.
Arts & Sciences 59, Silverdale Baptist 46:
CSAS rebounded from its disappointing first-round upset with a win over the Seahawks in the consolation game. Nick Moore led the Patriots with 18 points, and Shun Moorer followed with 17. Silverdale's Spencer Mossburg led all scorers with 24.
(E-mail Jaime Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5-A tournament at Chattanooga State
Boys' championship game
BOYD-BUCHANAN 62, GRACE ACADEMY 38
Grace Academy 12 6 11 9 -- 38
Boyd-Buchanan 18 10 15 19 -- 62
Grace (38) -- Slack, Hughes, Swanson, Hernandez 4, Smith 7, Blake Savard 11, Tisdale, Godsey 4, McQueen 4, Matheny, Mason, Powell 8.
Boyd-Buchanan (62) -- Allen 5, McMillan 8, QD Cox 18, Austin Walker 11, Zach Jenkins 10, Arendale 7, Nason 2, Jackson, Antwine 1, Clarke, Covington.
3-point goals: Grace 3 (Savard 2, Smith); Boyd-Buchanan 3 (Cox 2, Arendale).
Girls' championship game
SILVERDALE BAPTIST 52, GRACE ACADEMY 36
Grace 7 7 11 11 -- 36
Silverdale 16 12 14 10 -- 52
Grace (36) -- Mouw 3, Gill 2, Jemane, Bonner, Goodman 8, Compton, Sierra Nunley 16, Carter, McMasters 7.
Silverdale (52) -- Alosi 2, Mariah Massengill 14, Megan Lewis 18, Woodard 6, Smith, Redmond 8, Sims, Skelton 4.
3-point goals: Grace 5 (Goodman 2, Nunley 2, Mouw); Silverdale 4 (Lewis 4).
Girls' consolation game
ARTS & SCIENCES 68, BOYD-BUCHANAN 29
Boyd-Buchanan 7 6 10 6 -- 29
Arts & Sciences 21 16 16 15 -- 68
Boyd-Buchanan (29) -- Abed 5, Payne, Smith, Balthrop 3, Reno 2, Davidson, Sewell 1, McCalla, Maddie Wright 18, Roland.
Arts & Sciences (68) -- Little 4, Keturah Billen 19, Mitchell 7, Maffett 6, McElvain 6, Lee 2, Montgomery 9, R. Billen 8, Ealey, Smith 7.
3-point goals: Boyd-Buchanan 1 (Abed); Arts & Sciences none.
Boys' consolation game
ARTS & SCIENCES 59, SILVERDALE BAPTIST 46
Silverdale 8 11 11 16 -- 46
CSAS 12 17 13 17 -- 59
Silverdale (46) -- Delashmitt, Strawn 4, Keylon, Spencer Mossburg 24, Clements 4, Dye, John Hall 14, Marshall, Sanders.
CSAS (56) -- Shun Moorer 17, O'Hara, Brown, Carter 2, Taylor 6, Gordon 7, Davenport 4, Houston 5, Nick Moore 18.
3-point goals: Silverdale 2 (Mossburg 2); CSAS 5 (Moorer 3, Gordon, Houston).
Girls: Maddie Wright (Boyd-Buchanan); Arica Montgomery, Keturah Billen (CSAS); Maggie Compton, Sierra Nunley, Erica Goodman (Grace); MVP Mariah Massengill, Sloane Woodard, Megan Lewis, Haley Redmond (Silverdale).
Boys: Spencer Mossburg (Silverdale); Patrick Taylor, Nick Moore (CSAS); Blake Savard, Josh Smith, Alex Hernandez (Grace); MVP Austin Walker, Hall Allen, QD Cox, Zach Jenkins (Boyd-Buchanan).