It didn't take long to determine the outcome of the Region 3-AA quarterfinal game at Tyner Saturday night.
The game itself took right at an hour to play, but it was obvious in the opening minute that the Polk County Wildcats were in for a long evening against a very good basketball team.
It was never close as the Rams advanced with the 73-29 victory.
Tyner scored nine straight points in the opening 90 seconds and the difference was 23-9 when the quarter ended.
The Wildcats couldn't hit the ocean from the end of the pier in the second quarter as they didn't score until the final minute of the half when Bryce Coffey scored on a short banker with 52 seconds left.
The difference was 38-11 at the break.
The second half wasn't much different.
With Tyner coach Gerald Harris substituting as much as possible, the onslaught continued as the Rams scored a dozen unanswered points in the opening four minutes.
By the time Polk scored on a pair of free throws by Cody Groomes with 3:19 left in the third, the difference was 50-13.
A steal and a fast-break slam by Raymond Howard with 5:22 left gave Tyner its biggest lead of the game at 67-22.
"We really didn't know much about Polk County, but we wanted to use defensive intensity to take charge in this game," Harris said after his team had improved to 22-3.
"We came out prepared and hungry and we had to take advantage of our opportunities. Looking at the records before the game began, I would have expected a score similar to this, but these kids are really playing well together and they don't care who gets the credit as long as we keep winning.
"It's about playing hard and having fun. We always have fun when we win, but we always talk about the big picture and how this was just another step along the way," Harris nodded.
Polk County coach Rusty Brewer knew that his team was in for a tough time long before the opening tip.
"Tyner has a very talented team and they do a lot of things well. We had plenty of opportunities, but we just didn't shoot very well. You can't dig a hole like that for yourself and beat a bunch like that," he said before heading to the dressing room.
Sadik Spence was the leader for Tyner with 17 points, 13 of which came in the first half.
DeQuan Hardwick followed with 12, all in the first half including 10 in the first quarter when the Rams were scoring almost at will. Landon Strickland was next with nine points as all 15 Rams played and 12 of them scored at least two points.
Devin Weber led the way for the Wildcats with 11 points while Groomes was also in double figures with 10.
Tyner also had a 31-23 advantage on the boards with Howard leading the Rams with six. Groomes and Weber both had five caroms for Polk, which ended its season at 8-22.
Tyner advances to play East Ridge in the second boys semifinal at East Ridge on Tuesday.
East Ridge beat Sequoyah 73-62.
BRAINERD 73 LOUDON 49 - Brainerd led 38-27 and never trailed in the second half going on to win 73-49. Loudon cut the lead to 43-38 after two three-pointers by Clay Jenkins but the Panthers didn't get rattled coasting in the final quarter.
Orlando Moore had 25 points for Brainerd. Wendall Graham scored 12 of his 15 points from beyond the arc. Clay Jenkins led Loudon with 19 points and hit five three-pointers.
Brainerd will play McMinn Central in the other semifinal on Tuesday at East Ridge.
McMinn Central ended Chattanooga Central's season with a 64-61 win.
POLK COUNTY 9 2 8 10 -- 29
TYNER 23 15 21 14 -- 73
POLK CO. (29) -- Sipe 2, Locke 2, Ownbey, Coffey 3, Groomes 10, Frerichs 1, Wimberley, Cross, Richmond, Weber 11.
TYNER (73) -- Watson 5, Spence 17, Maston 4, Jones 2, Hardwick 12, Cameron 2, Bullock, Strickland 9, Howard 4, Fleming, Bonds 6, Russell 2, Wilson 4, Watkins 6, Halfacre.
3-POINT GOALS: Polk Co. 5 (Groomes 2, Weber 3); Tyner 3 (Watson, Spence, Strickland).
BRAINERD 17 21 14 21 -- 73
LOUDON 13 14 13 9 -- 49
BRAINERD (73) -- Orlando Moore 25, Wendall Graham 16, Tipton 9, Moore 6, Lee 5, Shropshire 4, Evans 4, Melvin 2, Herman 2
LOUDON (49) -- Clay Jenkins 19, Norton 10, Arden 8, Ferguson 7, Nichols 2, Carter 3
3-POINT GOALS: Brainerd 6 (Graham 4, Tipton 1, Lee 1); Loudon 10 (Jenkins 5, Arden 2, Carter 1, Norton 1, Ferguson 1)
at East Ridge
Brainerd vs McMinn Central 6 p.m.
Tyner vs East Ridge 7:30 p.m.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)