In Hollywood’s version, usually one has to wait months or years to catch a sequel to Avengers. In Chattanooga Arts & Science’s version it just takes a few weeks.
CSAS got payback on yet another District 4-A foe Tuesday night, avenging a 13-point loss to Tellico Plains with a 75-69 double overtime win in an incredible display of effort and energy on Senior Night for the Patriots.
It was the second time in three weeks coach Mark Dragoo’s squad flipped the script after getting bullied in an earlier game.
Lookout Valley had beaten the Patriots by 35 in December only to fall by four in mid-January.
And one thing is crystal clear as the 4-A tournament looms ahead: this Patriot team had learned how to battle on every single possession, a direct reflection and a tribute to their skillful coach.
Senior Alex Payne is a perfect example of just that.
Payne came up big time and again with baskets, rebounds, steals and just an all-out scrappiness that has paid dividends down the stretch of the season. Tuesday night, the athletic center proved to be Mr. Right-Place-Right-Time all night.
“This is the first year I’ve ever played basketball. Coach saw me in the hallway and because of my size insisted I play this year. It’s been his job to put me in the right place all year and maybe I’m starting to figure it out,” said Payne, who had 14 points and 15 rebounds to go along with a floor burn or two.
In typical Dragoo fashion, he deflected such talk.
“Alex is an athlete and he’s becoming a really good basketball player. A lot of that credit and a lot of the credit for this team has to go to my assistant Zach (Dragoo). It’s been a really tough month for me because my mom passed away and he’s been the one preparing these guys,” the elder Dragoo said.
CSAS (12-9, 5-3) was certainly prepared last night and pretty much every Patriot who stepped on the court turned in a big play when it mattered most.
“We’ve played pretty well down the stretch and I don’t think we are through yet. All season long we’ve preached effort and shot selection and the guys have started to figure it out. This was a big game for us not only because of the opponent, but because of the tightness of the game and the ability to find a way to get it done,” Dragoo explained.
“Every play and every possession counts in a game like this and that’s something we’ve tried to get them to take to heart,” he added.
The Patriots shot just 36 percent from the floor on 27 of 76 shooting, but got 15 more shots than the Bears thanks to 23 offensive rebounds. None were any bigger than Payne’s rebound and made shot with eight seconds left in the first overtime to force another one and Tony Orr’s rebound of a missed free throw in the second. Orr grabbed the loose ball with CSAS leading 70-67 and then made two free throws – his only two points of the game – with 27 ticks left in the second overtime to make it 72-67.
Jordan Morris added two more free throws with nine seconds left after Tellico had cut it to 72-69 and Payne fittingly capped his night with a defensive rebound and made free throw with 01.1 left to seal the win.
CSAS had built a 15-6 early lead and extended it to 22-15 before the Bears’ full-court press took its toll midway through the second period. An 8-0 run gave Tellico its first lead and David Crace’s layup at the buzzer took the Bears to the dressing room with a 29-28 lead.
Cahlib Edwards and Payne seized control back for the Patriots in the third to push it back out 42-33. Edwards was virtually unguardable, shaking defenders twice before stepping back to nail 3s in the quarter.
Tellico, one of the better shooting teams from behind the arc, missed its first 10 attempts before Dale Rinehart finally connected in the third, but CSAS still took a 42-38 lead into the final period.
Crace’s trey in the midst of a 9-0 Bear run gave Tellico a 47-46 lead with just under three minutes to go and it was nip-and-tuck down the stretch with each team hitting clutch shots.
Edwards canned a long 3 to knot it at 49-all with 1:48 left and then answered Crace’s free throws with a floater in the lane with 46 seconds left to make it 51-51. Payne had a steal with six seconds left but a shot at the buzzer from near midcourt missed and it was on to overtime.
Edwards and Kobe Clark each hit big 3-pointers but Crace and Rinehart had answers for both of them and it was tied 59-59 with 0:49 left. Crace was whistled for his fifth foul but CSAS missed the one-and-one attempt and then fouled Evan Harris, who calmly put Tellico up 61-59 with 37 seconds remaining.
CSAS’ tying attempt missed its mark, but there was Payne to grab the rebound and stick it back in to force the second extra period. Edwards committed his fifth personal early in the second OT and with Crace out for Tellico and Edwards on the bench, both teams were without their playmakers.
“Man, it was hard not being out there, but I trusted my teammates just like they had trusted me and worked hard to get me open for shots. This was just a really nice win for us,” said Edwards, who finished with 21 points, five assists and four steals.
Payne drove baseline with 46 seconds left to put CSAS on top 69-67 and immediately got a steal on the other end. The Patriots missed the one-and-one free throw, but Clark picked a Tellico’s pocket and made the first free throw for a 70-67 lead. When his second one bounced wide, Orr was there for the carom and his two makes made it 72-69 with 27 ticks left and gave the Patriots just enough to room to close it out.
Five CSAS players were in double digits with Hollis Edwards chipping15, Morris 11 and Clark 10 to go with Cahlib Edwards’ 21 and Payne’s 14.
Tellico Plains (13-11, 5-2) was led by Dakota Shaw and his 25 points and Crace added 20 and Piper Carter another 10.
Tellico Plains girls 74, CSAS 31: The sixth-ranked Lady Bears rebounded from only their second loss of the year last Friday and made short work of the Lady Patriots. The loss had snapped a 19-game win streak for Tellico (22-2, 9-0) and it came out on fire, posting 56 first-half points to take a 40-point lead to the dressing room.
Tellico had two players in double figures in the first half led by Samantha Russell who scored 14 of her game-high 31 in the initial two quarters. Jaden Hollinghead added 10 of her 13 as most of the Lady Bear starters sat a majority of the second half. Callie Kirkpatrick had all nine of her points in the first half.
Deyona Landsen led CSAS (3-17, 0-7) with 10 points and Macie Meyners added eight.
Tellico Plains 20 26 17 11 -- 74
CSAS 8 8 12 3 -- 31
TELLICO PLAINS (74) -- Kirkpatrick 9, Russell 31, Yearwood 9, Pearsley 2, Hensley 2, Watson 2, Hollinghead 13, West 6, Burnett, Lance.
CSAS (31) -- Mobley, Carney, Albarakat, Benn 2, Lansden 10, Harris, Crumesy, L.Meyners, Buffington, Mayes, M.Meyners 8, Fugh 6, Williams 2
3-point goals: Tellico Plains 7 (Yearwood 3, Russell 2, Kirkpatrick, West); CSAS 2 (M.Meyners 2).
Tellico Plains 6 23 9 13 10 8 -- 69
CSAS 15 13 14 9 10 14 -- 75
TELLICO PLAINS (69) – Crace 20, Brinkley, Shaw 21, Lambert 6, Carter 10, Rinehart, Tallent, Harris 3.
CSAS (75) – Clark 10, Alegre, C. Edwards 21, Morris 11, Hawkins 2, Pride, Payne 14, H. Edwards 15, Orr 2.
3-point goals: Tellico Plains 4 (Crace 2, Rinehart 2); CSAS 9 (C. Edwards 4, Clark 3, H. Edwards 2)
(Contact James Beach via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @beachnut1134)