Fans in attendance of Monday night’s District 4-A Boys Championship were treated to a masterclass of a basketball game. Both teams understood what they were doing and played hard from the first whistle to the last.
The CSAS Patriots beat the Tellico Plains Bears 58-49 in a fast paced, disciplined game from both teams. In the end The Patriots were the team taking turns atop a ladder, snipping off their piece of championship net.
“It feels good,” CSAS Head Coach Zach Dragoo said, “this one feels good because the gold comes with it.”
CSAS, in their home whites, won the tip, but the ball fell to Tellico Plains guard Eli Johnson who quickly laid it in for the game’s opening points. The Bears, in their Maroon jerseys, dropped back into a defensive zone, where they would stay for the rest of the Championship.
Off any made basket from the start of the game until the very end both teams assumed a full court press. CSAS chose to assume man-to-man defense all game.
Both teams managed to break the press without much trouble, and points began to follow. In another coincidence, both teams were led in scoring by players in the #10 jersey.
For CSAS that #10 was Justin Brown. Brown was lethal throughout the game, scoring 11 points in the first half and 10 points in the second, for a game high 21. Most of Brown’s points came off decisive drives to the bucket, but he also showed some range, hitting one 3-pointer in the game.
For Tellico Plains that #10 was Evan Harris. Harris put up 6 in the first half and 13 in the second to get his team back in it. Harris used his size and ball handling abilities to find good places under the basket to get his shot off, he would also add one 3-pointer for a team high 19 points.
Patriots’ guard Chase Pride was the only other player to score double-digit points on the night. He put up a total of 12 points with 6 coming off two 3-pointers.
The first half ended with both teams having committed only 4 fouls apiece. The Patriots led 31 -20, but the Bears always felt like they were just one hot streak away from getting back in it.
CSAS opened the second half with a pair of spectacular dunks, one came from the already mentioned Justin Brown who caught and slammed an alley-oop pass from #3 Jarius Cameron. Followed almost immediately by a two-handed jam by #35 big man Louis Bell.
Tellico Plains didn’t let the early second half heat get to them, outscoring CSAS 15-13 in the third quarter and bring the game to within 9 points at the start of the fourth quarter, 35-44.
Both teams ran a full court press the entire game. Harris and his back-court mate #0 Major Carter played every minute for the Bears and did a great job calmly breaking down the Patriot’s pressure. The Patriots’ Cameron and his fellow guard #2 Ethan Brown played the same press breaking role for CSAS. Brown also posed a significant deep threat all game, hitting two 3-pointers and getting really close on several others.
As the end of the fourth quarter approached the fouling began and CSAS hit their free-throws, the game ended with the Patriots up 58-49.
“I thought it was just a good ball game,” Tellico Plains head coach David Tucker said, “It always is when these two teams meet.
There was no ‘yeah yeahing,’ we just played hard and that’s it.” Coach Tucker said.
“We played well, this was the toughest mountain we’ve climbed yet,” Coach Dragoo said, “Tellico Plains is a tough team, they never went away.”
TELLICO PLAINS 13 7 15 14 - 49
CSAS 18 13 13 14 - 58
TELLICO PLAINS (49) – Even Harris 19, Dukes 7, Lynn 6, Carter 5, Johnson 5, Tate 4, Teague 2
CSAS (58) – Justin Brown 21, Chase Pride 12, E. Brown 9, Bell 4, Cameron 4, Grudzinski 2, Ramsey 2, Wright 2
3-POINT GOALS: Tellico Plains 4 (Carter, Dukes, Harrison, Johnson): CSAS 5 (E. Brown 2, Pride 2, J. Brown 1)
(Email William Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org)