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South speeds by Cherokee in Kelly Services final

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 30, 2018 at 1:47 AM

KINGSPORT — When Luke Pollack’s 3-point shot at the end of the first quarter swished through at the buzzer, it looked like it would be a good night for Sullivan South’s basketball team. By the time Ben Diamond fired a no-look pass to Cole Layne for an easy layup in the third quarter, the good night was a certainty.

With those two plays among the many highlights, the Rebels romped to a 66-41 win over Cherokee in the championship game of the Kelly Services Christmas Tournament at Sullivan North.

The Rebels led 20-8 after Pollack’s shot and 32-14 at the half. They built the lead to 29 points in the third quarter to end any hopes of a comeback.

Tournament MVP Chase Bowery posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Diamond finished with 19 points and six assists.

“Chase is playing so hard and has become such a leader for us,” South coach Michael McMeans said. “He had a fantastic tournament.”

So did the team as a whole, limiting the Chiefs to 22 points in the first three quarters. South also had balance with Cole Layne finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds and Gannon Chase also totaling 12 points.

“I was hoping we would use this tournament to crank our defense up and get to the peak of where we’re trying to go to,” McMeans said. “We did that and it was a fabulous tournament defensively.”

Ryan Bledsoe had 18 points and Jason Satler added seven to lead Cherokee. Despite the final outcome, the tournament provided some positives with two wins.

“It was a good tournament overall and we’re headed in the right direction,” Cherokee coach Ty Webb said. “We found some things we are doing well. But the story tonight was how they kept getting second chances in the first and second quarter off offensive rebounds. That’s the formula of us winning or losing.”

Volunteer 64, West Greene 46

Down by two at the end of the first quarter, the Falcons outscored the Buffaloes 49-29 the rest of the way in the third-place game.

Chance Johnson led Volunteer with 17 points. Heath Miller scored 14, Brody Hunley added 12 and Leyton Patrick had eight.

“We made shots and when that ball is going in, the defense automatically picks up,” Volunteer coach Mike Poe said. “We had a lot of people make plays, make shots, and that fed into the press.

“It was a good team win. After we got our feelings hurt last night, it showed a lot of resiliency tonight.”

Kyler Clowers paced West Greene with 11 points. Allen Vaughn and Grayson Potter each finished with eight.

Happy Valley 46, Chuckey-Doak 28

Bryce Carter had 15 points and 10 rebounds and the Warriors’ 2-3 zone limited the Black Knights to just 10 second-half points.

Noah Stevens added 11 points for Happy Valley in the fifth-place game.

Jordan Morelock led Chuckey-Doak with 10.

Sullivan North 47, Cloudland 42

Trey Williams scored 18 points and the Golden Raiders grabbed four offensive rebounds in the final two minutes to pull out the win over the Highlanders.

Evan Bishop scored eight points and Bryant Herron and Dale Potter each had six for North, which made 16 of 18 free-throw attempts.

“I didn’t think it was the best game we’ve played, but that was probably the first game this tournament we dominated the rebounds and that helped us a bunch,” North coach Travis Cain said. “We hadn’t been shooting our free throws that good. That’s what won us the game.”

Robert Leeper scored 17 and Connor Birchfield added seven for Cloudland, which was still without three starters.

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