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Penley's Bucs bound for Murfreesboro

From staff reports • Mar 5, 2019 at 1:17 AM

JOHNSON CITY — The University High boys basketball team is headed to Murfreesboro.

The Bucs outhustled and outplayed Harriman to earn a 45-33 win in Monday’s TSSAA Class A sectional at Brooks Gym, giving University High its first state tournament berth since 2008.

“Harriman is a better team than they showed tonight, but our team was just locked in,” University High coach Justin Penley said. “They continue to play hard. We made sure we contested shots and boxed out.

“Offensively, we weren’t efficient tonight, but it wasn’t from lack of effort. You’re going to have nights like that, so that’s why you have to have as the foundation of your program, the ability to defend.”

Kaleb Meredith led the Bucs (29-5) with 10 points and eight rebounds. Charlie Vargo added muscle inside, finishing with eight points, and Colin Daniel, Jake Hubbard and Fleenor added seven each.

University High held a 31-22 rebounding advantage, including 10-4 on the offensive end.

Tredin Copeland paced the Bulldogs (27-8) with 11 points.

Fulton 90, Johnson County 76

KNOXVILLE — Despite six 3-pointers and a game-high 35 points from Blake Atwood, the Longhorns fell to Fulton in the Class AA sectionals.

A 6-0 Falcons run near the end of the third quarter via two questionable technical foul shots and a made bucket on the next possession shifted the focus of the game. Before the run, the ’Horns trailed just 51-45; afterward they were down by 12 and a full 45 seconds hadn’t even run off the clock.

“Without a doubt, that turned the game around,” Johnson County coach Austin Atwood said. “My guys have to be smarter, though. When you’re playing in Jody Wright’s place and he’s on the board of the TSSAA officials, he’s going to get the call and he deserves to get it. ... We knew coming in that we’d have to play the perfect game.”

Gavin Reece continually stepped up in big moments and netted 19 points for Johnson County (26-7). Zach Eller finished with 12.

Class 5A Mr. Football Deshawn Page had 26 points to lead the Falcons (26-4).

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