MADISONVILLE — It wasn’t a district tournament game for the McMinn Central boys, but it felt like it was.
The Chargers rallied from a 14-point deficit to earn an important 68-66 District 5-AA victory at Sequoyah as the Central boys continue to improve their standing positioning for the district playoffs.
The win have put the Charges in third place in the district with a 3-3 record after getting off to a slow start this season.
“This was a big game if we wanted to better ourselves for the district standings,” Central Coach Doug Armstrong said.
“This was almost a must win game for us. We just kept fighting and I think they (Sequoyah) got a little out of sync offensively in the second half.”
There was not as much drama in the girls’ game as the Chargerettes won comfortably, 65-39. Coach Johnny Morgan has criticized his team early this year, even calling them soft, but he had no criticism on Friday night.
Chargers 68, Chiefs 66
The first quarter was fairly even, but the period ended with Central behind 20-15.
Sequoyah then surged ahead in the second quarter as the Chiefs outscored the Chargers 20-13 in the period, but one of the differences in the game occurred as the half ended.
A McMinn Central shot cut Sequoyah’s lead to 40-28 and Sequoyah ran the clock to get the last shot of the half. The Chiefs missed the shot and the half ended.
However, Sequoyah coach Andy Pennington was very vocal, even stepping part way out on to the court, insisting that his shooter was fouled on the play and was whistled for a technical. Central would shoot the technical free throws at the start of the third quarter in what turned out to be very important points.
The Chargers trailed 40-28 at the half, but began the third with James Thacker making a pair of free throws from the technical foul.
Then James Thacker hit another shot and Jack Murphy’s bucket got Central to within six at 40-34.
Central was able to keep Sequoyah’s lead to about six points deficit for most of the half until the near the end of the period when the Chiefs led 52-43.
The Chargers trailed 57-53 midway in the fourth when Lott Holley hit a three-pointer that Armstrong called one of the key plays of the game.
That cut the Chief’s advantage to 57-56 with 4:50 on the clock and then Central took its first lead since the first quarter on a pair of free throws by Darius Carden with 3:52 to play.
Buckets by Carden and Mack Thacker later put Central ahead 64-60, but a trey by Sequoyah made it 64-63 with 34 seconds to play.
At this point, however, the Chiefs had to foul to stop the clock and hope Central missed its free throws, but the Chargers didn’t miss as James Thacker and Mack Thacker each made two free throws in the final 30 seconds.
Central led 68-63 after Mack Thacker’s free throws. That sealed the game despite Sequoyah hitting a last second three-pointer to make it 68-66.
Chargerettes 65, Lady Chiefs 39
Central had a 10-6 lead with just over a minute to play in the first quarter when Melia Baker and Carlee Rule each hit two free throws sandwiched around a bucket by Carlie Runyan to give the Chargerettes a 16-6 lead going to the second period.
Central then poured it on in the second taking a 35-18 halftime lead.
Sequoyah mounted a brief rally and cut Central’s 17-point lead down to 10 at 37-27. The Chargerettes then ended the period on a 8-0 run.
That put Central ahead 45-27 going to the fourth and the Chargerettes cruised from there for the win.