Sequoyah sprung another upset on Friday night, extending their postseason run after finishing last in regular season district play. This time the victim was No. 4 Loudon, which fell 56-52.
The second-seeded Loudon Redskins won the tip, but their attempt at the first score of the game was unsuccessful. Instead, Cade Self knocked down a triple for the Chiefs. Both teams traded empty trips up the floor on their next few possessions before Trevor Stakely scored in traffic for the Chiefs. A triple from John-Douglas Wiggins gave the Chiefs a hot 8-0 start.
With 3:50 remaining in the first quarter, Loudon finally put their first two points on the board. However, Sequoyah knocked down their third three of the night on the other end, this one coming from Gavin McKee. Jamison Harig added two for Loudon, while Self reeled in an offensive rebound and put it back up for two for the Chiefs. Harig added two more for the Redskins, and with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter, the Chiefs led the Redskins 13-6.
A silence in scoring occurred the next two minutes and 30 seconds as both teams struggled to make shots fall late in the first. Loudon found some momentum late in the second quarter, taking over a 19-17 lead with 3:40 remaining in the half. It was Harig, Mason Small, and Drew Jackson who fueled the shift in momentum. But Sequoyah was not going away quietly. Wiggins was fouled on a 3-point attempt, where he went 2-3 from the strike. A long offensive board resulted in a pretty up and under layup for Loudon’s J.D. Thaxton.
Each of the two teams scored once more before the half, leaving the Redskins out front 23-21 over the Chiefs heading into the locker room.
Thaxton picked up his second foul on the first possession of the second half with a charging call. Back-to-back 3-pointers for McKee gave Sequoyah a push, and with 6:40 remaining, the Chiefs regained the lead with a score of 27-25. The Chiefs’ fifth three of the night came from Joe Grant. Stakely pulled in two offensive boards, putting the last one in for two, and the Chiefs had taken charge of a 32-25 lead with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter.
McKee rebounded his own miss and attempted to put it back up, drawing a foul in which he went 2-2 from the line. Loudon tried again to shift the momentum with a made free throw and a trey from Parks on two separate trips up the floor. After a few quick scoreless trips for each team, Sequoyah’s Wiggins found Stakely underneath to add two to the Chiefs’ end of the scoreboard.
A wide open baseline drive for Loudon would cut into the Chief’s lead, but Self pulled in multiple offensive boards and put one in for 2 for the Chiefs. A Loudon triple would cut the Chiefs’ lead to 38-34 with under a minute remaining in the third.
Wiggins at the buzzer, through contact, was good for two. Self, Wiggins, and Stakely were all names to be heard often throughout the fourth quarter. After a Loudon triple, Self took it to the hole for two. With 5:37 remaining in regulation, the Chiefs led 42-39. Wiggins knocked down a free throw to give the Chiefs a 4-point edge, but a Jackson three on the other end would cut that lead back to just 1. Moments later, Stakely ran the floor and took charge to keep the Redskins from stealing the momentum. Thaxton and Small were both in foul trouble for the Redskins in the fourth quarter. Stakely aggressively took it to the rim, and knocked it down to give the Chiefs a 47-42 edge with three minutes remaining in regulation.
Jackson knocked down a free throw to chip away at the Chiefs’ lead. Stakely’s shot attempt was rejected but he returned the favor with great defense on the other end. With under 2:30 remaining, Grant drew a foul, which sent him to the line in the single bonus. Grant went 2-2. Small rebounded his own miss and put it back up for two.
Parks continued to light it up from deep for Loudon, but with the Redskins running out of time, the Redskins were forced to foul. The Chiefs were in the bonus the final 2:30 of regulation.
Both teams struggled to knock a shot down on their next possessions. Loudon missed everything on a 3-point attempt to tie the game, while Stakely was fouled on a rebound but missed both free throws. With 37.9 seconds remaining, the Chiefs were still ahead by three.
Grant made good on a free throw after a steal and breakaway, making it a 4-point game. However, Small was fouled on the other end, sending him to the strike. He sunk both free throws but one was called off due to a Loudon lane violation.
With 23.9, seconds remaining, it was the Chiefs out front 52-49.
Grant was fouled on the inbounds. This time he went 2-2 and the Chiefs’ lead was 54-48 with 23.9 seconds left.
As hard as Sequoyah was fighting game to come up with a second straight upset, Loudon was fighting to keep their championship hopes alive. Parks knocked down another trey for the Redskins. However, Wiggins was fouled on the inbounds, sending him to the free throw line. Wiggins rarely struggles from the free throw line but he did struggle in the semifinals. This trip to the line he went 1-2 putting the Chiefs out front 55-52 with 11.1 seconds remaining.
Loudon had a chance to tie the game but missed from 3-point range. Stakely reeled in the rebound and the foul, sending him to the strike with .9 seconds remaining. One free throw would make it a two-possession game. Stakely made 1 of 2 free throws, putting the Chiefs out front 56-52.
Eluding with joy, Stakely put his head in his hands, in complete humility and excitement to be making the District 5AA Championship with the Chiefs who were ranked the No.6 team in the district coming into the tournament.
Sequoyah’s Stakely tied for lead scorer with Loudon’s Parks and Small with 13. The Chiefs held Thaxton to just two points on the night. Thaxton had 22 in the first half of the Chiefs and Redskins last regular season match up just over a week ago.
Grant finished with 12 points for the Chiefs, while Self and McKee added 11 a piece.