In a game with high stakes on the line, Sequoyah senior John-Douglas Wiggins decided he wasn’t ready for his season to be over. The versatile player who also quarterbacks the football team put up a standout 30-point performance and aided in a second half surge that carried sixth-seeded Sequoyah to a 59-56 upset of third-seeded McMinn Central in the district tournament at Loudon High School.
Trevor Stakely got the first basket of the game for Sequoyah, but after that, Wiggins took control. The senior sank a 3-pointer and two layups to boost the Chiefs. Ordinarily that would be enough to grab the lead.
However, McMinn Central kept connecting on the other end. James Thacker scored a layup before Isaiah Ferrar and Jack Murphy knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to keep the Chargers ahead.
James Thacker added two 3-pointers and two free throws at the end of the period to offset a Cade Self trey and the Chargers took a solid 18-12 lead after one quarter.
Ferrar hit three more 3-pointers in the second quarter and Jordan Ledford added an outside shot of his own as McMinn Central maintained the lead. Wiggins kept Sequoyah close, however.
Wiggins scored the first 11 Sequoyah points in the second quarter and added two more free throws after that to add to his scoring totals. The only basket for Sequoyah not from Wiggins in the second quarter came on a Gavin McKee layup late in the period.
Despite Wiggins’ heroics, the Chiefs still trailed 34-27 at the halftime intermission.
In the third quarter, it was Sequoyah’s turn to shoot red-hot from outside the arc. Self opened the quarter with a 3-pointer that cut the Central lead down to 4, and after a Mack Thacker layup, Joe Grant got his first points of the game on a 3-pointer and a free throw. Down by 4 after two free throws by Murphy, Sequoyah hit back-to-back 3-pointers by Wiggins and McKee to take the lead for the first time.
Ferrar responded with a trey and a layup to retake the lead for Central but a second McKee 3-pointer dropped through at the buzzer to tie the score at 43 heading to the fourth quarter.
Ledford broke the tie to open the fourth quarter with a layup, but Sequoyah responded with its biggest run of the game. Trevor Stakely started it off with a layup, Wiggins added a layup and a 3-pointer, and Grant added a layup as the Chiefs built their biggest lead at 52-45. Garrett King hit a 3-pointer for Central to stop the momentum but Grant answered with a 3-point play to maintain the lead.
A layup by James Thacker and three free throws by King cut the Chiefs’ lead down to 4 and a James Thacker 3-point play moments later sliced the margin to 1 with 35 seconds left. From there, Wiggins made one of two free throws, but the Chiefs stopped the potential score on the other end by forcing a turnover. Another Wiggins trip to the line netted one free throw and made it a 3-point margin with 12 seconds remaining. Central took its best shot but the game-tying 3-point attempt bounced off the iron and the Chiefs secured the rebound and the upset win.
With the win, the Chiefs advance to play on Friday in the district semifinals and secure a spot in the region tournament. With the loss, McMinn Central’s season comes to a close.
John-Douglas Wiggins led all scorers with 30, while Gavin McKee added 10 for Sequoyah.
For Central, Isaiah Ferrar led the way with 17 on five 3-pointers and James Thacker added 12.