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Wildcats ousted in 5-AA tourney

Staff Photo by Gabriel Garcia
Sweetwaters Matt Spencer (13) drives for a layup against Polk Countys Cody Groomes (21) in the first-round District 5-AA tournament game Thursday at McMinn County High School in Athens.
Published: 4:18 PM, 02/19/2013
 

Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

ATHENS – Too many missed shots and one of their best scorers in foul trouble doomed the Sweetwater boys basketball team and ended their season in the first round of the District 5-AA tournament.

Fourth-seeded Polk County won the Wildcat fight against fifth-seeded Sweetwater for the third time this season, this time coming out on top 48-42 despite Sweetwater scoring the first eight points of Thursday’s contest at McMinn County High School in Athens.

“We started out strong, but basketball is one of those games when you’ve got to be consistent and hit shots at the end,” said Sweetwater coach Chris Shillings, whose team finishes with a 5-23 record. “We didn’t hit our shots at the end.”

Sweetwater wanted to establish senior Brandon Clark in the post early, and it did. Clark scored eight of his team’s first 12 points in staking Sweetwater to a 12-4 lead.

But Polk County responded with a 7-0 run, fueled by a trey from Will Richmond. Tyler Wilson briefly gave Sweetwater some of its cushion back with two straight makes — one after a steal — but Polk County’s Devin Weber struck right back in transition before the first-quarter buzzer to cut Sweetwater’s tenuous lead to 16-13.

Polk County took the lead for good with two consecutive triples to start the second quarter from Evan Ball and Richmond, igniting a 13-1 run.

Wilson got Sweetwater back to within 26-22 with a 3-pointer of his own, but he picked up his third foul right before halftime. The senior then picked up his fourth foul on a loose ball seconds into the third quarter and sat out for much of the second half.

“Tyler, when he got in foul trouble, that’s been the scenario all year,” Shillings said. “He’s a great offensive player, and when we don’t have him on the floor it hurts us.”

Sweetwater managed to stay in striking distance a few times in the second half with Wilson on the bench, cutting the Polk County lead to 32-29 at one point in the third quarter and never falling behind by more than 10 points.

But Polk County hit 10 of 13 foul shots as a team in the fourth quarter, and despite seven points in that final stanza and two treys from Seth Battle, Sweetwater could not sustain a rally and seriously threaten.

POLK COUNTY 48, SWEETWATER 42

S    16    6    9    11    —    42
PC    13    15    10    10    —    48

SWEETWATER: Nick Wicker 3, Tyler Watson 7, Andrew Barr 1, Matt Spencer 3, Jordan Davis 2, Seth Battle 11, Brandon Clark 15
POLK COUNTY: Chandler Hutcheson 4, Evan Ball 13, Cody Groomes 13, Will Richmond 13, Devin Weber 5


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