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Chiefs explode in second half, await Region 3-AA opener

Photos by Jerry Denham, Denham Photography
Sequoyahs Shon Stevens prepares to shoot in the District 5-AA consolation game Monday at McMinn County High School in Athens. Stevens scored 23 in the Chiefs win over Polk County.
Published: 11:01 AM, 02/25/2013 Last updated: 11:01 AM, 02/25/2013
 

Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

ATHENS – Coach Daniel Curtis hopes that his Sequoyah boys basketball team got its sluggish starts out of its system before the stakes get higher in postseason play.

Much like in their semifinal loss to Meigs, the second-seeded Chiefs fell behind in the first half of the District 5-AA tournament consolation game against No. 4 seed Polk County. But this time, Sequoyah buckled down on defense and attacked offensively in time to get the 58-44 win and take third place in the tourney Monday at McMinn County High School.

“I wasn’t very pleased at all. We came out flat like we did Friday night,” said Curtis, whose team will next hit the road Saturday, likely to Chattanooga, for their Region 3-AA tournament opener. “We came out here in the first half defensively and didn’t show up. They got in their grits in the third quarter, pushed the lead out.”

Playing without district MVP Andrew Millsaps - who was suspended for the first half because of the technical he got in the semifinal loss - the Chiefs fell behind 21-12 early in the second quarter as Polk County’s Cody Groomes capped a 10-0 run with back-to-back 3-pointers.

But Shon Stevens hit a trey to break the Wildcats’ momentum, and Taylor Hawkins cut Sequoyah’s deficit down further with a steal and a bucket. With tightened defense and two more Stevens triples, the Chiefs fought their way back to being down only 24-23 at the half, a perfect situation for Millsaps’ return to the lineup.

Sequoyah outscored Polk County 17-2 in the third quarter. The Wildcats did not score until less than two minutes left in that quarter, after a rejuvenated, faster-paced Chiefs team had jumped out to a 16-point lead.

Stevens continued his hot shooting from the first half, starting the third quarter off by sinking a shot from beyond the arc to give the Chiefs the lead for good. Hawkins followed up with a steal and a 3 of his own.

Millsaps scored five of his eight points during the Chiefs’ third-quarter run, his penetrating ability and disruption on the perimeter giving the Wildcats something else to worry about.

“We played much better basketball in the second half,” Curtis said. “That’s the way we can play, and we just got to do it all the time.

“I’m still disappointed that we’re not playing for a district championship, but this is a win, third place, and I’ll take it.”

SEQUOYAH 58, POLK COUNTY 44

PC    15    9    2    18    -    44
S    12    11    17    18    -    58

POLK COUNTY: Chandler Hutcheson 2, Evan Ball 17, Cody Groomes 8, Will Richmond 11, Devin Weber 4
SEQUOYAH: Andrew Millsaps 8, Shon Stevens 23, Trevor King 1, Taylor Hawkins 16, Brett King 2, Seth Schaffer 3, Braden Strickland 5


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