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Blue Devils take third place in District 1-AA tournament

The Blue Devils were looking for a spark, but instead found a ‘Green’ flame from the three-point line.
Behind 19-point performances from seniors Austin Green and Keith Arrowood, Unicoi County High School took home third place with a 65-52 victory over Sullivan South during the consolation game of the District 1-AA boys tournament held at Happy Valley High School on Tuesday, Feb. 18, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
The Blue Devils will travel to the loser of the District 2-AA championship game between Greeneville and Chuckey-Doak on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. Sullivan South will travel to the District 2-AA champions’ domain.
If the Blue Devils win on Saturday, the remaining schedule of the Region 1-AA tournament games will be played at Hal Henard Gym in Greenville beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 25. A loss on Saturday will end the season for the Blue Devils
As in the previous contests between UCHS and South both teams fought tooth-and-nail to finish the first period knotted up at 12 points each.
Green was able to light up the scoreboard with a trio of three-pointers to cap off an 12-2 run in the first three minutes of the first half.
With Blue Devil senior Connor Simpson nursing an ankle injury and aiming for a return on Saturday, it was the perfect time for the team to step up, according to Green.
“It was definitely a big boost for us,” Green added about the offensive production. “When one of our men go down, we’ve got to find somebody to step up and we all did tonight.”
The attitude was a change of pace, following up Monday’s los to Johnson County, UCHS head coach John English said.
“We were disappointed about last night’s loss, then you turn around and play a tough South team that we’ve seen four times this year,” he said. “I think we understand now that if you play hard, good things can come but if you take off this time of the year, you’re going home.”
South received a boost of the bench in the second half thanks to the hot-hand of Garrett Bowery, who drilled his team-high 14 points while tacking on four treys during his appearance.
“The first few minutes of the game, we started OK,” South head coach Mark Pendleton said. “#22 (Austin Green) just hit some big time threes. We didn’t really contest him like we should have. We came back in the second half. Bowery gave us a boost of the bench. He was definitely feeling it tonight.”
While Green had things going from the outside, senior post Nic Chambers helped keep things on lock-down in the paint with 10 points and six boards. Chambers received help off the bench from juniors Zach Thelen and Will Shelton.
“We struggled from outside last night so were trying to work in down low to Nic (Chambers) to their big guys in foul trouble,” Keith Arrowood, who tacked on a pair of threes in the contest, said. “But we were able to do both tonight. It’s big for us. We’ll need more options as the season goes on and having Connor back will be a big help, too.”
Ethan Rice added eight points and five rebounds in the win. Lucas Hensley added seven points and four boards and three assists. Thelen added a bucket.
“Everybody that stepped on to the court tonight contributed in a big way,” English said. “Will (Shelton) came up big for us, Thomas (Tipton) and Sam (Wilder) gave us some help on defense.”
Evan Headrick and Christian Comsa added 11 points to round out the Rebels in double figures.
Updates on District 2 and Region 1-AA tournament will be updated online throughout the week on The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page and on Twitter at: @CurtisCarden_ER.