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BUZZER BEATER

Simpson’s last-second shot lifts Devils over Bulldogs
“I didn’t even know if it went in until I saw people running at me,”
Blue Devil senior Connor Simpson gave fans in Erwin their money’s worth by knocking in a layup with time expiring to give Unicoi County High School a 52-51 win over Hampton in the squad’s regular season finale on Saturday, Feb. 8.
The Blue Devils (23-5, TRC 10-2) will head into this week’s District 1-AA tournament with the first-seed, and a share of the Three Rivers Conference crown, after defeating Johnson County, 48-39, in Mountain City on Friday, Feb. 7.
“I was proud of Connor (Simpson) there at the end,” UCHS head coach John English said. “We talked to him during our last timeout about elevating his play and he came up with a big shot for us. It’s a testament to our guys’ worth ethic. We melted down there towards the end but they gutted it out and I’m proud of them.
“You have to give Hampton credit,” English continued. “They’re a great team and they took us out of our element toward the end.”
With 30 seconds left in the contest, UCHS took a 50-48 advantage down to the wire but a bucket and free-throw from Hampton’s Cody McClain gave his squad a 51-50 lead with six seconds left.
In an interesting turn of events, senior Keith Arrowood took the inbounds down court, lost control of the ball and was able to slap it towards Simpson (15 points, 11 boards). Simpson was able to make a drive to the hoop to give the squad the win.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you what was going through my mind,” Simpson said with a laugh. “Keith dribbled upcourt and the ball was tipped my way. I just spun around for a layup and was hoping it’d go in.”
Joining Simpson in double figures was senior guard Austin Green. Green helped keep Hampton forward Cheyenne Camillo out of double figures and drilled in 14 points, while tossing in four three-pointers.
It was a team effort, according to Green, with UCHS missing senior post Nic Chambers in the game due to a sprained ankle.

For the remainder of this article please see the February 12, 2014 edition of The Erwin Record.