It was a scenario Blue Devil senior Ethan Rice had seen before.
Trailing 49-46 with less than two minutes left in the contest, the Blue Devils capped off a 9-0 run sparked by five points from Rice to come away with a 55-49 victory over Chuckey-Doak in the quarterfinals of the Region 1-AA tournament in Afton on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The win moved Unicoi County High School (25-6) into the semifinal round against Johnson County on Tuesday, Feb. 25, after The Erwin Records press deadline. With a win the Blue Devils will advance to the Region 1-AA championship against the winner of Greeneville/Elizabethton game scheduled to be played on Thursday, Feb. 27, at Hal Henard Gym at 7 p.m.
A win on Tuesday will also automatically qualify the Blue Devils for a substate game, a loss on Tuesday to Johnson County ended the season for UCHS.
On Saturday, Chuckey-Doaks Jerad Meredith cut the Blue Devils lead to one, 46-45, with 3:04 left in the game. Meredith then got some help from teammate Josh Lamb who scored back-to-back buckets giving the Black Knights the three-point advantage.
After coming out of a timeout, Rice (10 points, eight rebounds, five steals) took a wide-open shot from the top of the arc that knotted up the contest at 49-49 with 1:20 to go.
To be down on the road, the season on the line, its a real gutsy shot, UCHS head coach John English said. He (Ethan) is a kid that wants it. Hes not afraid of the moment, wasnt afraid of the shot and wasnt afraid of the magnitude of it. I knew when it left his hands that it would go in and sure enough it hit bottom.
For the remainder of this article please see the February 26, 2014 edition of The Erwin Record.