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Devils advance to championship

The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil basketball team (25-4) will play in the championship of
the District 1-AA Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. at UCHS. Their opponent will be a familiar one – the Sullivan East Patriots. “We’re 6-6 against them in the past 3 years,” English
said. “It’s always a tough game against East.” Win or lose against East, the Devils will play in
the first round of the Region 1-AA Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m. at UCHS. The Devils’ district semifinal game was hyped as a clash of the titans, but turned into a trip to the woodshed. The Blue Devils went on an early 16-1 run in the first five minutes of their semifinal contest and kept the pedal to the metal as they raced to a 72-39 win over the Sullivan North Golden Raiders (15-12) in District 1-AA tournament action held at the Devils Den on Saturday, Feb 18. “We knew we had to come out and really push the tempo tonight,” Blue Devil senior Austin Hensley said. “We just kept it going and were able to ride the momentum.”

Unicoi controlled both sides of the floor during the night, but it was dominant thanks in part to their defensive effort. “I thought our guys were focused and locked in,” head coach John English said. “The commitment started on the defensive end. We got stops and transition buckets and fed off that.” Unicoi held North to six points in the first and second quarters. They quieted chances of a second half rally by orchestrating an 18-4 run out of halftime gate to extend the 32-17 first “We knew North would come out of the break with an intensified effort,” English said. “Our guys really stepped up and took the challenge of extending the lead.”

For the remainder of this article pick up a copy of this week's edition of The Erwin Record – on stands now!

Stay updated with The Erwin Record’s Sports Facebook page during the week and be sure to pick up the Feb. 28 edition of The Erwin Record for district championship and regional coverage.