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East stuns Blue Devils

The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil basketball team had control of the game – until the last 10 seconds.
A late rally by Sullivan East and Garrett Johnson’s three-pointer with seconds to play gave the Patriots a 60-59 victory over the Blue Devils in the consolation game of the District 1-AA tournament on Friday, Feb. 20, inside the Dyer Dome in Bluff City.
The Blue Devils (14-19) never trailed after the first minutes of the opening quarter with they came out of the gate on fire. They outscored the Patriots 11-4 in the first quarter. Dylan Putman led the offensive charge with 11 of his game-high 25 points coming in the first half.
UCHS led 25-17 at halftime.
Sullivan East began chipping away at the lead throughout the third frame, but Trevor Hensley drew a foul on a three-point attempt and went perfect at the charity stripe to hold off the first rally.
The Blue Devils led, 44-34, at the start of the fourth quarter.
After trading buckets during a seven minute stretch of the final quarter, Gavin Grubb drew a foul and cashed in the front end of a pair of free throws to pull the Patriots within two, 59-57, with less than 10 seconds to go.
After missing the second free throw, Grubb showed court awareness by grabbing his own rebound to set up the game-winner. After catching the ball on the right side of the floor, Johnson knocked the shot down with under six seconds remaining to propel his team to victory and third place in the tournament.
Dylan Putman’s 25-point effort led the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils also received solid performances in the paint from Connor Simpson and Jacob Smith. Simpson scored six points and had nine rebounds. Smith scored eight and had seven rebounds.
Blue Devil Trevor Hensley finished with nine points, four boards and three steals. Dalton Spears cashed in a three-pointer in the first half.
Merrick Nicksic (eight points, three assists) was the lone representative from UCHS to be named to the District 1-AA all-tournament team.
As the fourth seed from District 1, Blue Devils drew Greeneville for the quarterfinals of the Region 1-AA tournament after the Greene Devils finished as the top seed from District 2.
The District 2-AA tournament was not completed due to inclement weather so tournament officials determine the four seeds from the final four teams remaining – Greeneville, Grainger, Chuckey-Doak and Cumberland Gap.
Region 1-AA’s three other games after The Erwin Record’s press deadline featured Sullivan East at Grainger, Chuckey-Doak at Sullivan South and Cumberland Gap at Elizabethton.
The Blue Devils were scheduled to play at Greeneville in the Region 1-AA quarterfinal round on Tuesday, Feb. 24, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
A loss to Greeneville ended the season for the Blue Devils. A win over Greeneville sent the Blue Devils into the semifinals where they would play the winner of the Chuckey-Doak/Sullivan South game on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at Sullivan East. Should the Blue Devils win Wednesday, they would play in the region championship on Thursday, also at East.
Game results and schedule updates can be found on The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page.