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Sullivan South sweeps Volunteer

TANNER COOK • Dec 8, 2018 at 1:54 AM

CHURCH HILL — Hitting free throws is a key for any team that wants to win a basketball game, and Sullivan South (1-1, 7-3) had been struggling at the line coming into Friday night’s non-conference contest against Volunteer (2-0, 3-6).

The Rebels missed only five of 20 free throws in the final quarter and iced the game for a 79-74 win over the Falcons.

Ben Diamond had 19 points for the Rebels, including 11 at the charity stripe, 10 in the fourth quarter.

South had three other players in double figures with Cole Layne finishing with 17 and Gannon Chase and Chase Bowery each having 15.

Eli Churchwell had 20 to lead Volunteer and Brady Hunley also chipped in with 16.

“Those points at the line were huge,” South head coach Michael McMeans said. “We had been shooting the ball about 50 percent for the season at the line. It’s something we’ve worked a lot into during practice. Ben really stepped up in the clutch down there near the end and hit the free throws.”

The Falcons were down as much as 14 points in the fourth quarter after leading 34-32 at the half. The third quarter was a miserable one for Volunteer, as it only hung nine points on the board as opposed to South’s 21.

Howeever, Volunteer came back strong in the fourth with 3-pointers and some easy layups, but the full-court pressure that coach Mike Poe instituted to start the game never seemed to bother South.

“We had played them before at the Hardee’s Classic,” McMeans said. “They were a completely different team then and they didn’t show us that pressure.”

“I thought both teams played really hard and this was a great environment for a high school basketball game,” Poe said. “I thought the difference in the game was their second shots. They manhandled us there in that third quarter. To our kid’s credit, they never quit, and that’s something we’re trying to change here at Volunteer. In the past, these teams would have quit, but these guys just kept playing.”

A key moment for the Rebels was when Volunteer’s Leyton Patrick slapped the backboard intentionally and received a technical foul just moments after the same situation had happened on the opposite end of the floor. Those two free throws put South up eight points with less than two minutes to go.

Even though Volunteer had a couple of opportunities to win the game late, including having the ball down 76-74 with 17 seconds to go, South’s free throws made the lead constant at either two or three points.

Girls

Sullivan South 56, Volunteer 39

The Lady Rebels (0-2, 4-5) jumped out to an early 5-2 lead and kept the pedal to the metal from the get-go.

The full court pressure and hustle bothered the Lady Falcons (0-2, 3-5), who amassed a number of turnovers, especially in the second quarter.

Alex Harris was a good bit of the offense for South, finishing with 15 points while Carissa Comsa had 13.

Volunteer was held to just two points in the second quarter and that bucket came with 25.6 seconds left in the half on a breakaway layup off a steal. It ended a 12-0 Lady Rebels run to close out the first half.

Sophomore Kendal Knittle had 20 for the game-high to lead Volunteer and Aliyah Crawley had 11.

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