The Rebels utilized their towering frontline — 6-foot-6 Logan Blair, 6-5 Tyler Ashworth and 6-3 Dustin Sims — to overwhelm the Junior Bucs.
Crashing the boards and fast-breaking, the Rebels quickly opened an 11-0 lead and never looked back.
South, playing with eight juniors on its roster, turned the Tylers loose. Tyler Moore, who hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range, led the way with 21 points and Tyler Ashworth tossed in 17.
“Both Moore and Ashworth had a real good game,’’ South coach Mark Pendleton said. “Moore shot well on the jayvee team last year and he’s starting to do the same on the varsity. Ashworth uses size to his advantage on the offensive end.
“All the kids played hard, particularly on the defensive end,” Pendleton added. “Point guard Bailee Dick pushed the basketball and made good decisions.’’
University High’s top scorers were Josh Phillips with 12 points and Jeremiah Greenlee with 10.
The Junior Bucs graduated five of their first seven players from a state tournament team and have met nine teams in a higher classification this year.
“We didn’t take care of the ball or rebound very well,’’ U-High coach Justin Penley said. “We started the game with five straight turnovers.’’
South will go against Morristown West at 7 o’clock tonight in the semifinals.
West slipped past Happy Valley 51-47 on Monday. After missing a pair of one-plus free throws in a three-second span, the Trojans sealed the win when Chad Brooks scored on a fast break with four seconds remaining.
Sean Jones powered West with 18 points. Brooks added 13. Happy Valley’s scoring leader was Jake Hodge with 16.
“We hadn’t played in nine days and it showed,’’ West coach Tony Gordon said. “The execution wasn’t what it should have been at any point. We’ve got a lot of things to work on. At the end, we were determined not to give up the lane.’’
Happy Valley’s Charlie Bayless, the state’s winningest coach, said: “We’re lacking in basketball savvy. We’ve got some talent but the boys don’t use it.’’
Elizabethton, which earned a semifinal slot with its 68-59 win over Cherokee, will face Mitchell County at 8:30 tonight.
The Cyclones almost squandered a 15-point lead in the closing minutes.
“I liked what we’d done until the three-minute mark,’’ Elizabethton coach Marty Street said. “We’re fortunate to have pulled it out. If not for the runs we had in the second and third quarters, we’d have lost the game.’’
Ryan Thomas led the Cyclones’ charge with 23 points. Zach Montgomery had 17.
For Cherokee it was Wes Horton with 20 and Logan Bailiff with 18.
“We’re having stretches in games where we aren’t playing well. We’re not playing all four quarters,’’ Chiefs coach Jeremy Parrott said. “Elizabethton has an athletic team and forced us into a fast tempo.’’
Mitchell County rallied miraculously to beat host North 64-63.
The Golden Raiders enjoyed a seemingly safe 55-43 lead only to see the Mountaineers storm back in the final 3½ minutes.
Austin Burleson’s 10-foot jumper with 16 seconds to go decided the win. He was Mitchell’s top scorer with 15.
North had three big scorers — Mark Salyers (16), Eric Herring (15) and William White (13). Salyers converted a five-point play at one juncture.
“North whipped us all night,’’ Mitchell coach Daron Williams said, “but we hung in there.’’
“The loss was a tough one to swallow,” said Raiders coach Mitch Cox. “We made five turnovers in the last two minutes and missed seven free throws in the fourth quarter.’’