Tennessee High battles but falls in quarterfinals at Arby's Classic

John Moorehouse • Dec 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The last local team left standing in the Arby’s Classic championship field, Tennessee High succumbed on Monday night.

But the host team didn’t go down without a fight.

The Vikings gave Miller Grove all it could handle in a 62-58 decision in the first of Monday’s championship quarterfinals.

Bearden, Boyd-Anderson and Briarcrest joined Miller Grove in the semifinals, but the Vikes almost secured a spot.

“The kids had a fire in their eyes,” Tennessee High coach Roby Witcher said. “We felt like we could compete with these guys and we did.”

Did they ever. The Vikings had the hot shooting hand early and parlayed that into a 21-13 cushion at one juncture in the first quarter. Miller Grove steadily worked its way back, closing the half on a 9-2 run to take a 38-32 advantage.

Then it was Tennessee High’s turn to play catchup. The Vikes finally tied it at 56 and again at 58, but Miller Grove made a key defensive stop and hit its free throws in the final seconds to ensure victory.

Mfon Udofia, a Georgia Tech signee, compiled a game-high 25 points for his Georgia club.

Corey Young led Tennessee High with 15 points. Mason Canty added 14 and Tre’ Webb had 10.

“They’re usually state contenders,” Young said of Miller Grove. “This tells us we can play with anybody as long as we come together.”

In a matchup of Class 6A heavyweights from Florida, Boyd Anderson bested Dr. Michael Krop 55-34. Both teams combined to shoot less than 30 percent, but Boyd Anderson’s 18-for-60 effort was a revelation compared to Krop’s 12-for-45 performance.

“We’ve yet to be as crisp as we would like to be,” said Boyd coach Eugene Richardson, who cited his team’s 17-hour bus trip to Bristol as a factor in the sluggishness.

Marlavious Irving led Boyd Anderson with 13 points.

The Lightning started 0-for-5 from the field and never found an offensive rhythm. The second half started just as poorly with two turnovers and a technical foul on coach Markos “Shakey” Rodriquez for disputing an offensive foul.

“Like I told the (referee), you’re making a mockery out of the game,” said Rodriquez, whose club committed 25 turnovers. “That’s not what this game entails. Falling on the ground, it just makes it a bad game.”

Knoxville’s Bearden team beat Monsignor Pace 57-54 when a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Rakeem Buckles went off the rim.

Big man Demonte Simpson had 13 points for the Bulldogs, who stayed undefeated.

The defending Arby’s champion, Briarcrest rallied from a seven-point deficit with less than two minutes to go to beat Benedictine 42-40. Benedictine lost some steam when North Carolina signee Cameron Wright (15 points) fouled out.

Leslie McDonald paced Briarcrest with 17 points.

The semifinals will follow the slam dunk contest, which is tabbed to begin at 5:30 p.m. today.

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