BRISTOL, Tenn. — A pair of Northeast Tennessee squads bid farewell to the 2015 Arby’s Classic in early action Tuesday at Viking Hall. Christian Academy of Knoxville eliminated Sullivan East 64-56, and Mentor, Ohio, did the same to cold-shooting Dobyns-Bennett, 69-51.
Mentor and CAK both moved on to today’s sixth-place semifinal round today at Viking Hall. Mentor (6-2) will face Gate City at 9 a.m. with CAK (8-6) meeting Father Henry Carr at 10:30.
CAK’s Turner Helton tallied nine first-quarter points against East, and his basket in the second quarter gave the Warriors a 27-17 advantage. But the Patriots embarked on a stunning 21-1 run to the end the first half and scored the first five points of the third quarter to grab a 43-28 advantage.
Just as stunning was CAK’s response. Ignited by the shooting of Isaiah Sulack, the Warriors outpointed the Patriots 23-2 to garner a 51-45 lead early in the fourth quarter.
CAK coach Shane Wells admitted the Warriors’ body language wasn’t good at halftime.
“I’m looking at them and thinking, ‘I’m not sure we are going to be able to come back,’ ” Walls said. “They just had that look on their face. Obviously they fooled me.”
The Warriors cashed in a number of second-chance opportunities to keep the run alive.
“They just killed us on the offensive glass,” East coach John Dyer said. “We let them get too many second chances and they took advantage of them.”
Sulack hit three shots from behind the arc, including a pull-up from 25 feet on a 2-on-1 fast break to cap the comeback.
A Gavin Grubb bucket did get East briefly back within four points, but CAK scored six straight to pad the lead to 10 at 67-57.
Turner Helton helped hold off the Patriots by making 6 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter. Helton finished with 17 points and Sulack pumped in 19 on the heels of four 3-pointers to give him 14 total 3s for the tournament, five short of the Arby’s record of 19 set by former Georgia Bulldog D.A. Layne of Marietta Wheeler in 1997. Helton, Sulack and David High grabbed six boards apiece.
East (11-5) got 18 points from Cole Green but was short-handed with Green in foul trouble and sharpshooting Garet Johnson also on the bench injured.
“Cole’s foul trouble hurt us, there is no doubt about that,” Dyer said. “And Garet getting hurt, too, that was a bad combination there.”
Grubb finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Hunter Owens netted 13 points and corralled eight boards.
“It’s a great tournament. We played some great competition,” Dyer noted. “It will help us down the road. We will get better.”
In Dobyns-Bennett’s loss to Mentor, the Indians made just 16 of 56 field goal attempts to offset the pedestrian 26-of-71 effort from the Cardinals.
Mentor did start hot, scoring nine points in the game’s first minute and 11 straight before the Tribe tallied. The initial burst grew to 16-2 and was enough to carry the Cardinals. The Indians (2-9) never inched closer than seven the rest of the way.
“We didn’t get off to a good start, but our guys didn’t hang their heads,” said D-B coach Charlie Morgan. “They continued to give a good effort, tried to stay the course and we played hard. At times, we made poor decisions with the basketball, but I thought our effort was good.”
Even afforded the luxury of making hay at the charity stripe thanks to 32 whistles against the Cardinals, the Tribe missed enough freebies to make up the final differential.
“The thing that hurt us again today was shooting free throws and turnovers,” Morgan said. “Overall, 17-of-35 from the free throw line is not very good. And people are capitalizing pretty well off our turnovers. That’s not a good thing.
“When you turn it over and they score immediately, that can really fire up the other team.”
Eight Cardinals tallied six or more points, with only Jack Korsok reaching double figures with 11. Tadas Tatarunas led a robust rebounding edge of 53-27 for Mentor by pulling down 13 boards to go with his nine points.
Zack Griffin led D-B with 14 points, 10 coming in the second half. Brandon Gilliam and Mello Wadsworth added eight each.