GREENEVILLE - For one quarter, Volunteer stood toe to toe with Greeneville, but the 1-2 punch of Antoine Wiggins and Tremaine Gash proved too much for the Falcons.
The Greene Devils' dynamic duo combined for 56 points as Greeneville raced past the Falcons 78-53 in the first round of the Region 1-AAA boys basketball tournament Saturday night.
It was the 21st win in a row for the Greene Devils at Hal Henard Gymnasium, pushing their home record to 17-0 this season.
"When you come down here, you're probably going to get your money's worth," Greeneville coach Billy Duncan said.
But in the first quarter, it was the Falcons who gave the Greene Devils all they wanted.
The teams traded points like heavyweights trade punches during a fast-paced first quarter.
Keith Cradic hit a jumper in the lane for Volunteer to tie the game at 26 in the closing seconds of the first period. But Greeneville switched out of a man-to-man defense and into an active zone that slowed the Falcons' offense before halftime.
"We changed defenses and that was the key," Duncan said. "We had matchup problems because we're a small team."
Greeneville went on a 12-3 run to open the second period, and when the Falcons started to get into foul trouble, the Greene Devils smelled blood in the water.
Wiggins threw down an alley-oop in the closing seconds of the first half, putting an exclamation point on a 25-11 period that gave the Greene Devils a 51-37 cushion at the break.
"We got into foul trouble early, and that hurt us," Volunteer coach Todd Whittemore said. "We played hard, but it didn't go our way."
Gash had put up 20 points for Greeneville by halftime, adding to the havoc being caused by the 6-foot-7 Wiggins.
The Falcons could muster only 16 points in the second half as the Greene Devils pushed the lead to more than 20 and cruised to the win.
Wiggins led all scorers with 30 points while Gash's 26-point effort shattered his previous career high. Antoine Anderson pitched in with three points and eight rebounds for Greeneville (32-2).
Cradic led Volunteer (20-13) with 15 points despite missing much of the second and third quarters with foul trouble.
Chadd Browder added 12 points for the Falcons and Darren Mauk pitched in with 10.
Tyler Seals led Volunteer with seven rebounds.
Despite hitting a scoring drought after the big first quarter, Whittemore said he was proud of his team for playing hard until the final buzzer.
One year removed from a 9-19 campaign after making the jump from Class AA to AAA, the Falcons managed to win 20 games this year and earn a regional berth in the process.
"I'm proud of our team," Whittemore said. "We exceeded expectations this year and I'd like to thank my assistants for doing such a great job."
For Greeneville, it's on to face Dobyns-Bennett on Tuesday night at Sullivan South in a regional semifinal matchup.
Duncan said he's concerned about facing off against Charlie Morgan's talented D-B squad with a berth in the sectionals on the line.
"They're a tough, disciplined team," he said. "They play hard and that Sensabaugh kid is a tremendous athlete. Charlie will have them ready to play."
The Indians and the Greene Devils will face off at 7:45 p.m. in the second semifinal game immediately following Science Hill's semifinal with Tennessee High.