APPALACHIA — How many times in a season do you need to beat a given team?
In Clintwood’s case, one time too few.
Chase Beverly scored 22 points and Pound beat the rival Greenwave 60-59 in Tuesday night’s opening round of the Lonesome Pine District boys basketball tournament at Appalachia.
Clintwood (9-14) had topped the Wildcats in three previous meetings.
“I think subconsciously in the backs of our minds we thought we could come in here and cruise tonight” said ’Wave coach David Vanover, whose team needed two tournament wins to qualify for the Region D, Division 2 bracket.
“Tournament time is an entirely different story,” Vanover said.
Division 1 Pound (6-17) got what it needed to earn its first Region D tournament appearance since 2005. The Wildcats led for the duration, getting a 3-pointer from Tanner Logan to prime the pump. Beverly hit two trifectas during an eight-point surge that put Pound ahead 11-4.
The Wildcats built and maintained a 10-point margin until the final three minutes, when the jittery Pound players started inadvertently fouling despite coach Chris Wilson’s warnings to the contrary.
With 1:41 remaining, Cameron Vanover — who led the Greenwave with 23 points — pressured the basketball up top for a steal and a transition layup to close to within 54-51.
Pound got two huge buckets inside from Aaron Branham to enable the ’Cats to withstand a trey by Clintwood’s R.J. Mullins with 36 seconds showing.
Over the final 30 seconds, Pound lost Josh Lowe to a fifth-foul charge and got two critical free throws from Justin Rutherford three seconds before Rutherford fouled out with his team ahead 60-57.
The Wildcats fouled Vanover with 3.9 seconds remaining rather than let him unload a 3-pointer. He missed both free throws, collected his own rebound and scored with a tenth of a second remaining — one point shy.
“I kept telling them at the half that (Clintwood) was going to fight back. We were going to have to match that fight,” said Wilson, whose squad faces Powell Valley in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal. “They came roaring back like we expected. Luckily we kind of held on late at the end and pulled out a big win.”
Rutherford had 16 points and five rebounds for the Wildcats. Lowe had nine points and seven rebounds while Daniel Perry had eight rebounds. Trey Meade scored 13 points for Clintwood while Mullins had 10 and J.T. Fleming scored nine.
In the nightcap, J.J. Kelly waited until late to slip the dagger to rival J.I. Burton, prevailing 60-42. The Indians advanced to face Appalachia in Thursday’s nightcap.
Tuesday’s win clinched a Region D, Division 2 berth for Kelly, which has ambitions belied by the night’s sluggish start.
“If we win Thursday we get a chance to hold a trophy and it could get us an upper seed in the region,” said Kelly coach T.J. McAmis.
Dillon Clark scored 15 points for the Indians (12-10), who clung to a single-digit lead as late as 5:11 in the fourth quarter before finally putting the spurs to it. Garth Nicely had 12 points and five rebounds while Alex Crouch had nine points and 11 boards. Jeremiah Cooke collected six rebounds.
Sawyer Turner had 16 points to pace the Raiders (3-15).
“We’ve been through a really tough season and have been in some really tough situations,” said Burton coach Aaron Williams. “But tonight I was really proud of them just competing, all the way to the very end.”