BLOUNTVILLE — After struggling earlier in the year, an 83-point explosion in the season’s final contest ensured Tennessee High ended its season on a positive note.
Playing the role of spoiler at Sullivan Central’s Senior Night festivities, Tennessee High defeated the Cougars 83-52 inside the Dickie Warren Dome on Friday evening.
Winners of their last six games, the Vikings (19-10, 8-6 Big 8 Conference) used a combination of shooting proficiency and stingy defense to pull away throughout the game’s final 16 minutes.
Early in the contest, however, the Cougars (5-25, 2-12) took advantage of easy shots to stay within striking distance of Tennessee High.
Central senior post Adam Church scored 15 of his 25 points in the first half.
“In the first half, we played really well,” said Central coach Tony Vaughn. “Adam Church was a big reason for that. He gave a tremendous effort tonight.”
With his team up just 33-31 at intermission, Vikings coach Roby Witcher said he spoke to his players about making defensive adjustments to prevent Central from continuing to get uncontested shots.
Entering the third quarter, Tennessee High’s went on an impressive offensive tear. The Vikings grabbed a 43-31 lead early in the period.
Senior wing Hunter Jones scored 10 points in the third period and junior post Adam Kitzmiller added another nine to help the Vikings build a 65-43 lead.
Sophomore post Austin McReynolds’ 3-point shot from just beyond midcourt placed an exclamation point on the Vikings’ 32-point performance in the third.
“Tennessee High played really well in the second half. They shot 68 percent from the field. We only shot 36 percent,” Vaughn said.
In the girls’ contest, Tennessee High (22-4, 12-2) built an early 16-point lead and cruised to a 68-43 victory over the Lady Cougars.
Lady Vikings coach Barry Wade said his game plan relied on controlling the boards and forcing Central (5-23, 2-12) into committing turnovers.
“We were able to force some quick shots by Central and we were able to make some good things happen for us in the transition game,” Wade said.
The Lady Vikings’ Ashlee Mitchell scored 20 points and was 4-for-6 from the free throw line.
Sydney Norwood led the Cougars in scoring with an 11-point performance.
For complete coverage of the games see the Feb. 9 edition of the Times-News.