JONESBOROUGH — After trailing by as many as 23 points, the Sullivan South boys basketball team came alive in the fourth quarter of its semifinal matchup with Unicoi County in the Hardee’s Classic on Friday night.
The Rebels used relentless full-court pressure to cut the deficit to just three, 53-50, with 1:21 left in the game, but that’s as close as South could get.
Unicoi (6-0) hit two late free throws to seal a 55-50 victory and advance to Saturday night’s championship game against the winner between David Crockett and Sullivan East. The Rebels will take on the loser of that contest at 7 p.m. in the third-place game.
South scored almost half its total points in the final quarter, when it outscored the Blue Devils 23-11.
The Rebels (2-3) had rallied from 20 points behind to clip Daniel Boone in the quarterfinals, but against the Blue Devils their luck ran out.
“If we hope to be the team we expect to be, we can’t dig ourselves into holes like this,” said South coach Mark Pendleton. “You’d think we learned that lesson against Boone. It’s disappointing to come out and do the same thing again.”
Connor Simpson led Unicoi County with 19 points and Ethan Rice added 13.
Evan Headrick had 14 points and Will Blair 13 to lead South.
For an expanded version of this article, please see Saturday's print edition or our electronic edition.