The vital league win allowed the Vikings (16-7, 4-3) to stay on the heels of second- place D-B (10-9, 5-2), which was coming off a tough overtime loss at first-place Science Hill.
“The heart of this team is incredible,” said Tennessee High senior Nolan Wishon.
Down all night, THS trailed 36-24 at halftime and by a 50-34 count with a minute left in the third quarter. But somehow, the Vikings came back — dominating the fourth quarter to the tune of 29-8.
“There’s no quit in us,” said Wishon, who played an outstanding game.
Behind the energy of Mchale Bright, the clutch play of Cole McBrayer and the steadiness of the 6-foot-7 Wishon, the Vikings scored on their first five possessions of the final period.
“We made shots,” THS coach Roby Witcher said. “We had to or else.”
Blake Fauver nailed a key 3-point jumper and McBrayer hit a pair of bombs beyond the arc, helping the Vikings tie the game at 55 with 2:10 left to play.
“Everybody pitched in,” Witcher said. “It was a great team win.”
The Vikings got their first lead of the game since 2-0 when Isaiah Smith took his man off the dribble from 17 feet out and scored on a driving layup, putting THS up 59-57 with 1:22 to play.
Wishon then hit 4 of 4 free throws to hold the Indians at bay.
After having their way for three quarters, the Indians gave up their stronghold to an aggressive man-to-man defense led by Bright, an athletic presence with quick feet who moves effortlessly at 6-3 and 200 pounds.
“He’s such a great athlete,” Wishon said.
D-B scored just two buckets in the fourth period and missed the front end of two huge 1-and-1s in the game’s final 1:13.
The powerful Wishon finessed his way to 21 points to lead all scorers. Bright finished with 13 points, McBrayer 12 and Fauver 11.
The Tribe, playing without the ill Malachi Hale, got 15 points from Abiah Releford and 11 apiece from Brady Stump and Jack Browder.
D-B GIRLS RIGHT SHIP
Coming off a convincing loss at Science Hill, the Lady Indians got back to their winning ways by beating Tennessee High 61-35. D-B (17-6, 6-1) led 16-8 after one quarter, 30-14 at halftime and 47-20 through three quarters.
Olivia Doran knocked home four 3-point jumpers to lead the Tribe with 14 points. Caitlyn Wallace contributed 13 for D-B, which hit eight 3-pointers.
The Lady Vikings (5-18, 1-6) were led by the 14-point game of Kenzie Nickels.