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Gate City completes another perfect Mountain 7 run

Tanner Cook • Feb 14, 2020 at 10:48 PM

GATE CITY — On Senior Night inside the Devils’ Den, the Gate City boys basketball team completed its fifth consecutive unbeaten Mountain 7 District regular season with a 64-51 win over Lee High on Friday.

Gate City has not lost a league game in over five calendar years and has now won 68 of its last 69 home games.

Blue Devils senior guard Bradley Dean finished with a game-high 27 points, leaving him three shy of eclipsing 2,000 points for his career.

Jaxon Collier, Dylan Fannon and Jacob Whitaker each had 11 points to lead the Generals.

“This is the second straight group that we’ve had that has gone through and has not lost a regular-season district or tournament game at this point,” Gate City coach Scott Vermillion said. “Next week is going to be tough. It was said earlier in the year that the Mountain 7 looks to be very equal and competitive. If you watched the game tonight, it’s not that we played poorly. It’s that Lee High is playing well right now.”

Gate City went on a 10-0 run after trailing 34-32 with 5:44 left in the third quarter and seized an eight-point lead at the end of the period.

To the Generals’ credit, they played competitively the entire way and, if not for a string of turnovers and missed shots, they would have been in it late.

The Generals had the game down to single digits with under five minutes to go, but the Blue Devils got the ball into the hands of Dean. He made some key buckets down the stretch and hit most of his free throws.

In an odd situation at the end of the game, Gate City got the ball inbounds to Dean with under 10 seconds to go and he looked like he was fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but no call was made.

“Lee does some things that are hard to guard and their kids believe,” Vermillion said. “An old coach told me one time that if you truly play hard, you’ll be in any game and that’s what they did tonight.

“We made some careless decisions that kept them in the game. They guarded Brad really well and they did some stuff that allows you to win in the game of basketball and their coach is a winner. Hats off to Lee. They played really well.”

The Devils will host the district tournament next week, beginning with Wednesday’s tournament semifinals. Lee High will play Abingdon as the fifth seed on Monday.

LADY DEVILS IN COMMAND

The Lady Devils controlled the game from the outset and led wire to wire in the 46-31 victory.

Gate City was led offensively by Riley Houseright and Kayli Dunn, each finishing with 12 points. Dunn laid in a basket at the horn to set the final margin, which was the Lady Blue Devils’ biggest lead of the game.

Madison Jessee had 13 points and Pauline Tolentino had 12 to lead the Lady Generals.

Lee will play John Battle in a district tournament opening-round game on Tuesday.

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