DUNLAP, Tenn.–It’s been four long years since the Yellow Jackets last beat Sequatchie County in Dunlap.
Four years too long for Grundy County head coach Kevin Butner who is still in his first year of coaching at the program. The Yellow Jackets might have needed overtime to grab the district win, but they snatched it out of district contender Sequatchie County Friday night, 53-52.
“We stuck with what we’re good at,” Butner said. “I feel like I’ve been trying to over-adjust a lot. I told they guys that they know we do. I told them to go out there and do that. They’ve really started to believe in what we’re doing. We’re a young team, and we’re really starting to come together. The things we’ve been doing–beating Franklin County, Notre Dame–that hasn’t been there in six years.”
Grundy County, though, had a rough start to the game as they trailed 12-4 seconds before Noah Bean hit a three to end the 1st quarter of play. The Indians stayed ahead by a constant margin of 3-5 points during the 2nd period but could not put any kind of cushion between themselves and their bitter rival.
“The biggest thing was that we were flat,” Indians head coach Jason Smith said. “Shots were off. We couldn’t get any sync going offensively. It seemed like we were battling all night to try and get some rhythm. Nobody actually felt comfortable running anything. We’ve beat them twice already, so our kids could have been more relaxed coming in here.”
As the night went on, the spark for Grundy County kept getting more and more attention as they erased a six point lead that the Indians had in the third quarter and eventually lead by five in the fourth quarter. A huge part of that run was Trey Hampton who took the spark and lit up the scoreboard with 22 points.
“Trey Hampton really stepped up,” Butner said. “He’s known as a three-point artist, and tonight his shots weren’t falling. He learned to just rebound and attack. Then those shots started to fall. He’s a young guy, and he’s got to learn not to be complacent. Tonight, he learned how to battle through adversity.”
And as Trey Hampton’s shot kept rolling late, Sequatchie County could see the game hanging in the balance.
With less than a minute to go in the game, the Indians held a two point lead. After a great display of passing by the Jackets, Boo Goins hit a trifecta from the corner to send his team up by one. On the other end of the court, Jarrett Lynn, who hit a last minute three against Notre Dame on Tuesday to seal the deal, made it from the three-point line to put the Indians up 47-45 with 16 seconds to go.
Grundy County had the ball on their side of the court with 7 seconds left, and Goins made a layup to tie all up with 0.7 seconds left. The half-court shot from Sequatchie County was no good, which sent the game to overtime. Trent Hampton would strike first with a layup to make it 49-47. Braden Lawson tied it up before Grundy County’s Blaine Harris hit two free throws to put the Jackets up 51-49.
The Indians missed an opportunity with under 25 seconds left and were forced to foul Kollyn Cooper who made both of his free throws with 5 second left. On the other end, Noah Bartley made a three-pointer with .3 seconds left on the clock. Grundy County grabbed the inbounds, and that left the Indian faithful stunned.
“It was anybody’s ball game there at the end,” Smith said. “I was dissappointed at a couple of possessions late when I thought we had a chance to go ahead. When it was 44-42 in the fourth quarter, we were going to isolate and try to get an easy basket on a mismatch, and we made a poor decision…and ended up getting a charge called. Grundy County just outshot us tonight.”
For the Yellow Jackets, the rivalry itself had a huge impact on the game as they readied themselves play on enemy turf.
“This rivalry is always there,” Butner said. “You don’t have to say anything. They’re energetic for you. There’s a lot of emotions, a lot of intensity. They play harder in this game than any other.”
The Yellow Jackets and Indians both host on Tuesday as Chattanooga Christian heads to Dunlap and Signal Mountain makes the Valley leap to Grundy County for some continued District 7-AA play.
GCHS — 7 | 10 | 13 | 17 || 6 || 53
SCHS — 12 | 11 | 10 | 14 || 5 || 52
GCHS (53) — Trey Hampton (22), Trent Hampton (8), Kollyn Cooper (7)
SCHS (52) — Noah Bartley (13), Logan Campbell (9), Jarrett Lynn (8)