PIKEVILLE, Tenn.–It’s been a long week for Lucas Nunley and his Warrior squad, but things didn’t get any easier when Sequatchie County came to town Friday night for the renewal of the Battle for the Stump.
Riding a seven-game win streak and winning their last three games by a combined margin of five points, Bledsoe County had all the momentum, but the timing of the matchup paired with grind of the season was not their friend as Sequatchie County snuck past the host team with a 65-58 victory.
“They’ve got some kids who can finish,” Indians head coach Jason Smith said. “When they’re coming in here on a seven-game win streak, we knew we were going to have to play well. The other night against Grundy we came out flat. Tonight we came out and energy led to energy.”
And the gym was rocking as Sequatchie County got rolling in the first quarter and the Warriors tried to dig up out of the hole.
“Our younger kids that haven’t experienced the rivalry were a little shell-shocked at first,” Bledsoe County head coach Lucas Nunley said. “Anytime you hit seven three-pointers in the first quarter, that’s a pretty big gap to overcome. They were looking at a 30-point first quarter.”
Sequatchie County’s Jarrett Lynn and Tanner French found their groove from the three-point line early and combined for six trifectas in the the first quarter alone. Noah Bartley put up 12 points of his own in the first half while managing the paint. Holding a 31-13 lead, the Indians soon pushed the margin to 21 points in the first half before going into the locker room with a 49-30 lead.
What happened next, though, was the pure essence of a Valley rivalry.
“I really felt like they were dictating the tempo early,” Nunley said. “They were really putting it on us and frustrating our kids. We got them in at halftime, regrouped, and got their minds refocused. It really flip-flopped from there.”
The Warriors came out and lit up the court, eventually dwindling a 20-point margin down to 10 at the end of the third. With the help of Meloncon, who scored 31 points on the night, Bledsoe County eventually pulled within four late in the final period.
“We had the lead on our side, the ball on our side,” Smith said. “We were out there playing like we had a shot clock. We got some good key defense there at the end with some great rebounds and fortunately, we squeaked by.
The Indians ended the night with a close win in typical ‘Stump’ fashion, 65-58. As for the district, Sequatchie County moves into second place with the tiebreaker over the Warriors, but there’s still a long road ahead with Grundy County still in the running for 2nd place in the district. Chattanooga Christian currently sits at the top undefeated in district with their closest win coming by eight points.
The Indians travel to Notre Dame Tuesday while the Warriors host non-TSSAA program Rhea County Academy in Pikeville.
SCHS — 31 | 18 | 9 | 7 || 65
BCHS — 13 | 17 | 18 | 10 || 58
SCHS (65) — Jarrett Lynn (21), Noah Bartley (18), Tanner French (9)
BCHS (58) — Riley Meloncon (31), Cole Angel (8), Trail Hyatte (6), Joey Vanvalkenburg (6)