DUNLAP, Tenn.–The last time Bledsoe County punched a regionals ticket, they had Mark Cagle calling the shots and a line-up’s worth of seniors.
These days Cagle is not calling the shots, but he quietly sits behind the bench almost as a head coach emeritus, guiding the new gun in town, Lucas Nunley. And as for the lineup full of seniors, they look better and better with every game.
The last time all those things coincided, the Warriors fell a game short of sectionals.
“At this point in the year, it’s momentum,” Nunley said. “That’s what you want on your side. Here I was worrying if we peaked too early with that upset against Van Buren County. After that we were playing really bad, but every basketball season is a roller coaster.”
The Warriors grabbed a 21-12 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, but they couldn’t pull away by more than ten points throughout the first half.
“Cole Angel really locked down the paint for us early,” Nunley said. “He really started making them take deep shots. Frechette controlled the ball really well, but he stepped up and gave us about 10 points, which we usually don’t get from him. And it’s a treat to coach a kid like Riley Meloncon.”
After the half, the Warriors put a cushion underneath an already sizeable lead, pushing the margin to around 20-points before Signal Mountain leveled it out. Bledsoe County would go on to take down the Eagles, 68-56.
Monday night was just the start of their postseason as the Warriors have guaranteed themselves three more games down the stretch. And they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
“They know that they made their goals this year,” Nunley said. “But I walked into the locker room and asked my guys, ‘Are you satisfied?’ No, no sir was their response. Going into a rival like Sequatchie County, how does the old saying go? ‘It’s hard to beat the same team three times.'”
And as the Warriors continue their postseason quest, eventually history will catch up to them. Hopefully for Nunley, the past will show up in a positive way.
“We sat down at the beginning of the season and this was one of our goals, to make the region tournament,” Nunley said. “That was the last one we put a star beside on the first day of practice. Some of them had experienced it, but they were sitting on the pine when it happened. And being senior-loaded helps us out a bunch.”
Still, Cagle, who took the Warriors to the region semifinals just two seasons ago, sits in the shadows, quietly scribbling stats to the tune of Nunley chastising his players on the court. He sits, waiting to see greatness in a program that he groomed for many years.
And, as any Warrior does, he marvels in the chance to stick it to Sequatchie County every chance he gets. That chance lies in the Thursday nightcap at Sequatchie County High School, starting at 7 PM central time.
SMHS — 12 | 9 | 11 | 23 || 56
BCHS — 21 | 8 | 24 | 15 || 68
SMHS (56) — KT Webb (13), Jarren Radden (12), Owen Honroth (9)
BCHS (68) — Riley Meloncon (27), Dawson Frechette (8), Trail Hyatte (10)