DUNLAP, Tenn–The Sequatchie County Indians use a big night from Tanner French in route to a 61-45 win over Bledsoe County in the District Semifinals on Thursday night at Sequatchie County High School. It marks the first time since 2012 that Sequatchie County has advanced to the District Championship.
“Our guys finished third last season and have worked very hard this season to get back to this point,” said Sequatchie County head coach Jason Smith. “We knew coming into this game that Bledsoe County was hungry after losing to us twice so far this season. But our guys came out and set the tone early which ultimately led to us winning down the stretch.”
Sequatchie County came out on fire as the Indians jumped out to a quick 16-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Bledsoe County hit a few shots towards the end of first quarter but Sequatchie County led 19-8 going into the second. French hit four three-pointers in the first quarter.
Bledsoe County opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run to cut Sequatchie County’s lead down to 19-17 with 5:43 left in the quarter. The Indians then went on a 12-5 run to take a 31-22 lead over the Warriors into halftime. Bledsoe County’s Riley Meloncon added 11 points in the second quarter.
The first few minutes of the second half was back and forth but Sequatchie County jumped out to a 40-28 lead with 3:52 left in the third quarter. Bledsoe County then went on an 8-0 run to close out the quarter to cut the Indian’s lead down to 40-36 with one quarter left to play.
“We wanted to keep a lead and maintain our poise down the stretch,” said coach Smith about controlling the first half lead. “Our main goal was to control the glass and make free throws in the second half because we knew they were going to put us on the line.”
The fourth quarter was close at the beginning as Bledsoe County got within four points with 6:45 left to play. But that was the closest the game got as Sequatchie County used a 16-4 run to close out the game. The Indians secured the win and a spot in the district championship with good fast break offense and lock down defense.
French led Sequatchie County with 23 points and six three-pointers including a clutch three that gave the Indians a 52-43 lead with 2:36 left in the fourth quarter. Bledsoe County’s Meloncon also added 23 points but a majority of his points came on the free throw line as finished 10-for-14.
“Tanner French hit some big momentum shots for us tonight,” said coach Smith. “He broke Bledsoe County’s back on a few shots down the stretch. He [French] is just a junior and he will continue to get better and better.”
Sequatchie County advances to face Notre Dame in the District Championship on Saturday Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Bledsoe County moves on to face Chattanooga Christian in the third place consolation game at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 18.
SCHS — 19 | 12 | 9 | 21 || 61
BCHS — 8 | 14 | 14 | 9 || 45
SCHS (65) — Tanner French (23), Jarrett Lynn (15), Noah Bartley (12)
BCHS (58) — Riley Meloncon (23), Trail Hyatte (7), Cole Angel (6)