DUNLAP, Tenn.–The Warriors and Indians played up to their seeding expectation in the District 7-AA Tournament this past week, but it was the unexpected forces that took home district titles.
In the nightcap, Sequatchie County faced off with a surprising Notre Dame team that upset the top-seeded Chargers just two days prior. The Irish found their lucky shot with the 63-48 victory over the Indians.
“They were really efficient in their offense tonight,” Indians head coach Jason Smith explained. “First two times we played them this season, they didn’t shoot so well, and we shot better. Our shooting was not bad, but our percentage was not as high as theirs.”
The Indians, led by Noah Bartley with 23 points, couldn’t get a feel for the Notre Dame offense early as they trailed at the half, 43-35. Sequatchie County was unable to match the volume of threes that Notre Dame guard Peter Berce put up in the first quarter.
“We didn’t get the ball inside as much tonight,” Smith said. We had to settle for jumpshots. We talked about getting the ball in during timeouts, and you saw flashes of it, but they had guys step up and take big shots at big times.”
As the game wore on, the Indians saw more and more the possibility of a comeback against the Irish, even pulling the margin down to single digits.
“We committed to getting the ball in and you saw bits and pieces,” Smith said. “We cut it to 6 or 7, but then they’d have a guy step up and make a huge shot. Every time we’d…gain some ground, they’d make a big play.”
Eventually, the Irish pulled the margin higher and higher as the game continued. Notre Dame went on to win the district title in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
For Sequatchie County, though, they still get to host a regional matchup in Dunlap against the highly-coveted District 8-AA slate.
“Last year, we drove three hours on a bus to Macon County,” Smith explained. “Everybody wants to get that first game at home. You’ve got the home court advantage, and you don’t have travel and get off the bus and straight to playing.”
As densely packed as District 8-AA is, though, playing the lowest seed can sometimes be the best chance for the entire 7-AA district.
“There’s not a lot of difference between their 3- and 4-seed,” Smith said. “They’re kind of similar. There’s a big difference between they’re 1 and 4, so it’s better to be able to host one of the lower seeds.”
The Indians will host District 8-AA’s 3rd-seeded Murfreesboro Central Magnet Saturday in a win-or-go-home scenario. The Indians must win their next two in order to qualify for sectionals.
SCHS — 17 | 8 | 17 | 6 || 48
NDHS — 26 | 17 | 9 | 11 || 63
SCHS (48) — Noah Bartley (23), Tanner French (9), Braden Lawson (7)
NDHS (63) — Peter Berce (18), CJ Greer (12), Kolby McGowan (11)