JASPER, Tenn.–Van Buren County battled to a 68-54 win over CSAS as the Eagles claimed the Region 3-A Championship. Van Buren County’s Caden Mills poured in 37 points and was named the Region 3-A Tournament MVP.
“I am super proud of our guys tonight,”said Van Buren County Head Coach Dustin Sullivan. “We emphasized taking care of the ball, being patient and then using our height to our advantage as long as we didn’t give them easy layups. We executed and stayed calm when the game got tight down the stretch.“
The game went back and forth to begin the contest as Van Buren County trailed 8-7 with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter. CSAS closed out the first quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 15-9 lead into the second quarter. CSAS’s Miguel Hamilton scored 10 points in the first quarter.
The Eagles came out in the second quarter on fire as Van Buren County opened the quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 21-15 lead with 4:13 remaining in the half. Van Buren County took a 25-20 lead into halftime. Mills added 12 points in the second quarter.
“They [CSAS] were getting a lot of easy looks early and that’s what hurt us,” said Sullivan about the early deficit. “Once we started contesting shots and clicking on offense we were able close out the first half on a good note.”
Van Buren County came out of halftime in rhythm as the Eagles took a 32-23 with 6:24 left in the third quarter. CSAS then went a 7-0 to cut the lead down to 32-30 with 3:55 left in the quarter. The Eagles closed out the third quarter on 13-6 run to take a 45-36 lead into the fourth quarter. CSAS’s Darius Graves scored 13 points in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth game until Mills took over for Van Buren County. Mills put on a show, scoring 16 straight points in the fourth quarter, as finished with 19 points in the quarter. The Eagles finished the game on a 13-2 run to close out the big win over CSAS.
“Caden is always a big time player, literally and figuratively,” said Sullivan about the big performance from Mills. “He got a lot of easy looks around the basket but someone has to get him the ball. He [Mills] was great for us tonight but so was everyone else around him.”
In addition to Mill’s 37-point performance, Bo Walker added 16 points for Van Buren County. The trio of Graves, Hamilton and Cahlib Edwards combined for 53 of CSAS’s 54 points.
With the win, Van Buren County earns the right to host a Sub-State match up against Pickett County.
“We will take tomorrow off and use Saturday and Sunday to prepare,” said Sullivan about preparing for what’s ahead. “There is nothing like a home sub state game, Pickett County is a very good team so we have to go out, enjoy the moment and execute.”
VBHS — 9 | 16 | 20 | 23 || 68
CSAS — 15 | 5 | 16 | 18 || 54
VBHS (68) — Caden Mills (37), Bo Walker (16), Jacob Crain (9)
CSAS (54) — Darius Graves (23), Cahlib Edwards (16), Miguel Hamilton (14)