WATERTOWN — Technically, it was a road game for Watertown, but the Purple Tigers fought hard in the final game in their gym before succumbing to Pickett County 58-53 in the opening round of the Region 4-A tournament Saturday night.
Pickett was slated to play the game in Byrdstown. But TSSAA sanctions stemming from a late-season fight with York Institute are keeping the Bobcats from playing a postseason home game for three years. Pickett wore the white uniforms and was the home team on the scoreboard.
But it was the Purple Tigers who made a strong bid to send their 31-year-old gym off in fine fashion before turning it over to the new Watertown Middle School next year as a new high school opens across town.
Watertown led 29-19 on a three-point play by Brandon George.
But Pickett’s pressure eventually speeded the Tigers up to their detriment as the Bobcats ran off 10 straight points. Taylor Edwards sank half of his four three-pointers in the fourth quarter and 11 of his 17 points in the final period to put the “home” team on top.
And armed with the lead, the Bobcats connected on 10 straight free throws and 15 of 17 in the fourth quarter to escape with a 21-9 mark and advance to a Tuesday semifinal date with Goodpasture at Livingston Academy.
“We did some stupid things the last 2 ½ minutes that cost us the ballgame,” Watertown coach Matt Bradshaw said after his rebuilding Tigers finished a 14-15 season. “We had fastbreak opportunities and turned the ball over.
“With their personnel, you know a storm is coming with their seniors. We did some silly things you can not do to win a ballgame.”
Peyton Garnett put in 5 of 7 free throws on his way to 15 points while John-Michael Ferrell finished with 14, including 9-of-12 from the foul line.
George and Dylan Speck each threw in 13 points for the Purple Tigers while freshman Seth Price put in 11. Senior Ty Jobe closed his Watertown career with a 10-point night while classmate Hunter Warren had four and senior Zach Edwards tossed in two. Kyle Oakley is the fourth Tiger senior.
“We did a good job of handling the pressure and we were able to get the shots we wanted in our halfcourt,” Bradshaw said of the early going. “We played a really good defensive ballgame.
“We did some silly stuff from the halfcourt line down [late] that cost us the ballgame.”
Rosshirt leads Central to 5-AAA semifinals
PARIS — A District 9-AAA semifinal loss to Mt. Juliet a week earlier forced Wilson Central to play Saturday’s Region 5-AAA opener on the road.
And it was host Henry County which paid the price as the Wildcats rolled to a 54-47 victory.
Central led 16-11 following the first quarter, 24-16 at halftime and 40-34 through three as the Wildcats climbed into Tuesday night’s 6 p.m. semifinal at Rossview against 9-AAA champion Station Camp with a 23-6 mark.
Point guard Jon Rosshirt helped extend his career by another game with 20 points, six steals and three assists, hitting all eight of his free throws. Jacob Wiliams added 11 points while Ben Palmer posted nine points and seven rebounds. Deante Miller added eight points, Preston Reed four and Matthew Hall two.
Henry County’s season ended at 18-9.
Station Camp advanced with a 47-42 win over Springfield.
Bears seize control in fourth to oust West Creek
MT. JULIET — After battling visiting West Creek tooth and nail for the first three quarters, the Golden Bears seized control in the fourth to take a 57-48 win in the opening round of the Region 5-AAA tournament Saturday night.
The Bears won the fourth 22-13 in breaking a 35-35 tie. West Creek led 11-9 following the first quarter and 26-23 at halftime as the Coyotes’ season ended at 17-18.
Mt. Juliet’s year will continue at 18-12 as the Golden Bears will face District 10-AAA champion Kenwood, a 79-55 winner over Gallatin, at Rossview at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.
Daniel Schroder led a balanced Bear offense with 13 points while John Mark Bell buried a pair of three-pointers on his way to 12. Point guard Zac Anderson, who owns a state championship ring from two years ago at Friendship Christian, added 10 points while James Womack knocked down nine and Austin Brown and Nolan Chowbay two each.
Jachin Almon nailed a pair of triples in leading West Creek with 14 points while Kistler Fletcher finished with 10.