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Purple Tigers roar into State
Mar 05, 2013 4:15 pm
By Andy Reed
WATERTOWN — Grace Baptist came up from Chattanooga and Watertown's Purple Tigers treated the Golden Eagles like the Central Park muggers greet visitors – they picked their pockets.
The Purple Tigers took it to the Eagles from the start and a rip-roaring Purple-clad throng tucked into every nook and cranny of the gym watched their heroes punch their first-ever State Tournament ticket with a 59-39 sectional win Monday night.
Watertown scored the first six points and was never threatened as the Tigers took their 30th triumph [against three losses] of the season for the first time in the history of the century-old school. They led as much as 42-15 early in the second half and even a 12-0 Grace run straddling the third and fourth quarters couldn't stop the Monday night party in Tigertown.
"Super proud for our kids, super proud for our program," Watertown coach Matt Bradshaw said shortly before his Tigers stepped up a ladder one by one to cut down the net. "These seniors have done a great job all year long as far as committing themselves to doing what it took to get to this position.
"We had a conversation at the beginning of the year, 'There is a huge gap between 25 wins [last season's total] and 30 wins and that we needed to close that gap'. These kids did a good job committing themselves to doing the little things it took to get to this position."
The Tigers roared to a 21-6 lead late in the first quarter and 38-12 just before Brandon McQueen banked home a long three-pointer at the halftime buzzer for Grace, which was victimized through most of the night by Watertown's quickness all over the court.
"We knew we could get after them, and if we got after them early, we knew what ball pressure did to them, and our goal was to get after them and get some ball pressure," Bradshaw said. "We did a great job early with that. Kind of backed off to let our kids calm down a little bit."
Ty Jobe knocked down 19 points, Macieo Gaines 18 and Josiah Smith 11 from the Watertown backcourt while Ethan Moss finished with five, Nick Sackman four and Jake Belcher two.
McQueen threw in three triples in leading Grace with 15 points as the Eagles returned to Chattanooga with a final 12-16 mark.
Fans arrived early for the game. Parking around the school was scarce an hour before the 7 p.m. tipoff.
"They were out there waiting in line at 4:30," Bradshaw said.
Watertown will play either March 13 or 14 at Middle Tennessee State's Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. Pairings will be determined by a draw at 10 a.m. Saturday during a meeting for State Tournament coaches.
History doesn't repeat for Central
BRENTWOOD — Wilson Central's boys tried gamely to repeat history during Monday's Class AAA sectional. Instead, Brentwood made history by advancing to the State Tournament for the first time with a 60-54 victory.
The Bruins, whose school opened its doors in 1982, led most of the night. But the Wildcats turned a 38-29 halftime deficit into a 50-49 lead on a Jacob Williams three-pointer with less than three minutes to play before a packed house.
But Brentwood quickly scored on the other end and the Bruins, who lost this game at home to Central one year ago, dropped in their free throws to advance to State with a 29-4 record.
"Brentwood made some plays at the end and we had a few things not go our way," Central coach Troy Bond said after his [and the school's] 12th season ended at 24-10. "We played extremely hard. I can't say enough about our effort. Our kids never gave up.
"We had a couple of good opportunities, we just didn't put the ball in the basket. We did a great job fighting through adversity in this game... They shot incredibly the first half."
Andy Schumpert poured in 21 points while point guard James McPherson finished with 10 for senior-laden Brentwood.
Central, dominated by juniors with the exception of a couple of seniors, was led by Matthew Hall's 18 points while Williams 17 and Ben Palmer nine. Blake Huffman, playing his final game as a Wildcat senior, supplied seven while Deante Miller threw in a first-quarter three-pointer. Point guard Jon Rosshirt didn't score, but notched nine assists, a few of the no-look variety.