The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets (12-7) had their sights set on a top-four finish in the District 6-A Tournament and a region tournament appearance, but those goals fell to the wayside with a 59-51 home loss to the Monterey Wildcats (10-17) on Feb. 22.

Despite not playing for two weeks, the Jackets built a nine-point edge in the third quarter and took a six-point advantage into the fourth. But the hosts were outscored 23-9 in the final period and lost to the Wildcats after sweeping the regular-season series.

“Hats off to Coach West and Monterey for a good win,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “We just went cold and played uncharacteristically during the last four or five minutes that cost us.

“Second year in a row where we have lost a week of practice before the district tournament. It’s just unfortunate.”

The Jackets had a first-round bye and had not played in two weeks, whereas the Wildcats tuned their game with a 52-45 win over Clarkrange three days earlier.

Trousdale County hit three more field goals than Monterey, but the difference was in 3-pointers and free throws. The Jackets had four fewer 3-pointers and were 6-of-8 from the foul line, while the Wildcats were 14-of-17 from the line.

Alex Ford led the Jackets with 19 points, finishing with 681 points for his three-year career in purple & gold. Cameron Rankins had 15 points and finished his career with 761 points. Trent Pharris added eight points while Kane Burnley had five and Keenan Burnley four.

The Jackets failed to reach the region tournament for the fourth consecutive year, but did post their first winning season in 12 years.

“I am extremely proud of this group,” Sleeper added. “First winning record since 2009; it’s a huge accomplishment during a difficult year.”

Five seniors donned the purple & gold for the final time in Ford, Rankins, Pharris, Jordan Pickett and Landon Carver.

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