Trousdale County High School junior Dalton Stafford scored 14 points as the Yellow Jackets kept their season alive with a 54-43 victory over Merrol Hyde Magnet in a District 8-1A Tournament quarterfinal contest.

CEDAR HILL — The fourth-seeded Trousdale County High School boys basketball team won two of its three games in the District 8-A Tournament last week, placing third.

In the quarterfinals, the Yellow Jackets played host to Merrol Hyde Merrol in an elimination game on Feb. 14, outscoring their opponent in every quarter of the 54-43 win.

It was the third win of the season for TCHS over the Hawks (6-21), including regular-season victories of 52-44 and 47-34.

“It is always good to win that game that gets you to the region and extends the season,” TCHS head coach Ryan Sleeper said. “I thought we had control of the game the entire time, in big part, to how dominant our bigs (post players) were.”

Junior Cole Gregory scored 16 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Classmate Dalton Stafford provided 14 points, and senior Brayden Gooch had 11. Jacob Smithson came off the bench to score nine points, and Jake Ferguson finished with four.

The Yellow Jackets moved on to Jo Byrns High School for their semifinal game against top-seeded East Robertson, and TCHS ran out to an eight-point lead in the second period before the Indians caught fire and took a five-point halftime, en route to a 63-45 win.

“We have the defending state champs on the ropes,” Sleeper said. “(The) biggest takeaway (is) our guys were not scared or intimidated. That’s showing some maturity and growth.”

Gregory netted 14 points and had 12 rebounds. Stafford and Smithson contributed 10 points each.

Fergusson and Gooch rounded out the scoring with nine and two points, respectively.

In the consolation game, the Jackets had to face the Knowledge Academy, a team that beat them twice in the regular season by a total of 72 points (by scores of 74-41 and 58-19). The game went back and forth, but at the end of the game, Fergusson hit some key free throws that paved the way to a 51-48 win.

The Tigers’ last-second 3-pointer was not close.

“(It was a) big program win for these boys,” Sleeper said. “To have the mental fortitude to beat a team that’s beat you by 30-40 points earlier in the season is just incredible.”

Gooch scored 16 points, while Gregory had 15 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Stafford added nine points. Brian Banks had five, Fergusson four, and Smithson two.

The Jackets will be on the road for its Region 4-1A Tournament quarterfinal game on Friday evening, facing either Clay County or Pickett County (who were slated to face off in Tuesday evening’s District 7-1A Tournament championship game).

Trousdale County basketball can be heard on WTNK 93.5 and 93.9 FM, 1090 AM, and

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