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By GOOSE LINDSAY
It's hard to beat a good team three times in one season, but the Harriman Blue Devils were up to the task Friday night as Jeff King's squad ended Rockwood's season with a 61-46 victory in the opening round of the District 3-A Tournament at Harriman.
Friday's victory keeps Harriman's season alive as the Blue Devils advance to Monday's semifinals and a match-up with regular season District 3-A champion Grace Christian Academy. Harriman, however, split with the Rams during the regular season.
Friday's game opened with Rockwood controlling the tempo and the Tigers even held a 6-4 midway through the period. Harriman however, closed the period with a 7-0 run to take an 11-6 lead after eight minutes of play.
Darius Gallaher sparked the late run with a two-point basket followed by a three-pointer. Shaquille Lover also played a big part in the run by controlling the boards and proving to be a defensive presence off the bench.
Harriman pushed their lead to 18-10 early in the second period, but the Blue Devils would be unable to deliver a first half knockout. Thanks in large part to a pair of triples from Derrick Lawson, the Tigers ended the half on an 11-7 run to pull within 25-21 at halftime.
Rockwood closed to within two points at 27-25 early in the third period, but that's when the Devils put together what proved to be the biggest run of the game. Harriman scored the next eight points of the contest to take a 35-25 lead. By the time the third period ended, the Blue Devils enjoyed a 13-point lead at 43-30.
Harriman enjoyed a double digit lead through much of the final period. With 2:30 left to play, Harriman held a 52-38 lead, but Rockwood made one last run as Jeromy Hagermaker scored from in close and Cleveland Davidson followed with an old-fashioned three point play to make the score 52-43.
Rockwood, however, would get no closer as Harriman made 10 of 12 free throws in the final period to secure the victory.
Balance was the key to Harriman's offense as six different players scored seven points or more. Gallaher led the way with 13 points and four rebounds while Dimitrique Inman (11 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds) and Ben Davis also scored in double figures.
Xavier Howard (9 points), Michael Steinmetz (8 points) and Love (7 points, 8 rebounds) also put up solid numbers for Harriman on the evening.
Davidson led Rockwood with 12 points and three assists while Lawson buried three three-pointers for nine points.
Rockwood (46) Hagermaker 5, Kirkland 7, Davidson 12, Bear 2, Webster 2, Breazeale 6, Lawson 9, Huffman 3.
Harriman (61) Davis 10, Gallaher 13, Howard 9, Inman 11, Steinmetz 8, Love 7, Dishman 3.