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HMS falls in TMSAA title game

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By Goose Lindsay

The Harriman Middle School boys basketball team didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of winning the East Tennessee Class AA Sectional Championship, but Allen Hickman’s squad came mighty close as they dropped a 47-29 decision Saturday afternoon in Pigeon Forge against a powerful squad from Grace Christian Academy.

The Blue Devils (17-6) had been on a roll since the start of 2013 as they had won nine straight games, including the Area 4-AA Tournament a week before. They had also downed Northview a day earlier in the semifinals, 44-38.

Hickman was in his first year as Harriman’s head coach, but he was an assistant last season under Dernard Bertram and he knew coming into the season that his squad had a chance to be special.

“I worked with Dernard last year and worked with the guys,” he said. “Coming into this season our goal was win the district, get to the state and hopefully win it. 

“We reached a lot of our goals and that says a lot about the boys. They’re a great group, and they worked hard all season to reach our goals. They got on a roll at the right time and it’s rewarding to see their hard work pay off.”

Harriman vs. Northview

The Blue Devils put together a pair of strong quarters in the second and third periods and that was the difference in Friday’s six-point victory.

Harriman actually trailed 9-8 after one period of play, but the Blue Devils picked up the pace in the second quarter, outscoring the Cougars 15-7 in the frame to take a 23-16 lead at halftime.

The trio of Isaiah McClain, John Johnson and Hunter Clark led Harriman in the first half as they combined for 20 of the team’s 23 points. McClain and Johnson scored seven each while Clark added six.

Only one Blue Devils player scored in the third period, and normally that would be a bad thing, but Johnson outscored the Cougars by six points in the frame after putting up an eye-popping 15 points.

Harriman led 38-25 entering the final period, but Northview didn’t go away quietly. The Cougars made a run at the Blue Devils in the final period, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Harriman went on to the six 44-38 victory.

Johnson led Harriman on the night with 22 points while McClain had 10 and Clark nine.

Harriman (44) McClain 10, Johnson 22, Clark 9, Jenkins 3.

Harriman vs. Grace Christian

The Rams lived up to their billing as the tournament favorite as they knocked off the Blue Devils, 47-29.

Harriman started slow as they trailed 8-2 after one period of play. The Blue Devils played better in the second quarter and were still within striking distance at halftime, trailing 21-11.

The third period, however, would see the Rams put the game away. Grace Christian outscored Harriman 17-5 in the frame to take a commanding 38-16 lead into the final period of play.

Harriman outscored the Rams 13-9 in the final frame, but were unable to make a serious run down the stretch.

Johnson led Harriman in defeat with nine points while McClain added six.

 Harriman (29) McClain 6, Luna 4, Johnson 9, Clark 2, Staggs 2, Haynes 3, Jenkins 3.