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By GOOSE LINDSAY
Semifinal action tipped off Wednesday evening in the Area 4 Small School Division Tournament being played at Midway and fans in attendance witnessed a great game in the nightcap as No. 1 seed Rockwood held off a late Harriman rally to advance to Saturday’s championship game with a 36-35 victory.
Rockwood will play the winner of Thursday’s semifinal contest between Midway and Lenoir City. Saturday’s title game is scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m.
Harriman will play the loser of Thursday’s game at 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday’s first semifinal wasn’t as close as No. 1 Lenoir City knocked off No. 4 Midway, 34-22.
Midway now plays the loser of Thursday’ semifinal game between Oliver Springs and Harriman in Saturday’s consolation game. Tip-off is set for noon.
Lenoir City will play the Oliver Springs/Harriman winner at 2:30 p.m. in the championship game.
Midway vs. Lenoir City
The Lady Waves played well Wednesday, but they ran into a tough group of Lady Panthers and the result was a 12-point loss.
Lenoir City opened Wednesday’s game by getting the ball inside and taking a 12-6 lead after six minutes of play.
Lenoir City doubled up Midway again in the second period, 10-5, to take a 22-11 lead at halftime.
Haley Wiley led Midway with four points in the first half.
Lenoir City again doubled Midway’s production in the third period as the Lady Panthers took a 28-14 lead into the final period of play.
Midway rallied in the fourth quarter and pulled to within eight points at 30-22 midway through the final period. The Lady Waves even had some chances to pull closer, but some open shots wouldn’t fall then Lenoir City added four late points to pull out the 12-point victory.
Alex Richardson led Midway on the night with nine points while Taylor Whitehead pulled down a team-high five rebounds.
Midway (22) Stansbury 2, Wiley 4, Richardson 9, Butler 1, Manning 4, Kilby 2.
Harriman vs. Rockwood
The Rockwood Tigers secured a berth in the upcoming TMSAA East Tennessee Small School Championships with a one-point victory over county rival Harriman.
Harriman, however, can still make the tournament with a victory in Saturday’s consolation game.
Harriman started strong Wednesday as Xavier Howard, Chris Works and Chase Randolph scored early baskets in giving the Blue Devils an early 6-0 lead.
Rockwood didn’t score until late in the period on a three-pointer from Jared Breazeale.
Trailing 6-3 after one quarter of play, Rockwood scored the first nine points of the second period and that run would be good enough to give the Tigers a 15-12 lead at halftime.
Breazeale scored eight of Rockwood’s 12 points in the second period.
Rockwood’s lead grew to 20-15 early in the third period, but Harriman responded with a 9-2 run of their own to take a 24-22 lead late in the period. Rockwood, however, scored five of the period’s final six points to take a 27-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
The third quarter was a shootout between Breazeale and Harriman’s Lucas Lunsford as both players scored seven points in the frame.
Rockwood opened the final period with a run that gave the Tigers a seven-point lead and that lead stood at five points, 36-31, heading into the final minute of play, but Harriman still had one run left.
With 59 seconds left, Harriman’s D.C. Upton drove the lane to make the score 36-33. Twenty-nine seconds later, Howard added a pair of free throws as Harriman trailed 36-35 with 30.2 seconds left to play.
Rockwood tried to run out the clock, but Harriman’s Randolph came up with a steal, but his potential game-winning shot missed the mark with 10 seconds left.
The ensuing fight for the rebound led to a jump ball in Harriman’s favor with 7.4 seconds left.
Harriman tried to get the ball to Howard after a time out, but Rockwood’s Hayden Freels had a different idea as he came up with a steal then the Tigers ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
Breazeale led Harriman on the night with 18 points and six rebounds. Grant was next in line with seven points while Freels pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and Riley Clem had six steals and three assists.
Lunsford led Harriman with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists while Howard added nine points and seven rebounds.
Harriman (35) Lunsford 11, Howard 9, Upton 2, Works 2, Randolph 6, Jenkins 3, Inman 2.
Rockwood (36) Clem 2, Freels 5, Breazeale 18, Williams 4, Grant 7.