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Second half rally lands Jackets in region

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Kingston heading to region for first time since 2007

By Goose Lindsay

For two and a half quarters Friday night, the Kingston Yellow Jackets would have received a grade of an F in their District 4-AA Tournament opener against Loudon.

Luckily for Kingston, the Jackets would have received an A in chemistry that same night, and it was that team chemistry that allowed Colt Narramore’s squad to rally from 15 points down in the second half to defeat the Redskins in overtime, 56-53.

“I know it sounds funny, but it was chemistry that won us this game,” Jacket head coach Colt Narramore said after beating his former squad for the second time this season. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that love each other and do what they’re told. I don’t ever think we’re out of a game like tonight with the four seniors (Hunter Golliher, Trae Colquitt, Brandon Griffis, Jordan Huddleston) we got. They’re all in, and they believe in what I tell them. 

“We really wanted to get to the regions for our seniors and for “Thin Man” (Ronnie Morton). It’s been since 2007 since we’ve made it and this is something we really wanted.”

Friday’s game was anything but easy for the Jackets, as they got off to a horrible start.

Loudon jumped on Kingston early and led 14-6 after eight minutes of play.

The second quarter was even worse. The Redskins opened the period on a 13-6 run to take a 27-12 lead at one point. Loudon eventually settled for a 32-18 lead at halftime.

Loudon’s Jordan Belvin had a big first half with two three-pointers and 12 points while Huddleston kept Kingston close with 11 points.

Not much changed in the third period as the Redskins led 37-22 midway through the period.

But that’s when Kingston started to rally. Sparked by five straight points from Griffis, the Jackets ended the period on a 7-1 run to pull within 40-29 heading into the final period of play.

Kingston’s defense was the story in the fourth period as the Jackets held the Redskins scoreless for the first 3:58. During that span, five different Jackets combined for eight points to make the score 40-37.

Loudon ended the streak with a three-pointer, but Kingston answered with a 5-0 run to pull within 43-42 with two minutes left to play.

Loudon again came up with a big three-pointer when Belvin made it 46-42 with 1:48 left, but Kingston used baskets from Griffis and Golliher around a pair of Loudon missed free throws to pull even with 33 seconds left to play.

Loudon ran down the clock and got a basket from Belvin with less than 10 seconds left to take the lead, but instead of using a time out, Kingston raced down the floor and Golliher hit a 15-footer with 1.5 seconds left to tie the game at 48.

Loudon did get off a late heave that was well off the mark.

Like regulation, Loudon got off to a fast start. 

The Redskins scored the first four points of the extra period to take a 52-48 lead with 3:15 left to play, but the Jackets answered with baskets from Aaron Sampson and Griffis to tie the game, and the Jackets took their first lead of the game at 54-52 on a Huddleston put back with 1:25 left to play.

Kingston eventually took a 56-53 lead with 14.3 seconds left on a free throw from Colquitt.

After that, Kingston survived a late three-pointer from Belvin that did not fall.

Huddleston (16 points, 3 blocks, 3 steals), Golliher (11 points, 4 steals), Sampson (10 points, 3 steals) and Griffis (10 points, 5 rebounds) all scored in double figures for Kingston while Colquitt added a game-high nine rebounds.

Belvin led all scorers on the night with 21 points.

With the victory, Kingston advanced to the tournament semifinals and a match-up with Stone Memorial.

 Kingston (56) Huddleston 16, Griffis 10, Golliher 11, Gaque 4, Colquitt 5, Sampson 10.