Bobcats, Devils fall in Area 4 opening round

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Tuesday's first round of the boys' TMSAA Area 4 AA division tournament provided upsetting results for the two higher seeded teams, Oliver Springs and host Harriman.

The night started with Oliver Springs dropping a 38-25 decision to Lenoir City. After that, host Harriman Middle School was upset by Wartburg 31-30 in a thriller.

With the wins, Lenoir City gets to take on No. 1 seed Rockwood tonight at 6, while Midway will face Wartburg at 7:45 p.m. The boys' championship is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m., with the consolation game preceding that at 2:15 p.m. All games are taking place at Richard D. Pickell gymnasium in Harriman.

Oliver Springs vs. 

Lenoir City

The Bobcats jumped ahead 5-2 after Markus Miller drained a three-pointer with 2:38 left in a sluggish first quarter, but Lenoir City answered to claim a 7-6 lead heading into the second.

The teams battled back and forth much of the second, but the Bobcats were able to squeak ahead, 13-12, heading into the break. Miller hit another trey, while Aaron Noe and Taylor Murray chipped in offensively.

Lenoir City used its pressing defense to force several Oliver Springs turnovers, especially during the early stages of the second half.

After the Panthers took an 18-15 lead, the Bobcats finally answered at the 4:20 mark of the third when Brendon Taylor completed a three-point play to tie the score. Noe banged in a three-pointer and Oliver Springs held a slim 21-20 lead heading into the final stanza.

Oliver Springs saw things start slipping away with just 1:30 left in the game.

On offense, the Bobcats were ice cold, but Lenoir City was able to get shots, draw fouls and eventually built the lead up. The Panthers attempted 13 freebies in the fourth, converting on 10 of them. 

A long shot by Shelby Morgan were the only points for Oliver Springs in the final five minutes of the game as Lenoir City celebrated the 38-25 upset win.

Oliver Springs (25) Noe 8, Miller 8, Taylor 5, Murray 2, Morgan 2.

Harriman vs. Wartburg

The Blue Devils led by four entering the half, but a scrappy Wartburg bunch refused to roll over and die. The Bulldogs would lead by six, 25-19, at the end of three and despite having a chance to take the lead in the waning seconds, Harriman's season would come to an end in the tournament, loosing to the smaller Wartburg team, 31-30.

Harriman quickly went ahead 7-3 behind a pair of coast-to-coast drives by Christian Upton. A Wartburg basket made it 7-5, in favor of the Blue Devils, heading into the second period.

It was slow going in the second quarter, with both offenses falling flat and turnovers plaguing both teams. In addition, foul trouble started mounting for the Blue Devils, something that would be a key to the second half.

A flurry by John Johnson and Upton allowed Harriman to push the lead to four, 13-9, as the two teams heading to their respective lockers.

A pair of long jumpers by Tucker Goldston were the highlights for Harriman in the third quarter, one that saw Wartburg hit a pair of three-pointers on a 7-0 run that gave them a 25-19 lead heading into the fourth. Harriman had a ton of chances inside, but just weren't able to finish on some short-range shots.

The Blue Devils started strong in the fourth when Dwight Farmer muscled in for a basket.

But then things turned a little ugly when double technical fouls were called on the teams, and one player from Harriman was sent to the locker for the rest of the night.

A free throw by the Blue Devils got them closer, but Wartburg went to the basket to extend the lead by seven with just over three minutes left. Harriman refused to stop, however, getting free throws from Grant Jenkins and Farmer to get within three, 29-26, with 2:13 left in the game.

The Bulldogs answered, but Harriman again got free throws to cut the lead to three late. Then John Johnson drove to the basket for the Devils to make it 31-30 with eight seconds left. Harriman got the ball back, but missed a close shot. After Wartburg missed a free throw, the Blue Devils missed a desperation heave at the buzzer, giving the Bulldogs a 31-30 win.

 Harriman (30) Upton 8, Jenkins 5, Farmer 5, Goldston 4, Johnson 4, Gresham 4.