Signal Mountain joins Tyner in region final
Wil Allen celebrated his 17th birthday Tuesday at Red Bank, and a whole bunch of his schoolmates from Signal Mountain celebrated with him.
Allen was in a chase for a rebound headed toward the sideline late in overtime against Sweetwater in the second Region 3-AA boys’ high school basketball semifinal. He got to it first.
When Allen turned around, he had a clear look at the basket and put up a jump shot from the left side of the court that dropped through the net as the horn sounded, lifting the Eagles to a 54-52 victory.
Tyner defeated Red Bank 76-61 in the first semifinal, creating a rematch Thursday night at Red Bank of the District 6 championship that Signal Mountain won 46-40 on Feb. 20 at Howard. Tipoff is set for 7.
› Signal Mountain 54, Sweetwater 52: When Allen’s shot fell, he stood there all alone. His first reaction was a stoic one.
“I was in shock, honestly,” Allen said.
But by the time his teammates charged toward him to mob him, he got in a jump with a high leg kick and a fist pump.
“We had just missed a shot and the rebound came my way,” Allen said. “When I grabbed it I just turned around and I was wide open. I took one dribble and put it up there.
“It was money.”
Said Signal Mountain coach Steve Redman: “What a perfect play. He was just battling for a loose ball, just making a play. Wil has come so far. Yeah, we didn’t draw that up.”
The Eagles were trailing 36-23 closing in on a minute to go in the third quarter. They took their first lead of the game at 38-37 when Owen Honroth made two technical free throws with 4:51 remaining in regulation.
“We wanted the game as low-scoring as possible,” Redman said. “The first quarter we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing. Everything started with our defense. We started getting a stop here and there, and good things started happening. We couldn’t make any layups or free throws at times, but we did enough to win.”
Jarren Radden led Signal Mountain (21-12), which has set a school record for wins in a season, with 17 points. Honroth added 15 and K.T. Webb scored nine of his 11 in the second half.
This also marks the first region final in program history for the Eagles, along with their first state-sectional berth.
› Tyner 76, Red Bank 61: The Lions were up 38-35 at halftime, but Tyner turned things around with a 25-7 scoring edge in the third quarter.
“We went to a three-fourthscourt defensive press,” Rams coach E’Jay Ward said. “What went well for us was that Kameron Dozier came off the bench and gave us that spark we needed. He kept saying, ‘Get me in. Get me in.’ Today he showed me he’s ready to mature.”
Red Bank coach Nick Fike said he was pleased with his team’s execution in the first half, but then things went awry.
“We came out in the third quarter and we couldn’t get into our offense because we couldn’t get it across half-court,” Fike said. “Credit them. We didn’t have a chance to execute our offense because they were taking our turnovers and turning them into layups.”
Jeremy Elston, who was the quarterback for the Rams’ state-final football team, was a main beneficiary of the Lions’ miscues and scored 18 of his game-high 22 points after halftime.
“Each game gets bigger,” Ward said, acknowledging Thursday’s winner gets to play at home for its sectional. “Jeremy Elston has been in some big football games as a quarterback. We’re going to get on top of his shoulders, and hopefully he can carry us to the state tournament.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Javon Craddock totaled 19 points for Tyner (18-10), and Solomon Bridgeman was next with 18.
The Lions were led by Will Thomas, who scored 10 of his 19 points in the first quarter and overall made five 3-point goals. Lucas Brown scored 11 of his 13 in the first half and Jamel Davis finished with 11 for Red Bank (14-20), which was the No. 6-seeded team in the District 6 tournament and would’ve been No. 7 had Brainerd been eligible for postseason.
“I always thought this team had the potential,” Fike said. “They started realizing some of that potential late in the season and in postseason.”
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-7576653. Follow him on Twitter @KelleySmiddie.
Tyner’s Javon Craddock, right, passes the ball in front of Red Bank’s Calvin Jackson (10) during the Region 3-AA semifinals Tuesday at Red Bank High School. Tyner won 76-61.
Tyner’s Marquis Hinton puts up a shot against Red Bank during the Region 3-AA semifinals Tuesday at Red Bank High School. Tyner beat Red Bank 76-61.