McMeans saw his team lead virtually all night, but the Rebels still had to produce a 17-0 spurt in the third quarter to maintain control of the Vikings.
Down 37-24 at halftime, Tennessee High got hot behind the 3-point line and tied the game at 41 with 4:03 on the third-quarter clock.
That’s when Ben Diamond led the Rebels home.
A quick-off-the-bounce guard, Diamond finished with 30 points. He and Gannon Chase combined for 11 points during the decisive run that left the Rebels leading 58-41 just before the end of the third period.
“We expect our three senior veterans — Ben Diamond and Cole Layne and Gannon Chase — to lead us, just like they did tonight,” McMeans said. “And (another senior) Cam Necessary ... I thought did a heck of a job tonight with him just coming out of football.”
The slashing Chase finished with 19 points to back Diamond, and Layne knocked in 16 points. Together the trio was just too much for THS.
“We had a hard time staying in front of No. 4 (Diamond),” said veteran Vikings coach Roby Witcher. “He got past defenders all night and had, what, 30? He’s a really good player.
“And that No. 10 (Chase), when he wasn’t hitting from outside he was driving to the hole or cleaning up on the offensive glass. They have a good team.”
Tennessee High made eight 3-point goals, including four during its 17-4 start to open the second half, but the Vikings could not maintain their momentum.
Cole McBrayer hit four 3-point jumpers and led THS with 13 points. Nolan Wishon added 12 points and Brayden Henard had 11.
“We took their run and regained control,” McMeans said. “Tennessee High is picked up high in their conference and they are big, long and athletic. So to come up here and open our season with a win is a very good start for us.”
LADY REBELS ROLL
In the girls’ game, South also tipped off its season in fine fashion taking a 57-37 decision over Tennessee High.
The Lady Rebels ran out to a 14-4 edge after one period and steadily pulled away, leading 26-13 at halftime and 47-27 after three quarters.
Alex Harris led all scorers, netting 14 points for South (1-0). McKenzie Littleton hit four 3-pointers and contributed a dozen points, and Nicole Troutman scored 10.
Tori Ryan was tops for Tennessee High (0-1) with eight points.