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North vs. South to determine Action Athletics champion

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 29, 2019 at 2:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Known more for his passing skills, Bryant Herron showed Saturday night that he’s also pretty good shooting the basketball.

The Sullivan North guard knocked down three shots from 3-point range in the third quarter, finishing with 16 points to lead the Golden Raiders to a 57-48 win over Sullivan Central in the Action Athletics Christmas Tournament semifinals at Richard Carroll Gymnasium.

The host Raiders face defending tournament champion Sullivan South, an 80-50 winner over Tri-Cities Christian, in Monday’s all-Kingsport final.

View the photo gallery from Saturday’s action

Herron was perfect from the field, 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and the free-throw line. He tied Trey Williams for the team-high scoring honors.

“My teammates and coaches tell me to shoot the ball more, but I always feel like they deserve to shoot more,” Herron said. “Tonight I was like, ‘I’m going to take my shot and see how it goes.’ They fell, even though I might never shoot like that again.”

The teams battled evenly most of the contest and were tied at 21 at halftime.

The score was 26-all in the third quarter before Herron launched back-to-back 3-point goals. He added a buzzer-beater from the left arc at the end of the period to put the Raiders up 37-33.

After Central’s Noah Beverly scored to cut the lead to 41-37 in the fourth, the Raiders took command with 12 unanswered points. The Cougars rallied at the end, but Christian Hill’s 3- pointer and Williams at the free-throw line salted away the win.

Hill finished with 11 points.

North coach Travis Cain had plenty of praise to go around.

“We haven’t played in the championship of a Christmas tournament in a long time and this is a huge win for us,” Cain said. “We’re on a little win streak and we’re playing pretty good.

“The boys played really, really hard. Central shot us out of our zone and we had to go to man.

“What a big performance by Bryant Herron, by Trey, Christian, Isaiah (Pruitt). Yancy Dolen, C.J. (Mardis) and Jake (Cross),” the coach added. “All played good and did their jobs tonight. We played as a team and I’m tickled to death with it.”

Joltin Harrison led Central with 17 points and Ty Barb conjured up a 14-point effort. Preston Sams scored eight.

SULLIVAN SOUTH 80, TRI-CITIES CHRISTIAN 50

Cole Layne poured in 27 points for the defending champion Rebels (12-1), who had too much firepower for the Eagles (3-4) in the late semifinal.

Ahead 40-26 at the half, South scored the first 12 points of the third to put the game out of reach.

Gannon Chase and Ben Diamond scored 15 and 11 points, respectively, for South, and Cam Necessary added nine. South had nine players make the scoring column.

“It was our goal to come back here and defend our championship. We will get that chance now,” Rebels coach Michael McMeans said. “It was a good night. We’re a better team when we have multiple people score like that. We were able to get some young guys experience even though Tri-Cities Christian played really hard.”

Drew Correll had 18 points to lead the Eagles, and Adam Pigeon and Gavyn Etter each scored 13.

Tri-Cities meets Sullivan Central in an all-Blountville third-place game on Monday.

CUMBERLAND GAP 62, VOLUNTEER 47

After Volunteer rallied to take a 34-32 lead in the third quarter, the Panthers responded by outscoring the Falcons 21-4 over the next eight minutes.

Nate Fuson paced Cumberland Gap (7-9) with 18 points, followed by Clint Crockett with 15. Jake Templin knocked down a dozen points and Jaden Schertz ended with eight.

Andrew Knittel poured in a game-high 24 points for Volunteer (7-11). Heath Miller chipped in seven.

CLOUDLAND 68, JOHN BATTLE 55

Conner Birchfield scored 19 points and Cloudland pulled away from John Battle in the fourth quarter.

The teams were tied at 11 after one quarter before the Highlanders (7-4) started putting some distance on the Trojans (3-4), and they took a 30-19 lead into halftime.

Battle battled back to trail by five in the third, but Cloudland had too many weapons. Hunter Shell finished with 17 points, Hayden Shell had 15, Bentley Gilbert nine and Elijah Blair eight.

Reed Samuel put up 19 points to lead John Battle. Zach Smith tallied 16 for the Trojans and Emmett Foster scored a dozen.

CHUCKEY-DOAK 65, HAPPY VALLEY 60

The Valley rally came up just short when Jameson Cobble hit a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left to secure the Black Knights’ victory.

Alex Lunceford led Happy Valley (4-7) with 15 points, and Andrew Clawson scored 14. Dylan Willis added nine points and James Murray and Luke Roberts netted seven apiece.

Corwin Ramsey had a game-high 21 for Chuckey-Doak (4-12), which avenged an earlier loss to the Warriors. Tyler Ramsey contributed 13 points, and Alex Maupin and Cayden Phillips each ended with 11.

COCKE COUNTY 65, LEBANON 61

Up by 11 with three minutes to go, the Fighting Cocks (5-10) had to fight to the end to hold off the Pioneers (2-6).

Hayden Green hit a pair of game-clinching free throws with five seconds left as part of his eight points.

Isaiah Elliott scored 19 points to lead Cocke County, and Jody Swann floated a 14-point effort.

The majority of Lebanon’s scoring came from Preston Steele, who totaled 23 points, and Sage Potts, who put up 22.

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