published Friday, December 27th, 2013

Tyner tops Blue Tornado in Times Free Press Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State

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    McCallie's Cameron Walker (44) has his shot blocked by Tyner's Kevin Cameron (21) and Alex Watkins (55) during the Chattanooga Times Free Press Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State on Thursday.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
    enlarge photo

For the most part Thursday, McCallie did a good job stopping Tyner as far as shooting the basketball. But the Rams did an even better job.

Led by 12 points apiece from Devante Jones and Alex Watkins, Tyner used a solid defensive effort to defeat the Blue Tornado 59-49 in the Times Free Press Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State. Tyner (8-1) will face Notre Dame, which edged Grace Academy 58-57, in a semifinal today at 5:30 p.m.

McCallie, the tournament champion the last two years, will face Grace at 11:30 a.m.

The Blue Tornado took a 21-15 lead Thursday on a left-wing jump shot by Alex Clark with 3:22 left in the second quarter, but the Rams ended the half on an 11-0 run and led by five. They effectively put the game away in the third quarter with another 11-0 spurt that broke a 31-all tie.

Watkins added nine rebounds, four blocks and four steals, solidifying the interior when there was penetration in the lane. Sadik Spence and Kevin Cameron each added eight points for the Rams.

"I thought our intensity was good and the defense really picked up in the second half," Tyner coach Gerald Harris said. "We were able to make some shots in transition. Our defense really came through for us, because we didn't shoot well today."

JaVaughn Craig scored 15 points to lead McCallie (4-5), while Adrian Thomas added 10. Blue Tornado coach Dan Wadley credited Tyner for being more aggressive; one place where that showed was at the free-throw line, where Tyner shot 11-for-25 while McCallie was 4-for-8.

"I thought that Tyner just outplayed us for 32 minutes," Wadley said. "Their effort was there; ours was there in spurts. There were times we didn't have the effort and times we just didn't match theirs.

"All of the credit goes to Tyner. They deserved to win."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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