BOYD-BUCHANAN 58, GRACE ACADEMY 44
Grace 13 12 10 9 -- 44
Boyd-Buchanan 14 6 22 16 -- 58
Grace Academy (44) -- Slack 4, Hernandez 3, Smith 9, Godsey 3, Austin Powell 12, Swanson 3, Tisdale 2, McQueen 8, Mattheny, Mason, Cooke.
Boyd-Buchanan (58) -- Hall Allen 13, Justus McMillan 13, Cox 5, Austin Walker 13, Zach Jenkins 10, Walker, Arendale 2, Nason 2, Hodge, Clarke.
3-point goals: Grace Academy 6 (Smith 2, Powell, Godsey, Hernandez, Swanson); Boyd-Buchanan 4 (Walker 3, Allen). Other highlights: Allen 6 a; Q.D. Cox 5 a, 3 s (BB). Records: Boyd-Buchanan 25-7; Grace 12-15.
Boys' all-tournament team: John Hall, Silverdale; Chaison Gordon, Arts & Sciences; Austin Powell, Josh Smith, Grace Academy; Hall Allen, Jeremiah Nason, Austin Walker, Justus McMillan (MVP), Boyd-Buchanan.
Girls' all-tournament team: Lakelyn Bouldin, Van Buren; Erin Hill, Sale Creek; Mariah Massengill, Sloane Woodard, Silverdale; Haley Atterton, Paige Carter, Kelsey Kilgore, Alyssa Coppinger (MVP), Whitwell.
Boyd-Buchanan found a formula for success in its last two games in the Region 3-A boys' high school basketball tournament at Sale Creek. And it's one that Buccaneers coach Cole Rose wishes they would change.
The Bucs played a lethargic first half Thursday for the second consecutive game, but again a second-half surge lifted them to victory. They beat Grace Academy 58-44 for the Bucs' first region basketball title since the 1990s.
Boyd-Buchanan (25-7) was down by six points to Arts & Sciences at halftime in Tuesday's semifinal and trailed the Golden Eagles by five at the break Thursday.
"I'd rather just do it a different way," Rose said. "Hopefully we'll learn from this."
Justus McMillan, who was chosen the tournament's most valuable player, expects the Bucs to get off to a better start Monday when they host Clarkrange at 7 p.m. in a state sectional. This marked the fourth time they've played Grace this season and they played CSAS three times. All three compete in District 5.
"I think it will actually be better for us instead of playing the same teams over and over," McMillan said.
Grace (12-15) will play Monday at Region 4 champion Watertown at 8 EST.
Boyd-Buchanan scored the first 11 points in the second half and never trailed the Golden Eagles again. McMillan said Rose's halftime talk centered around working as a team and getting stops.
"All the stuff we do comes through defense," McMillan said.
Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said his halftime talk consisted of bracing for a different Bucs team in the second half.
"They're just a better team than us," Mattheiss said. "We talked about stopping any big runs. But it's one thing to talk about it. Doing something about it is a different thing."
Boyd-Buchanan's lead was 31-30 when Grace post player Austin Powell hurt his left knee with 3:48 to go in the third and had to sit the rest of the quarter. The Bucs were up seven when he returned to start the fourth, but another 11-0 run made it 54-35 and put it away.
Powell's 12 points led the Golden Eagles. They played without starter Blake Savard, who's out the rest of the year with a knee injury.
McMillan, Hall Allen and Austin Walker scored 13 points apiece for Boyd-Buchanan, and Zach Jenkins added 10. All of Walker's points were in the third quarter.
Jeremiah Nason is a substitute who scored two points in the region final but was one of four Bucs selected to the all-tournament team. His work, particularly on the defensive end in the elimination semifinal, earned him the nod.
"[If] he doesn't play the way he did the game before this one," Rose said, "our season is over."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.