SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — It was shake-up Saturday in the District 6-A tournament as the lowest seeded boys' and girls' teams both pulled upsets to advance to the semifinals and secure a spot in next week's region tournament as well.
The seventh-seeded and host Richard Hardy girls began the day by knocking off South Pittsburg 73-64, and Lookout Valley's sixth-seeded boys followed by beating two-time defending district champ Van Buren County 52-41.
Lookout Valley's fifth-seeded girls continued the topsy-turvy day with a mild upset over four seed Sale Creek, 43-39, and Whitwell's boys pulled off the same five-over-four scenario by beating South Pittsburg 69-49.
The Lookout Valley boys' win also staved off the retirement of Joe Galloway, who has announced he is stepping down at the end of this season. By advancing to the semis, the Yellow Jackets earned at least two more games.
"I'm going to miss coaching the kids once it does happen, so it's nice to know we've still got at least a couple more to go," Galloway said. "I thought the boys bounced back after a tough season and played really well, especially in the second half."
Lookout Valley, which had lost to Van Buren in the regular season, held the Eagles to 18 second-half points. After trailing for much of the first half, the Yellow Jackets cut an eight-point deficit to one in a three-minute stretch of the third quarter, then continued to build off that momentum to take a five-point lead by the end of the period.
After Lookout Valley opened the fourth with back-to-back baskets, the Eagles never got closer than six.
Senior Fitzgerald Morris led Lookout Valley with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Terry Billingsley added 14 points and Chase Clounch had 10, including three 3-pointers.
The Richard Hardy girls, who had lost both regular-season meetings against South Pittsburg, made 12 3s, led by Scarlett Tate's five and Katie Rogers' four, to advance.
"We weren't supposed to win any games in the tournament, but now we've won two straight," Lady Hawks coach Kelby Ferrell said. "I told the girls before it started that nobody was giving us a chance to do much, so just go out and have fun and see what happens."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...