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April 24, 2014

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Chuckey-Doak's Magical Season Comes To An End

Originally published: 2013-02-27 09:59:31
Last modified: 2013-02-27 10:00:19

by darren reese

sun sports editor

ELIZABETHON –  All good things must come to an end.
Still, that didn’t make defeat any easier to take for the Chuckey-Doak boys Tuesday night.
The Black Knights had the heart to fight through adversity, but when the final horn sounded, they came up just short on the scoreboard.  Sullivan East rallied from a 12-point deficit to claim a 70-68 victory in the Region 1-AA semifinal contest at Elizabethton High School.
“We just needed one more (basket),” a teary-eyed Chuckey-Doak head coach Sam Broyles said after the game, almost in disbelief.  “Just one short.”
“I wouldn’t trade these guys for anybody. They have played with so much heart this postseason.  All the things we’ve been dealing with this week, they didn’t make any excuses. They just went out there and gave it everything they had.”
The loss brought to an end a magical postseason run for the Black Knights – one that saw them win their first district tournament championship in 23 years and their first region tournament game since 2002.
The last two games turned into a battle with adversity for Chuckey-Doak as junior guard Ben Gridley’s grandmother passed away Saturday night and senior point guard Garrett Johnson suffered an ankle sprain that left him at less than 100 percent.
Still, Gridley played in both region games, and Johnson went the entire four quarters Tuesday night, showing the heart that made the Black Knights true champions no matter what the outcome.
“They don’t have any reason to hang their heads,” Broyles said.  “Garrett can’t even walk and he’s out there giving it everything he has.  Just the heart of this team is amazing.”
In the early going, it looked as though Chuckey-Doak’s postseason magic would continue as they led by as much as 40-28 in the first half.
The hot start was helped by the performance of senior Cory Swinney, who was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field in the first half, including five made three-pointers.  His 19 first-half points were part of a 30-point performance.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something like that,” Broyles said of Swinney’s first-half streak.  “When he gets going, he can shoot it with anyone.”
Sullivan East scored the final five points of the half to pull within 40-33 going into the locker room.
Chuckey-Doak forced 11 turnovers in the first half. 
But as hot as the Knights were in the opening two quarters, Sullivan East showed in the second half that it could fill it up as well.
The Patriots made four three-pointers in the third quarter, and stormed back to take their first lead of the game when David Casaday made a basket with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
But Sullivan East really got hot in the fourth quarter, making 7-of-12 field goal attempts, including key three-pointers from Austin Fleenor and Jordan James.
Fleenor finished the game with six treys, and the Patriots had 14 as a team.
His last one gave Sullivan East a 68-65 advantage with 1:45 left in the game.
The two teams went scoreless for the next minute and a half, until Sweeney answered with a three to tie the game with 14 seconds left.
But five seconds later, Casaday was fouled on a successful lay-up on the other end to put the Patriots up by the final margin.
He missed the ensuing free throw attempt, but Chuckey-Doak was never able to get a potential game-tying shot off before turning the ball over with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.


For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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