by tate russell
sun sports writer
Chuckey-Doak had opportunities during Tuesday's District 2-AA showdown against visiting Grainger.
But with second place in the league standings on the line, the Black Knights squandered an eight-point lead in the second half and fell 51-47.
With the win, Grainger finished the district regular season 7-3 to lock up the No. 2 seed for the upcoming tournament.
The top two seeds receive a first-round bye for the district tournament, as well as an automatic berth into the Region 1-AA tournament.
Chuckey-Doak falls into a third-place tie with Claiborne with two league games remaining.
"That's two straight games that when it mattered most, we didn't come through," Chuckey-Doak head coach Sam Broyles said. "We didn't make the plays. We were up eight going into the fourth quarter and lost it."
The Black Knights were plagued by a slow start but managed to close the gap in the second quarter. They got out in front in the third quarter but gave up an eight-point lead in the fourth which they were never able to regain.
Down 47-45 with under a minute left, Ben Gridley stole the ball at half court and zoomed to the basket. He went hard to the bucket and took a lot of contact but made the basket to tie things up with 29.4 seconds left.
On the Grizzlies' ensuing possession, Bailey Lamb stalled at the top of the lane before deciding to strike. He took a clear path to the rim and the Knights were forced to foul to prevent an easy basket. Lamb hit both attempts from the foul line and gave the ball back to Chuckey-Doak trailing by two with 7.9 seconds left.
Broyles drew up a final play and his squad had plenty of time to execute it, but as the ball was moving up the court the Knights tried to hit Jared Meredith going down the right sideline and threw it off target. The pass went out of bound and gave Grainger possession with 3.4 seconds left.
Chuckey-Doak fouled and Lamb put the game away with a pair of charity tosses that gave Grainger a four-point lead.
The game started as bad as it ended for the Black Knights as it took them five minutes to put their first points on the board. They only scored four points in the opening period and quickly fell behind 11-4.
"We didn't get any effort in the first half except from Ben Gridley," Broyles said. "It was just a bad effort from the entire team and it hurt us early. That was very disappointing, especially with a game as big as this one that decides the number two seed."
In the second quarter, the offense came alive and Chuckey-Doak was able to quickly make a dent in the Grizzlies' lead. They opened the quarter on a 5-0 run and by the 2:40 mark it was a one-point game.
It was a pair of three pointers that closed the gap to one point for Chuckey-Doak, the first came from Seth Riddle who connected from the left wing. The second came when Josh Lamb stole a pass at midcourt and drove straight to the basket with only one defender back. That defender had to stay with Lamb which allowed the big man to dish the ball out to Meredith who knocked it down to make it 16-15.
Gridley hit a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining in the first half to make it 22-19 Grainger at intermission.
Gridley scored 13 points in the contest, Meredith led the Knights with 15 points and Lamb added 11.
The threes kept falling for Chuckey-Doak in the third quarter as they started the period with a trio of them, two by Meredith and one by Garren Taylor. With 2:41 left in the period, Chuckey-Doak was in front by eight points which was the same advantage they held entering the fourth quarter.
That lead did not last long as Grainger opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 37-36 lead at the 4:19 mark. The teams went back and forth the rest of the way but Chuckey-Doak could take control.
Grainger Girls Pull Away Late
The Chuckey-Doak girls started strong against Grainger on Tuesday but as the game wore on possession was hard to maintain for the Lady Knights and the visitors took a 71-50 win.
Chuckey-Doak opened the game with a strong effort on the defensive end that kept a very talented Lady Grizzlies squad out of the scoring column and gave the Lady Knights a 10-7 first-quarter advantage.
Early in the contest Katie Lawson locked down Carson-Newman signee Allison Hodge while Alyssa Broyles kept Blake Lamb, the Lady Grizzlies' multifaceted center, at bay.
Lawson scored the first six points for the Lady Knights but picked up two quick fouls in the period which made her availability limited down the stretch.
In the second quarter Grainger was able to force the Lady Knights into committing turnovers, and as a result, the Lady Grizzlies quickly jumped out in front. Ashlyn Hodge led the charge, scoring 10 in the quarter, and by halftime Grainger had turned a three-point deficit into a 10-point advantage.
With 3:51 left in the second quarter Grainger led by only one point but the turnovers proved costly for Chuckey-Doak as nine of Grainger's last 13 points of the first half were scored off turnovers.
Early in the third quarter Chuckey-Doak looked as though they had cleaned things up on offense and kept pace with Grainger for much of the period.
Kara Aubry hit a triple with just over four minutes remaining in the quarter to make it 33-29. That was as close as Chuckey-Doak would get to coming back, though, as Allison Hodge took over after that point.
Hodge scored 10 points to close the quarter and finished the game with 34 points, 25 in the second half.
Lamb added 17 points, 13 in the second half.
The tandem was unstoppable in the second half as they combined for 38 points, compared to the 32 points that Chuckey-Doak scored as a team over the final two quarters.
Ashyln Hodge added 14 points for Grainger.
Andi Lamb led Chuckey-Doak with 15 points, Katie Lawson scored 10.