East boys fall in District 2-AAA Semifinals to South Doyle

South-Doyle dealt top-seeded Morristown East a heartbreaking 60-59 loss in triple overtime Friday night at Isenberg-Siler Gymnasium in the semifinals of the District Two AAA Tournament.

Quentin Carr scored all six points for the Cherokees in the third overtime including the game-winner with 17 seconds left.

East took a time out with 9.3 left but wound up not getting a good look and wound up firing up a long three that was off the mark.

Playing without leading scorer Micah Simpson, the Hurricanes still had all kinds of chances to win but couldn’t get it accomplished. East missed a shot at the end of regulation, led by six with 43 seconds left in the first OT and then missed the last shot of the session and then missed the final shot of the third overtime.

So the matchup that was expected on Monday night will take place but it will be in the consolation game when second-seeded Sevier County comes to town for a 6 p.m. game. Sevier was knocked off by Jefferson County on Friday and will host South-Doyle in the championship battle.

Carr finished with 21 points for the Cherokees while Tony Sapp added 18 and grabbed nine rebounds. Lex Scott scored a dozen as the winners improved to 14-8 for the season.

Braden Ilic pumped in 25 for the Hurricanes, now 19-7, and losers of three straight.

Freshman Kyle Cloninger added 18 and Cooper Wright had eight.

It’s a really tough one to lose,” said East coach Alden Collins. “I thought we played well. We’re a complete team and even without Micah we had chances to win.”

He continued, “But our goal is still within reach. Our goal is to advance to at least a sub-state game and that’s still on the table for us. It’s not the path we thought but it’s still the same and still reachable.”

The top two teams in this district will now play the top two from District One in the first round of the region on the road. Monday’s winner goes to Science Hill while the loser will journey to Dobyns-Bennett. Those games will be played on Saturday night next week.

East shot 40.4 percent from the floor in the loss, making 21 of 52 but only 8 of 27 behind the arc. The Cherokees hit 21 of 46 for 45.7. They were 7 of 19 from long range.

The Hurricanes missed two key free throws in the first overtime and two more in the third while the winners gunned in 11 of 14 at the line.

Led by Sapp, South-Doyle had a 34-28 rebounding edge. Cole Henson and Ilic grabbed seven each and Cloninger had five for East.

Friday’s loss was a battle all the way.

There were 10 lead changes and a tie in the first quarter alone. Cloninger scored nine and Henson hit a trey but the visitors led 16-14 at the first stop. Carr tossed in eight and Sapp had six to lead the Cherokees.

South-Doyle pulled out to a 23-16 lead with 5:00 left in the half but didn’t score the rest of the period. Ilic hit a basket and then gunned in a three to get the ‘Canes within 23-21 at intermission.

East regained the lead at 29-28 on a bucket by Cloninger but Sapp hit two straight buckets to put the visitors back in front. However, Blake Jarnigan converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Ilic scored inside and the Hurricanes led 34-33 going to the fourth.

South-Doyle led 42-38 before Ilic hit another there and Wright made a fast-break layup with 1:51 left. Sapp hit a free throw to tie the game with 1:18 on the clock and East played for the last shot and missed it.

Ilic started the first overtime with two free throws and a basket. Jatory Newton made a foul shot for South-Doyle but Cloninger drove for a basket and East led 49-44. Newton hit two free throws before a three-point play by Cloninger put the ‘Canes in front 52-46 with 43.4 left.

But Tyson Miller’s only basket of the night, a three from the top of the circle, made it a three-point game. East missed two free throws with 28.1 left and Sapp knotted it again with a three from the left corner with 12 seconds left.

The teams only had two free throws each in the second OT. Sapp made two for the winners and Ilic two for East with 2:18 left. The ‘Canes regained the ball and ran the clock down to 19.5 before turning it over and this time South-Doyle had the last chance but didn’t get a shot off.

Ilic and Carr traded baskets to start the final overtime before Ilic knocked down a three with 1:35 left.

Carr scored with 1:16 left and it was 59-58. East got the clock down to 26.8 before missing two free throws before Carr hit the game-winner.