It was the second Hardee’s title for the Greeneville program, coming two decades after their first championship in 1992.
In earlier games, Unaka romped past host David Crockett 76-49 for third place, Sullivan East defeated Happy Valley 70-47 for fifth place, and Sullivan South beat Unicoi County 65-51 for seventh place.
They were preliminaries for a emotion filled championship in which four players in double figures spurred the Greene Devils (4-1) to victory.
“I know they had runs, we had runs and it was a battle all night long,” Greeneville coach Brad Woosley said. “University High got after us. They put up 40 on us in the first half. That wasn’t something we wanted to happen, but they played hard.”
University High head coach Justin Penley couldn’t agree more. He wasn’t pleased with some of the turnovers and his team’s shot selection in the second half, but there was no fault with how hard they played.
“Those runs were hard for us to overcome, but our kids gave great effort for 32 minutes,” Penley said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more with the energy they brought and the intensity they brought to the court tonight.
“We just didn’t play well at times tonight. We took some ill-advised shots to help their runs out. It’s one thing to take an ill-advised shot if it goes in, but if you miss it, you put yourself in a precarious situation. You have to give them credit though, they made some tough shots.”
One example of the Greene Devils’ shot making was Trevor Wright’s four-point play that put his team up 62-53 with 5:30 to go. Wright ended as his team’s leading scorer with 18 points.
“Trevor is a kid who has great athleticism, but shooting the basketball hasn’t always been there for him,” Woosley said. “Over the spring, summer and the last few weeks, he’s really improved his shooting and that’s great for us to see.”
Tournament MVP Landon Duncan tallied 17, while Cory Waddell added16 and Jacob Cobble added 12 in the victory.
For University High, Joseph Phillips was the high scorer with 18 points, followed by Marcus Taylor with 17 points and Calen Archer with 10.
Using a balanced attack, Seth Hilbert and Marshall Hurley ended with eight points apiece.
The Bucs trailed 18-15 at the end of one quarter, but rallied late in the second quarter to take a 40-35 lead into halftime. Greeneville parlayed their 10-0 run in third quarter into a 55-53 lead heading into the final eight minutes.