Hardee's Classic


University High Boys runner up in 2012 Hardee's Classic!


Congratulations to our High School Boys Basketball team , runners-up in this year's Hardee's Classic!  The Bucs beat Unicoi County in game 1, beat Davy Crockett in the semi-final, and then played tough, but came up short in the final game against Greeneville. 

The following articles were printed in the Johnson City Press:


UH dumps Unicoi at Hardee's

Published November 22, 2012
By - Press Sports Writer

University High basketball coach Justin Penley didn’t feel his team played its best on Tuesday night.

Still, it was plenty good enough for the Junior Bucs to get a marquee win over Unicoi County in the late game of the 23rd annual Hardee’s Classic at David Crockett High School.

With outstanding guard play by Marcus Taylor and Seth Hilbert combined with Joseph Phillips knocking down some key shots from the outside, the Junior Bucs won 60-47 in the opening-round matchup.

“It’s good to get a win over Unicoi, and it’s good to get a win the first night of the Hardee’s,” Penley said. “If you don’t win the first one, you can’t win the tournament. I told our kids we got a win when I didn’t think we played extremely well.

“It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t smooth by any stretch, but often that’s the case in the early season. Our timing was off a little bit, but we got after it and fortunately we made enough plays to stretch out our lead a little bit.”

Taylor, who was feeling under the weather after the game, ended with a game-high 22 points. Phillips added 10 points, including a pair of crucial 3-point shots.

“Three games in and Joseph is shooting it really well for us,” Penley said. “Marcus, he’s a playmaker. He’s a scorer, just somebody who knows how to put the ball in the bucket. Seth is more of a steadying influence. Each of those guys led us at different points in the game.”

If the play in the backcourt wasn’t enough, Calen Archer, Marshall Hurley and Nate Berning neutralized the Blue Devils’ play in the post.

Led by Archer’s 10 points, the trio accounted for 20 points overall.

Executing their offensive gameplan, Junior Bucs were particularly effective moving without the basketball and making cuts to the basket.

Most of all, they didn’t fold when the Blue Devils turned up the heat.

“They were pressuring us in the second half and we handled it pretty well,” said Hilbert. “It’s a good win for us. I know last year we got a (first-round) win over Crockett, and that got us going. It’s great to do that again. Hopefully, we’ll get to the championship of this tournament.”

The Blue Devils (2-1) struggled to knock down shots, particularly from the outside, where they hit just 3 of 15 behind the 3-point arc.

“As I said at our media day, we’ve got to win games on the defensive end,” Unicoi County head coach Michael Smith said. “We’re not good enough offensively, especially right now, to beat people on the offensive end.

“We have to win on the defensive side of the ball and we gave up 30 (points) in the first half and 30 more in the second half.”

Nic Chambers led the Blue Devils with a dozen points. Ethan Rice tallied 11, while Keith Arrowood also finished in double digits with 10 points.

Still, the offensive execution was lacking, evident by Unicoi County trailing 30-20 at the half and 43-28 at the end of three quarters.

“University High did a good job moving without the basketball, passing, screening and all those things, and we didn’t do a good job of that,” Smith said. “Take nothing away from them at all. They did what they needed to do to beat us.

“Still, I think we can use this game to our advantage. We can watch film and see the mistakes we are making. We can work on those areas in practice and get better.”

University High moved on to face host David Crockett in a semifinal game on Friday. Unicoi County is pitted against rival Happy Valley in a losers’ bracket game.

Read more: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Sports/article.php?id=103485#ixzz2E62n9pIA

  iconView Photos of Crockett Game

UH, Greeneville make Hardee’s final

Published November 23, 2012
By - Press Sports Writer

University High scored the final seven points of its semifinal against host David Crockett to win 71-63 on Friday, and advance to the Hardee’s Classic championship for the first time.

The Junior Bucs (3-0) will face Greeneville for the championship of the 23rd annual boys’ basketball tournament. The Greene Devils held on to beat Unaka 73-67 in the second semifinal.

Happy Valley defeated rival Unicoi County 66-49 and Sullivan East routed Sullivan South 69-38 in earlier consolation bracket games.

“It’s neat to think back and this is the first University High team to make it to the championship of the Hardee’s,” Junior Bucs head coach Justin Penley said. “It’s a testament to our guys. I’m proud of the way they battled through some adversity in the first half.

“We told them to keep playing with high intensity and high effort and things would hopefully even out in the long run. We kept contesting shots and boxed out so when they did miss, we didn’t give them second and third opportunities. It’s good to see their hard work pay off.”

Guard Marcus Taylor scored 22 points to lead the Junior Bucs to their historic win. Taylor also had 22 points in UH’s opening-round win over Unicoi County. Against the Pioneers, Taylor displayed his versatility on the defensive end. He moved down to the post on a pair of possessions in the fourth quarter and forced a couple of crucial turnovers.

“I do whatever I can to try to get a win,” Taylor said. “We have some good guys down there so I didn’t have to help out too much. We’re pretty good defensively as a whole.”

Penley explained it was Taylor took it upon himself to help out his teammates. As a coach, Penley said he gives Taylor and others a certain amount of free reign.

“At one point we were in a scramble mode, but Marcus is one of those guys with great natural instincts,” Penley said. “That was just an instinctual move on his part to get that. I give those guys a lot of freedom on the court, at least at certain points of the game. I don’t want to overcoach them and let them use their natural abilities.”

Joseph Phillips was another major contributor on the offensive side, scoring 17 points including a trio of 3-point goals. Calen Archer battled inside to score 12 points, while Seth Hilbert added 10 points and controlled the action in the final stages from his point-guard position.

Josh Saults countered with 16 points for the Pioneers (2-3). Dustin Day also hit double-digits with 10 points, followed by Noah Leonard with nine points.

Crockett head coach Richard Tarlton felt the combination of UH’s talented backcourt and the his own team’s lack of experience hurt them in the end.

“They have as good a set of guards as is in our area as far as being able to handle the ball and knock down shots,” Tarlton said. “Our game plan going in was to keep the ball out of No. 3’s (Taylor’s) and No. 11’s (Phillips’) hands. We wanted to double them up and make them give it up, but we lost sight of our men a time or two and gave them some easy looks.”

Down by 11, the Junior Bucs rallied with the last seven points of the second quarter to trail 35-31 at the half.

University High still trailed by four, 52-48, heading into the final quarter. However in the final 1:10, UH stretched a 64-63 lead into an eight-point victory.

“It just comes down to what coach tells us to do and finishing games,” Taylor said. “We’re a good team and we can compete with anybody. It just came down to the final stretch and getting it done in the second half.”

Read more: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Sports/article.php?id=103499#ixzz2E62vRBZV

iconView Photos of Greeneville Game 


 Greeneville beats U-High to claim title
Published November 23, 2012
By - Press Sports Writer
Greeneville used a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter to pull away from ‍UniversityHigh and then held on for a 73-64 win in Saturday’s championship game of the 23rd annual Hardee’s Classic at David Crockett ‍High School.

  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. “‍UniversityHigh 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.”

  UniversityHigh 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 ‍UniversityHigh, 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.

All Tournament Team

  Mighty proud of our Bucs!