Warriors defeat Cavaliers on a last second shot to win the 6AAA District Tournament

Posted By | February 23, 2017 8:26 am

Last Updated: February 23, 2017 at 8:27 am

The student section rushed the floor when the buzzer sounded on Tuesday night. Here you see Malik Murray and Thomas Dalton celebrating with the fans. (Photo by ANDY SOUTHARD)

On Tuesday night, White County took over the Warren County gymnasium in more ways than one. The bleachers were filled with White County faithful who seemed to at least quadruple the number of Cookeville fans there.

The Warriors were able to get the win also on Tuesday night when Cole Crosland hit a 15-foot shot off balanced with 8.6 seconds remaining on the clock to give the Warriors the win over the Cookeville Cavaliers 39-37 in the District 6AAA Tournament Championship. This win sends the Warriors into the region tournament with the #1 seed.

The Warriors will return to their actual home, Roy Sewell Gymnasium, on Saturday, for their Region 3AAA quarterfinal match-up against the fourth seed from District 5AAA, Bradley Central (18-10).

The Warriors got out to a quick start in Tuesday’s matchup against the Cavaliers. The Warriors started the game scoring the first 10 points. Thomas Dalton got it started when he was left wide open underneath the basket for an easy layup to put the Warriors up 2-0.

Then Pierce Whited found some room behind the 3-point line, and he drained it to put the Warriors up 5-0, with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter. Jared Carter was the next Warrior to score when he hit a layup and a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to put the Warriors up 10-0, with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Cookeville basket, Malik Murray answered back for the Warriors to extend their lead back to 10. Cookeville would get another basket at the end of the quarter, but the Warriors would take a 12-4 lead into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Cookeville got the scoring started   when they got a layup to cut the Warriors lead to 6, but Murray would answer back when he got a rebound on a missed shot and put it back up to put the Warriors up 14-6.

Cookeville would score the next 5 points, and then Carter would hit a shot to put the Warriors up 16-11, with 5:48 remaining in the first half. The Warriors and Cavaliers would trade baskets for the most of the quarter until the Warriors would score the last 5 points. Crosland hit a layup, with 2:42 remaining in the first half to give the Warriors a 23-19 lead, and then Whited hit a 3 to make the score 26-19 for the Warriors heading into the locker room.

In the third quarter, Whited would start the quarter off the same way he ended the third quarter by hitting a 3 to put the Warriors up 29-19. Cookeville would get a layup to cut the Warriors lead down to 8, but the Warriors would get 4 consecutive points to extend their lead to 11.

Dalton got a layup, with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter, and then Murray got a layup to put the Warriors up 33-21 with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter. Cookeville would end the third quarter scoring 5 straight points, but the Warriors still lead 33-26 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter of play, Cookeville started the quarter off hitting a 3 to cut the Warriors lead down to 4, but the Warriors would answer back scoring the next 4 points. Murray scored 4 straight points for the Warriors to extend their lead to 37-29, with 4:17 remaining in the game. Cookeville would score the next 8 points to tie the game at 37 all with 45 seconds left on the clock.

The Warriors would have the ball underneath the Cookeville basket, with 30 seconds remaining on the clock. Crosland would get the inbounds pass and bring it up the court. He saw a crease in the Cavalier defense, so he took it. He would pull up about 15 feet from the basket. He would pump fake and look around and try to pass the ball out but couldn’t find anyone open, so he jumped and shot the ball. The ball rolled around the basket, and it went in to give the Warriors the 39-37 lead, with 8.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Warriors would foul a Cookeville player on the inbounds pass because they had three fouls to give before Cookeville was in the bonus. On the Cavaliers next inbounds pass, Crosland stole the pass, and the Warriors were able to run out the clock and secure their second district title in two years.

With the win, the Warriors move to 24-6 on the season. The Warriors will play again, on Saturday, against Bradley Central, at 7 p.m., at Roy Sewell Gymnasium, in Sparta. See the region tourney story for details on the game.

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