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Blue Devils advance to finals

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By Dwane Wilder

 District 4-A Player of the Year Cody Malicoat hit 4 of 5 free throws during the fourth quarter Saturday to help No. 1 seed Jellico defeat No. 4 Oneida, 52-44, and advance to the boy’s championship game of the league tournament.

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Malicoat finished the semifinal contest with a team-high 15 points, including a 3-pointer, for the Blue Devils (17-12 overall) who moved on to face tournament host Wartburg on Tuesday for the title. 

Michael Smith chipped in 13 points for Jellico, followed by Lee England with 11, Gabe Mitchell 5, Brent Ayers and Ethan Shelley 4 each.

It wasn’t an easy semifinal game for the Blue Devils, who missed several layups throughout the contest. Twice during the opening quarter, Malicoat brought Jellico from behind. Leading 14-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Blue Devils began the second period with a 6-0 run.

The Indians answered with a 7-0 run to get within 20-18. Smith drove inside for a bucket at the close of the first half to put Jellico up by one, 28-27.

“We hadn’t played in over a week, so that was part of the problem,” said Jellico coach Mike Reynolds.

“But we fought through it and were able to come out with a win.”

Jellico ended the third quarter with a 7-0 run to break a 30-30 tie. From that point on, the Blue Devils were able to hold off the Indians with some timely baskets and free throws.

Win or lose the district championship game, Jellico’s boys will host a first-round Region 2-A game on Saturday at 7 p.m. against either Midway or Berean Christian. The region semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday at Harriman.

Cole West led all scorers with 18 points for Oneida. Clay Jeffers added 12 points for the Indians, while Jake Wright and Noah Duncan had 5 each, and Tanner Boshears 4.

Earlier in the week, Oneida’s girls eliminated the Jellico Lady Blue Devils, 78-51, in a first-round tournament game.