Area 2 Tournament MVP Roston Letner scored 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, Friday night to lead No. 4 seed LaFollette to a 35-33 championship game victory over archrival Jacksboro.
Austin North, who joined Letner and Jacksboro’s Darin Gillenwater on the all-tournament team, chipped in 11 points for the Owls (15-9 overall). Dakota Dossett and Jake Ivey added 4 points each to LaFollette’s cause.
Both teams advanced to the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association East Sectional Championships that are scheduled to begin Saturday at Sevierville.
The Owls get a first-round bye and won’t play until Monday at 6:15 p.m. The Eagles will open sectional play Saturday at 4:45 p.m. against the third-place team from Area 3. LaFollette and Jacksboro are in opposite brackets, so there’s a chance they could meet again in the finals on Feb. 19.
Friday’s tournament finale at Agee Gymnasium marked the first time since 2007 that LaFollette and Jacksboro played each other for the Area 2 title. The Owls also won that game, 65-54.
In the latest meeting of the two rivals, LaFollette led 22-21 at halftime and had to weather a strong fourth-quarter challenge by the third-seeded Eagles. Trey Torres missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that might have won the game for Jacksboro.
Torres tied Gillenwater for team scoring honors with 12 points. Jesse Sharp chipped in 4 points, followed by Dylan Clawson with 3 and Seth Pebley 2.
Both the Owls and Eagles rolled into the championship game after strong performances during Thursday’s semifinal round.
LaFollette took down No. 1 seed Oak Ridge-Robertsville, 40-33. Letner paced the Owls with 16 points, followed by Dossett and North with 7 each, Durand Jackson 6, Andrew Evans 3 and Ivey 2. LaFollette trailed 20-19 at halftime.
In the other bracket, Jacksboro thumped No. 2 seed Horace Maynard, 41-30, with a tournament-high 30 points from Gillenwater.
The game was never close, as the Eagles had nearly doubled the score, 35-18, at one point early in the second half.