After blowing a 17-point lead nearly three months ago during a loss to Coalfield, the Jellico Blue Devils avenged that defeat Thursday night with a 70-59 opening-round victory in the District 4-A Basketball Tournament.
MTSU signee Cody Malicoat dropped in 41 points to pace Jellico (14-16), which led by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter.
Malicoat’s 41 points overshadowed a great scoring night by Coalfield senior Dillon Wilson, who poured in a career-high 32 points.
The two teams split during the regular season, but Jellico used a 15-4 edge in made free throws to get the win in their most important encounter with a regional berth on the line. Malicoat got off to a hot start and scored his team’s first 13 points and 16 of their 19 in the opening quarter for a 19-9 lead. Malicoat scored two quick baskets early in the second quarter to help build a 25-13 lead. Coalfield’s Wilson scored five straight before the Blue Devils ended the half on a 4-0 run, including a basket before the buzzer by Austin Hunley for a 29-18 advantage.
Coalfield’s Cody Hill scored the first basket of the third quarter, but the Blue Devils reeled off a 12-0 surge, including four more by Malicoat, to push their lead to 41-20 with still 5:13 left in the period.
Coalfield’s Hill scored seven points during an 11-4 run to pull the Jackets within 45-31 after three.
The fourth quarter was fast and furious with the two teams combining for 53 points and shooting 30 free throws. Jellico used a jumper by Malicoat at the 4:31 mark to give them their largest lead of the game (22) at 58-36. Coalfield responded with a 14-2 surge (Wilson scored a dozen points) over the next 2:16 to close to within 60-52.
During the final two minutes, Jellico hit 10 free throws to help them hold on for a 70-59 win. Wilson scored 18 points in the final quarter, while Malicoat poured in 15.
Jellico held a 34-31 advantage in rebounds and forced turnovers to help them get the win on the road. The Blue Devils only hit 15 of 32 free throws.
Jellico was powered by Malicoat (41 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocked shots), Ethan Shelley (9 points, 10 rebounds), Matt Bolton (7 points, 3 boards, 3 assists), Justin Bowlin (5 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals) and Austin Hunley (5 points, 5 rebounds).