Jellico High School’s season long quest to return to the boys’ championship game of the Region 2-A Basketball Tournament came to a heartbreaking end Tuesday night during a regional semifinal game at Wartburg High School.
The Blue Devils (16-18 overall) had high hopes of ending the Bulldogs’ 12-game winning streak until their standout forward, Cody Malicoat, went to the bench with four fouls late in the third quarter.
Malicoat sat out the next six and a half minutes. Wartburg (23-4 overall) took advantage of his absence to clinch a 58-46 victory and dethrone the defending region champions.
Bulldogs’ star Alex Fountain scored 19 of his game high 27 points during the second half.
Malicoat led Jellico with 17 points, while Austin Hunley had 14, Justin Bowlin eight, Matt Bolton five and Ethan Shelley two.
The Bulldogs were able to defeat the Blue Devils four times this season — twice during the regular season, once in the district tournament and once in the regionals — but in the two earlier games Jellico lost huge leads.
The Blue Devils advanced to the regional semifinals with a 59-57 win Saturday at Tellico Plains.
Malicoat hit the winning shot and finished with 18 points. Shelley chipped in 13, followed by Hunley and Bowlin with 10 each, and Bolton and Brian Hicks four each.
Jellico scored the first eight points of the game, but the Bears fought back to take a 50-46 lead in the second half. The Blue Devils outscored Tellico Plains 13-7 down the stretch to win the game.