Sometimes a final score can be deceiving as to how hotly contested a basketball game has been played.
On Saturday, the Henry County High School Patriots’ season came to an end after a 73-59 loss to Station Camp in the quarterfinals of the Region 5-AAA Tournament in Gallatin. The Patriots were never out of the game with the Bisons from tipoff until the waning moments.
Henry County was within four points early in the fourth quarter but every time the Patriots tried to inch closer there was a missed shot, a stolen pass or a strange call that seemed to benefit the Bisons.
Henry County ended its season with a 22-6 record that included a third-place finish in the regular season in District 10-AAA play and the Patriots also came in third in the district tournament. Patriot head coach Mike Greer said after the loss at Station Camp that the semifinal loss in the district tournament (57-44 to Clarksville) really set his team back.
“We just dug us too big a hole in that district semifinal game to climb out of,” said Greer. “We really needed to have been playing at home tonight. It is awfully tough to go to a top seed’s home gym and get a win.”
Greer was emotional after the game about losing a group of players that have pushed the win totals from 11 or 12 in his first two years back at HCHS to this year’s strong 20-win season.
“They certainly have come a long way. They’ve worked very hard and are the kind of team the community should be proud of and proud to get behind,” said Greer.
The Patriot seniors playing their final game included John Odoms, Deon Young, Will Singleton, Ashton O’Daniel, Blake Yearry, Ja’Quis Coats and Donte Davis.
BISONS 73, PATRIOTS 59
Station Camp established the pattern in the game, pulling out to a little bit of a lead, with Henry County storming back.
It started in the first quarter after the Patriots tied the game at 7-7 on a Semaj King layup. Patriot leading scorer John Odoms checked out with two fouls. Station Camp went on a 13-0 scoring run to finish the period with a 20-9 lead.
Most of the Bisons’ offense ran through swingman Kevon Blankenship throughout the game. Blankenship had five points in the first quarter and probably assisted on three or four more baskets.
Late in the second quarter, Henry County battled back into the game. Young sank four free throws and hit a 3-pointer over a three-minute stretch to cut Station Camp’s advantage to 30-27 with 23 seconds left. The Bisons added a basket before halftime to hold a 32-27 edge.
The Bisons were never able to get ahead of the Patriots by more than five points in the third period. That lead came at the end of the frame and right after John Odoms had to sit down again with his fourth foul. Station Camp held a 45-40 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Henry County twice got within four points in the fourth quarter but never could close the gap. The Bisons were able to stay ahead partly because both John and Jawon Odoms drew their fifth fouls before the period ended. The Patriots were particularly upset with John Odoms’ last foul which came on offense as he scored a basket with the defender challenging the shot.
Blankenship kept the Patriots from coming back by hitting five of six free throws late in the game as Station Camp went 14-for-16 from the charity stripe in the last period.
Henry County was led in scoring by Jawon Odoms with 15 points, while Young contributed 13 and Singleton scored 11. O’Daniel tossed in eight points while both King and John Odoms scored six.
Blankenship finished with a game-high 22 points for Station Camp. Cameron Gerlach hit for 16 while Eli Thourston scored 14. Kheller Diel put in 12 points and Jack Gold scored five. Trey Moore and Donovan Smith both scored two points.