Jaden Ruehling’s buzzer beater gives Jackets win in thriller
What a crowd! What a game! What a shot! The Grundy County Yellow Jackets captured the 2019 – 2020 District 7 AA crown with a buzzer-beating, 25-foot three pointer from junior Jaden Ruehling for a spine tingling 53 – 52 victory over the Cumberland County Jets. After two heartbreaking losses to the Jets this year, and eight losses in a row over three years, the Jackets ended the Jets 29-game winning streak of regular season and tournament wins over the rest of the field in District 7 AA.
What does this win mean? Obviously, a district championship which is the dream and goal of every team across the state. Secondly, they will host Cannon County of District 8 AA on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The Jackets now stand at 14 – 10 on the season as they enter Region 4 AA play. District 8 AA will have Upperman, York Institute, Watertown, and Cannon County. Upperman and York played for the district championship Tuesday night.
Ruehling, Jordan Hackworth, and Nathan Coffelt were named to the District 7 AA All-Tournament team. Ruehling and Thaddaeus Blackburn were named to the District 7 AA regular season All District team. Head Coach Kevin Butner was named Coach of the Year.
Jackets 76 BCHS 63
The Jackets defeated the Bledsoe County Warriors for the third time this year in the semi-finals, last Friday night, 76 – 63. The win punched the Jackets ticket to their third consecutive District 7 AA championship game.
The Jackets scored 31 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Warriors. The Jackets were hot behind the arc connecting on 11 treys. Ruehling hit four three pointers and Hackworth added three more to lead the way. Ruehling led the Jackets with 28 points, while Hackworth added 16 points.
Jackets 53 CCHS 52
The scene was the Sequatchie County High School gymnasium for Act III of the Jackets – Jets spectacular show. In an amazing twist of irony, the Jets’ Reese Dykes, the hero for the Jets that broke the Jackets’ hearts with a four-point play 10 days earlier, missed the second of two free throws with :03.6 left. The Jackets rebounded the miss and immediately called time out with :02.9 left. The officials, generously, put the clock back to :03.4 and the stage was set for Ruehling’s heroics with the Jackets 94 feet away from the district title down 52 – 50.
Chris Nance inbounded the ball to Blackburn near the half court circle, who turned and passed to a sprinting Ruehling on the right side of the court near the scorers’ table. Ruehling took the pass and dribbled by a Jet defender and stopped and popped the game winner.
The Yellow Jacket faithful went into a frenzy as the team captured the district crown in their third try in as many years to win the tournament title.
An unbelievable display of heart stopping basketball play in three games by two teams and two coaching staffs that obviously have the utmost respect for one another. Those two teams gave both fan bases some of the most exciting basketball in the three games this year that anyone could imagine. You could tell by the exchange of handshakes after the game, how that players and coaches knew they had all left it on the floor.
Statistically, Ruehling had 29 points and Nance added 10 points to lead the Jackets. Coffelt was big on the board tonight that was pivotal in keeping the Jackets in the game.
Jacket Box Scores
BC 11, 8, 21, 23 – 63
GC 11, 19, 15, 31 – 76
BC – Cody Lankford 30; Camden Smith 12; Sweatt 5; McCloud 5; Richardson 4; Keith 3; Barton
2; Thorpe 2; Williams; Harvey.
GC – Jaden Ruehling 28; Jordan Hackworth 16; Blackburn 9; Jackson 8; Coffelt 5; Nance 4; Conry 4; Tipton 2; Melton.
3 pt. Goals BC (6) Lankford 3, Smith 3. GC (11) Ruehling 4, Hackworth 3, Jackson 2, Blackburn, Conry.
FT’s BC 12 – 18 GC 15 – 25
GC 21, 9, 10, 13 – 53
CC 15, 9, 15, 13 – 52
GC – Jaden Ruehling 29; Chris Nance 10; Blackburn 5; Tipton 3; Hackworth 3; Melton 2; Coffelt
1; Jackson; Conry.
CC – Mason Wyatt 17; Kole Torres 14; Trystan Miller 13; Dykes 4; Parsons 4; Inman; Conaster; Floyd.
3 pt. Goals GC (5) Ruehling 3, Hackworth, Tipton. CC (5) Torres 4, Dykes. FT’s GC 4 – 9 CC 7 – 10