The Grundy County Yellow Jackets finished their season in the first round the District 7-AA tournament at Sequatchie County High School last Monday night with a 68 – 59 loss to the fifth seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The loss gave the Jackets an 8 – 20 record for the year. It also brought a close to the careers of seniors Boo Goins, Trent Hampton, and Coy Gibbs.
The Jackets fell behind early as they committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and trailed 15 – 6. During the second quarter, the team settled down and took better care of the basketball, but still trailed the Irish 27 – 15 when Trent Hampton returned to the game with three fouls with less than two minutes to play in the first half. Hampton gave the Jackets the lift they needed scoring eight points in the final 1:27 of the half to get the Jackets within five points at intermission, 28 – 23.
The Jackets battled the Irish on even terms in the third quarter. Two Kollyn Cooper free-throws gave the Jackets their only lead of the game at 40 – 38 with 2:25 left in the third quarter. The Irish made a three-pointer in the waning seconds of the third quarter to take the lead back for good at 48 – 45 entering the final stanza. A Goins layup with 1:37 remaining got the Jackets within two at 61 – 59, but those would be the last points they would score. The Irish scored the final seven points to put the game away at 68 – 59.
Trent Hampton led the Jackets with 16 points. Goins added 12 points to help lead the team. The Irish went on to defeat top seeded Chattanooga Christian 65 – 52 and second seeded Sequatchie County 63 – 48 to capture the District 7-AA crown.
The Jackets return several underclassmen with plenty of experience to lead them into the 2017 – 18 campaign. The team really seemed to play together and for each other. This speaks volumes for the work first-year head coach Kevin Butner and his staff did with this team. They also won four district games along with an impressive win against Class AAA Franklin County.