Crossville — The Cleveland Blue Raiders rallied from a 11-point first-quarter deficit to defeat the District 6-AAA champion Cumberland County Jets Saturday night in Crossville.
The Raiders trailed 20-9 after the first quarter, as they were 5-of-10 from the field, while the Jets came out, hitting 8-of-11 from the floor.
Cleveland (18-11) opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run to slice the deficit to 20-19. Jahmal Johnson scored five of the eight points, the Jets’ Diego Poore’s layup put hosts ahead 22-19. A trey by C.J. Bryant helped send the Raiders on an 8-5 run to tie the game at 27-27 at the break.
Cleveland scored eight unanswered points to start the third quarter for a 35-27 lead with 5:24 left in the period. The Raiders played patiently in the latter stages of the quarter.
Jet baskets by J.J. Miller and Dylan Qualls sliced the lead to 35-32, but again, the Raiders used a 13-3 spurt to take a 48-35 lead by quarter’s end.
Cumberland County sliced the lead to 48-43 with an 8-0 run with under four minutes left in the game; however, baskets by Johnson and Raekwon Bunion put the Raiders ahead 52-43 with 1:24 remaining in the game. The Jets (17-16) sliced the lead to 52-49 with 31.5 ticks left in the game, but missed opportunities to get a tying or go-ahead basket.
A layup by Mason Brown made the final score 54-49, sending the Raiders into the Region 3AAA semi-finals Tuesday night.
Cleveland was 24-of-39 from the field, including 5-of-9 from behind the arc. The Raider defense forced 12 Jet turnovers.
The Raiders will return to their home court for the region semifinals Tuesday where they will face arch rival Bradley Central, a 66-56 winner over Cookeville Saturday.
Cleveland 9 18 11 6 — 54
Cumberland Co. 20 7 8 14 — 45
RAIDERS (54) — Jahmal Johnson 15, C.J. Bryant 13, Anfernee Scott 13, Little 4, Jones 3, Bunion 2, Beaty 2, Brown 2.
JETS (49) — Tayler Houston 17, Dylan Qualls 14, Poore 6, Miller 6, Parsons 4, O’Rourke 2, Smith.
3-point goals: Cleveland 5 (Bryant 2, Scott 3); Cumberland County 4 (Qualls 1, Houston 3)
Free throws: Cleveland 3-of-8; Cumberland County 7-of-10.
Records: Cleveland 18-11; Cumberland County 17-16.