LOUDON — McMinn Central bowed out of the District 5-AA Tournament on Friday with a 63-50 semifinal loss, but not without putting up a good fight.
It was a five-point game heading into the fourth quarter and the Redskins didn’t start to pull away until the final three minutes of the game as Loudon hit its free throws.
Loudon attempted 25 free throws and Central had just seven attempts, but the Chargers only made three out of those seven attempts. Central had three players foul out.
“The game was closer than the final score indicated,” Central Coach Daniel Curtis said. “There is no way we can win when they have 25 free throws and we have seven. I don’t know whose fault that is, but we will never win with that discrepancy. But our guys played hard.”
Neither team blistered the nets aside from a few ‘3’s and Curtis was pleased with his team’s defense.
“Defensively, we played well enough to win,” Curtis said. “But it was a frustrating night offensively.”
The loss in the tournament semifinals means the Chargers (11-15) will have to travel to Chattanooga for the Region 3-AA Tournament.
Before that, however, Central will travel to Sweetwater on Tuesday for the district tournament’s third-place game. Game time is 6 p.m.
Sweetwater lost to Sequoyah in double overtime on Friday.
Loudon later took a slim lead, but a bucket by Gabe Masingale cut Loudon’s lead to 14-10 going to the second period.
The two teams played even in the second quarter with each team scoring 10 points in the period.
Gabe Masingale scored three buckets while Carden and Carter Henderson each scored once. It looked as if the teams would go to intermission deadlocked at 20-20, but Loudon hit a late shot and then scored again less than five seconds later at the buzzer after a turnover.
The Redskins went to the half up 24-20.
The two teams traded buckets in the third with both offenses finding the bottom of the net. Loudon won the quarter 19-18.
Carden led off Central’s scoring with a bucket and then came a ‘3’ by McCain Baker, two free throws by Henderson and a bucket by Samuel Masingale. The game was tied 29-29 with 4:23 left in the period.
Henderson then hit back-to-back buckets and Samuel Masingale hit a shot that made it 36-35, Loudon.
Later, Carden scored and Samuel Masingale made a free throw. Loudon went to the fourth holding a 43-38 lead.
The Chargers continued to keep the game close with a bucket by Gabe Masingale and a ‘3’ by Baker cutting Loudon’s advantage to 45-43 with six minutes to play.
A few minutes after that, however, Central ran into foul trouble.
Carden and Baker each picked up their fourth fouls and both would later foul out. Free throws helped Loudon take a 57-48 lead with about a minute to play.
Central then had to foul to stop the clock and Henderson fouled out with 41 seconds to play.
The Redskins made enough free throws in the final few minutes to come away with a 63-50 victory.
Gabe Masingale led the Chargers with 15 points and Henderson finished with 11. Baker hit two of Central’s five three-pointers.