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Rebels, Fulton Meet For Title

Renasant Bank tourney championship game set for 7 p.m. tipoff

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Easton Upchurch lets fly from way out there on Monday.

Easton Upchurch lets fly from way out there on Monday.

This one should really be good.

Maryville and Fulton will square off in the championship game of the Renasant Bank Christmas Tournament tonight at 7 at Maryville’s James Campbell Gymnasium.

The Rebels raced away from Austin-East for a 92-71 win in one semifinal on Tuesday. The Roadrunners made of it through two quarters, big man Jamar Underwood pouring in 16 first half points to keep Austin-East within 36-35 at the break.

Maryville coach Mark Eldridge abandoned a matchup zone defense for man-on-man to start the third, with Rebel center Bryce Miller and backup Caylor Tallent slowing Underwood’s rampage to three points in the quarter, five in the fourth. A deep and diverse Maryville backcourt went bombs away from there.

“When we go with a matchup, the idea is to cut off penetration,” Eldridge said, “and they were penetrating anyway. We thought we could score. We just needed to get some stops.”

Mississippi transfer guard Easton Upchurch pumped in 24 to pace the Rebels (10-2), knocking three 3-pointers. Kid’s got a great stroke. Andrew Petree followed Upchurch into double figures with 13, with Miller adding 10. Jake Headrick had nine, all treys, Tallent eight and Tristen Upchurch seven.

Underwood’s strong first half enabled him to pace Austin-East with 24, with KaJaun Hale adding 23.

Fulton (6-2) withstood a stern challenge from Bradley Central before holding on for a 67-62 win in Monday’s first semifinal. Joe Kimber led the Falcons with 15, with Yasmond Fenderson adding 13, Chase Hamilton 12, all on 3s.

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