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Title Time for ‘Marvin’

Davis free throws lift Mountaineers into district championship game
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Heritage’s Brandon Davis holds team mascot “Marvin the Mountaineer” following the Mountaineers’ 62-61 win over Maryville in a District 4AAA Tournament semifinal on Friday. Davis’ two free throws with a second remaining secured victory.

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Knoxville – Generally, “Marvin” doesn’t do road trips.

He did Friday night, though, and the Heritage mascot was treated to a thriller as the Mountaineers held off Maryville, 62-61, in a District 4AAA Tournament semifinal at West High School.

Heritage (20-12) advances to meet Bearden (18-12) in the district championship game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Maryville (20-5) clashes with Farragut (19-10) in Tuesday’s third place game at 6.

“Marvin the Mountaineer,” a foot-tall statuette of a frontier outdoorsman, was the guest of Heritage forward Brandon Davis on Friday.

“We rub his head for luck before every game (at home),” Davis said. “(Friday), I just grabbed him and brought him along.”

As the saying goes, worked like a charm.

Davis sank two free throws with a second showing on the clock. Maryville sophomore Christian Markham followed with this best Grant Hill on the inbounds pass, heaving a high, deep feed to the other end to junior T.D. Blackmon, who was fouled as he shot as time expired.

Blackmon missed on the first free throw before making the second for the final margin.

Heritage big man Cameron Allison paced four Mountaineers in double figures with 20 points, with Blake Ervin, Calvin Keeble and Davis adding 11 each. Guard Lee Yates had six on a couple of timely 3s.

Allison finished an impressive 8-of-9 from the free-throw line, draining his first eight before the miss.

Blackmon, who left the game with leg cramps late before reentering just prior to the free throws, had the big night for Maryville, matching Allison for game-high honors with 20. Shooting guard Easton Unchurch knocked down three treys en route to 12, the only other Rebel to reach double figures. Tristan Unchurch finished with nine, Kelby Brock eight.

Heritage junior Cameron Allison, pictured here earlier this season, pumped in 20 points to tie Maryville's T.D. Blackmon for game-high honors.

Heritage junior Cameron Allison, pictured here earlier this season, pumped in 20 points to tie Maryville’s T.D. Blackmon for game-high honors.

Trailing from the outset, the Mountaineers took their first lead at 15-14 on an Ervin 3-pointer from the right corner with five minutes to play in the half. It was a harbinger.

“The last four games, he’s taken over, and, when Blake takes over, the other guys follow,” Heritage coach Bill Duncan said.

“I needed to be more of a leader,” Ervin said. “I needed to step it up.”

Keeble followed Ervin’s lead and hit twice from long range, Yates two more before the end of the quarter, and Heritage sprinted to a 32-22 lead at intermission.

Hot outside shooting from Easton Upchurch brought the Rebels back within 49-46 with less than a minute gone in the fourth. Blackmon’s baseline drive finally got Maryville even at 52-all with 4:04 remaining. The high school All-American linebacker went to the Rebel bench with what appeared leg cramps following the basket, reentering with 1:14 left after an Easton Unchurch trey had knotted things at 60.

Davis was fouled rebounding a Maryville miss at what was first thought the end of regulation. After a conference, game officials put 1.0 seconds back on the clock prior to Davis shooting free throws at the other end.

“I said, ‘Just act like nobody’s around,'” Ervin said he told Davis.

Markham, a former youth football quarterback, delivered a perfect deep ball to Blackmon just off the key after a timeout. The ball knocked free by a Mountaineer defender in the air, Blackmon caught the deflection, spun, shot and was fouled before landing.

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