Unicoi County (28-5) brought in a second place finish from the Region 1-AA tournament and now secured a substate game for Monday night.
It’s a team the Devils are familiar to – Stone Memorial.
The Devils hosted the Panthers from Crossville last year in Erwin and narrowly fell from their chance to punch a ticket to the state tournament by falling 63-56.
The teams are mirror images of one another on the court with majority of last year’s teams, both Unicoi and Stone Memorial, returning for the 2012 clash.
Stone Memorial will be led by their district and region tournament MVP, Brandon Cole, who brought in a 29 point effort in the Panthers 58-54 win against the Aloca Tornadoes in the Region 2-AA championship.
Robert Traino and Brock Rowan are Panthers who’ll return from last year’s squad, who hit double figures against the Devils back in Erwin.
Unicoi County will make the trip to Region 2 champions on Monday, and the experience on the court is on their side.
Austin Hensley, Trevor Shelton
Unicoi led early in the contest last year until A.Hensley was sidelined for an ankle injury.
Then the Panthers made their rally.
With some Blue Devils athletes battling through sickness during post season play, health won’t be a factor for the squad. The team will be finishing up a three day rest before making the trip for their substate game.
Unicoi brings to the court six to eight kids who’ll see the court, along with the three mentioned, Issac Harris brings a shutdown-defense mentality to the court while Lucas Hensley has emerged into one of the key cogs in the Devils starting rotation.
Connor Simpson will see time off the bench, proving to be a valuable sixth man for the Devils crew, including his eight point, 11 rebound performance against Sullivan East in the Region 1-AA championship.
Nic Chambers and Austin Green could also see some possible time on the court, with the two sophomores continually showing improvement.
Stone Memorial has been known to be a team that’ll attempt to out hustle their opponents, while Unicoi County has been accustomed to adjusting to the press defense show from other teams during the season.
The comparisons between the are nearly identical.
Be sure to keep updated with The Erwin Record’s Facebook page for updates in the substate game and be sure to pick up the March 13 edition of The Erwin Record for full coverage of the game.