Grant Hurst’s clutch pictures assist Cleveland return to state match

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Grant Hurst never hesitated. Every time.

When one clutch 3-pointer wasn’t enough, the Cleveland High School senior stepped up to connect with another – both in the last minute of the game – to bring his team to a 46:43 win over Blackman in the TSSAA Class AAA section on Monday evening in the Raider Arena.

“I have seen The child takes a lot of these shots“Said Blue Raiders trainer Reggie Tucker.” I wasn’t surprised when he made them. He’s a confident boy who wouldn’t let us lose. “

A year after Cleveland – which was No. 1 in the state at the time – was denied a chance to fight for a championship when the State tournament was canceled by COVID-19the team fought its way back.

Cleveland (22-6) will face Collierville (12-10) in Murfreesboro when the boys’ state tournament ends on March 18.

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Hurst’s clutch shots help Cleveland get back to the state tournament

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“Last year was last year. We can’t get this back, but I’m just proud of what these guys fought through to get here,” said Tucker, whose program advanced to the state tournament for the third year in a row. “We went through a lot to get back to the state tournament and I couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids. I’ve learned a lot from seeing them.

“We have some little kids out there, but we have some dogs, man.”

After Cleveland’s archers had fought Blackman’s 2-3 zone defense for most of the game, Hurst’s first clutch 3-pointer came 59 seconds ahead. After a pump fake to get his defender in the air, he put his feet back before launching the shot that put his team in the lead for the first time since mid-second quarter.

Blackman had taken the lead thanks to an 8-0 run at the end of the first half and held it up to a six-point cushion towards the end of the third half.

Cleveland had a chance to take the lead towards the end of the fourth run and had run out of three direct properties before Hurst’s first Trey. After Dontae Stringer threw a quick shot in the paint to restore Blackman to the lead, Hurst stepped forward again and punched a three from the left wing 11 seconds from time.

The Blue Raiders defense then forced a turnover and after Hurst ran the clock down to under a second he was able to complete his exploits with a free throw for the final lead.

“I was just doing my best to get a good impression,” said Hurst, who scored 11 of his 17 team-level points in the fourth quarter. Klay McGowan added 16 including four 3-pointers. “The magic just happened on its own. The ball came to my hands and I took the shot.

“They outperformed us until the last two minutes. The purpose of the zone is to make the other team a shooting team. If you don’t shoot well, it’s difficult, but the shots came when it mattered.”

Contact Stephen Hargis at [email protected] or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.