Playing on their home floor, the Pioneers forced five turnovers and made just enough free throws in the final two minutes for a 56-52 victory. It came after two ties and nine lead changes in an extremely competitive second half.
"Two teams that are very similar, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses," David Crockett coach John Good said. "That's the way the two teams were in the regular season and I didn't expect anything different."
The Pioneers (15-14) will play top-seed Science Hill on Friday. The Vikings finished their season at 14-15.
THE BRIGHT LIGHTS
McHale Bright paced David Crockett on the offensive end with 13 points, including a key 3-point shot with 2:48 to go. After Tennessee High's Noah Wishon responded with an inside bucket on the other end, Camara Bradley hit another 3-pointer and the Pioneers never trailed afterward.
With the game still on the line, John Kollie hit a free throw with 2.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession contest.
It was an extremely balanced effort from Crockett. Paul Arrowood had nine points, followed by Tee Johnson with eight and seven each for Donta Hackler, Prince Kollie and Bradley.
"I was thinking how my shot wasn't falling early and I had to do other things to impact our team," Bright said. "I had some steals, assists and I happened to get my shot going in the fourth quarter. It's tough to make a big basket in the fourth quarter, but I feel like defense transitions into offense."
Three players — Cade Mitchell, Christian Webb and Wishon — netted 13 points apiece for Tennessee High.
It was close throughout after Tennessee High jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Crockett rallied to lead 12-8 at the end of one quarter.
The back-and-forth continued, although the Pioneers led 24-22 at the half and 34-31 at the end of three quarters. The largest margin either team enjoyed in the second half was Crockett at 54-48 before the Vikings closed back to just a single point.
Crockett's coach talked about some of the challenges Tennessee High presented in a variety of defensive schemes.
"They've got length, they put pressure on you and they don't give up anything easy at the basket," Good said. "In postseason, you make layups, free throws and don't turn it over and you have a chance to win. We turned it over some, but our kids played through it and kept competing and that's all you can ask for."
Cherokee 44, Tennessee High 37
Harper Russell scored 11 points to lead the No. 5-seed Lady Chiefs (12-16) over the No. 4-seed Lady Vikings (17-12) in a defensive struggle.
Cherokee clamped down on defense in the second half, holding Tennessee High scoreless over a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
Kennedy Cowan, Brittany Nielsen and Matalylin Goins all scored eight points for Cherokee.
Erin Walker had a game-high 15 points for Tennessee High, which got eight points from Adison Minor and six each from Makayla Richards and LynLeigh Rhodes.
The Lady Chiefs will play Daniel Boone Friday night.