It seems that Lake County was forced to forfeit four victories for having used an ineligible player.
Third year head coach Dawn Barger rallied the troops and pushed her team to a fourth place finish in District 14, then watched her Falcons win four consecutive loser-out games to reach Murfreesboro.
Barger, arguably the most successful female coach of a boys team in state history, is now in her third consecutive state tournament, having reached the semifinals in 2012 (24-10) and winning the whole thing in 2011 with a record of 24-11.
Guard Zay Coleman (5-8, junior) has been nearly unstoppable this season for the Falcons. Hes averaging just over 25 points per game and is explosive off the dribble.
Devon Jones (6-3, forward) is averaging around 17 points per game while the club relies on Dominique Kimbel (5-10, senior) for long-range shooting.
Watertown counters with a solid backcourt duo in senior Macieo Gaines and junior Ty Jobe.
Gaines is the undisputed heart and soul of the Purple Tigers -- having won MVP honors in both the district and region tournaments.
He averages around 14 points per game and is adept at slashing to the basket.His counterpart, Jobe, is a long-range bomber who has connected on 46-of-141 3-point attempts so far this season -- a clip of 33 percent. Jobe leads the team in rebounds with 214 while Gaines has 122.
Senior Ethan Moss has been steady, knocking down 47-of-131 of his 3-point tries for 35 percent. Senior Josiah Smith leads Watertown with 121 assists and is tied with Gaines for the team lead in steals with 79.
Seniors Nick Sackman and Ben Bain have played in all 33 games this season and while they havent posted huge numbers, both have excelled at filling their roles.
This bunch has been fun to coach, fun to be around, said Coach Matt Bradshaw. They believe in each other and thats been a big reason for our success to this point.
The winner of todays Watertown - Lake County game will advance a 1:30 p.m. semifinal game Friday against the winner of the Grace Christian (23-10) - Richland (28-6) contest.
The other side of the bracket finds: Mt. Pleasant (25-3) vs. Humbolt (26-6) and Wartburg (27-4) vs. Clarksrange (18-16). The championship game is set for 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
BlueCross notes -- There are no advance ticket sales for the BlueCross Basketball Championships. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Murphy Center box office. Fans should be prepared to pay a $5 fee to park in the MTSU lot adjacent to Murphy Center.
Out-of-town followers of the Purple Tigers can access the quarterfinal and semifinal action online at www.tssaanetwork.com at a cost of $3.95 per game. Saturday's championship games will be aired free on Public Broadcasting Stations.
By TOMMY BRYAN / firstname.lastname@example.org