Burns leads Panthers in Senior Night win

Jay Compton jcompton@civitasmedia.com

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HARROGATE, Tenn. — Cumberland Gap celebrated Senior Night on Saturday with a 52-35 win over Oneida.

Senior Gavin Burns scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers pulled away.

It was a defensive struggle early on as the Panthers got baskets from Burns, Jordan Bullins and Hunter Bayless to take a 6-5 lead after one quarter.

Six different Panthers scored in the second period with Adam Jenkins and Bullins leading the way with three points apiece and by halftime Cumberland Gap led 20-13.

“We jumped on them early and they didn’t shoot the ball well, I’m hoping a lot of that had to do with our defense,” Panther coach Ernie Clawson said. “We were moving pretty well to start the game. We weren’t shooting all that well ourselves, but got a lead and were able to maintain it.”

Bryce Sutton and Burns hit 3s early in the third quarter and a putback by Bayless pushed the lead to 13 points by the midway point of the period. The Panthers led 34-24 going into the fourth.

Burns converted a three-point play and then hit a trey. Bullins scored after grabbing an offensive rebound and Burns then hit a driving layup to give Cumberland Gap their biggest lead at 42-26 and they went onto win by 17.

In addition to Burns’ 15 points, Bullins and Sutton both finished with seven and Bayless had six. Chase Mize came off the bench to score five points and Jenkins and Trent Graves added four apiece. Austin Anderson and Ethan Ellison both scored two points in the game.

Cole West scored 15 points to lead the Indians.

Prior to the game, the Panthers honored their seniors: Burns, Bullins, Anderson and Zach Wilhoit.

“I’m very proud of our seniors, they need this and our team needed this win,” Clawson said. “I started them and they did an outstanding job playing with high energy. I’m glad we could send them off with a good win. They deserved it for all the stuff they’ve had to endure over the past four years.”

Friday night at Claiborne, the Panthers erased a nine-point halftime deficit and had tied the game late in the fourth quarter. But the Bulldogs hit 14-of-16 free throws down the stretch to pull away for a 62-52 win.

Tristan Noe led Claiborne with 25 points, including and 8-for-8 effort from the line in the fourth quarter. Nick Roberts added 14 points, Shawn Logan 10 and Paul Estep nine.

Sutton led Cumberland Gap with 17 points while Bayless finished with 14 and Burns 13.

“We were tied with about 2:30 to go. I think it was Estep that hit a big 3 for them and they started hitting free throws,” Clawson said. “I don’t think they missed once we started fouling at the end. That’s what you want, I give them a lot of credit and those kids stepped up and made big plays to win the ball game.”

Cumberland Gap (11-14) will get another shot at Claiborne in the first round of the District 2-AA Tournament in Greeneville on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.


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