In a gutsy performance Tuesday night, the Bolton High Boys gave Stone Memorial all it could handle but could not make enough shots late in the game, falling 77-64 in the Division 1 3A BlueCross Basketball State Championships.
The Wildcats (7-17) were clear underdogs going into the game against a Stone Memorial (21-10) team from Crossville that had a size advantage.
The Wildcats would need big games from its guards, and they delivered. Bolton came out strong, with senior guards Cornelius Collins and Jamarius Carter each hitting 3s and pushing the Wildcats to a 10-2 start. Bolton led at halftime 31-30.
An early 9-0 third quarter run by the Panthers, though, put Bolton in a hole. Stone Memorial used its size to build a 16-point lead at the end of the third quarter, 58-42.
Carter hit two 3-pointers to start the final quarter and Bolton pulled to within 65-60 with 4:21 remaining in the game, forcing the Panthers to call time out.
But Bolton went cold and foul trouble that had been mounting during the game spilled over. Seniors Christian Curry and Ryan Runnels both fouled out, and the Wildcats went without a field goal for 2:52 late in the game while Stone Memorial racked up points at the free throw line.
Carter finished with a game-high 25 points and Collins added 18 for the Wildcats.
Bolton was outrebounded 52-33, but forced 24 turnovers and committed only seven against Stone Memorial. The Panthers were 19-23 from the free throw line for 82.6 percent. Bolton was just 5-for-15 from the stripe.
Matthew Bilbrey had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the Panthers while 6-foot, 4-inch teammate Cade Capps tossed in 24 points with 7 boards. They were a combined 15-for-26 from the field and a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. Dylan Whittenburg had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Stone Memorial will face Greeneville High (29-6), which defeated Jackson North Side 71-37, in the semifinals on Friday at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.