Senior guard Amarr Knox and his teammates took over the game in the fourth quarter Thursday night, March 3, lifting the Bartlett High Boys to the Region 8 4A Championship over Memphis East, 79-68.
Knox, a McDonald’s All-American nominee, showed all of his skills at Central High School Thursday, scoring from outside the arc and around the rim. He finished with 36 points and was named the tournament’s MVP.
But he didn’t do it alone.
Senior guard Jr Jacobs, another McDonald’s All-American nominee, controlled the Panthers offense all night long and helped break a full-court press the Memphis East Mustangs employed in the fourth quarter. When Jacobs got by the pressing defense, it led to fast breaks and open-floor opportunities on the offensive end that Knox and his teammates exploited.
In their only other match-up this season, the Panthers prevailed in double overtime against the Mustangs.
But Bartlett was not going to let Thursday night’s game get that close.
After Bartlett stormed out to a 17-5 lead early, the Mustangs dug in and came back, cutting the lead to six points at halftime, 36-30. The game was close in the third quarter – at times Bartlett held just a 1 point lead – but late in the third the Panthers started to pull away.
Jacobs hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, giving Bartlett a 59-48 lead. The Mustangs tried to cut into the lead, but Knox kept hitting 3s or when his defender came out to the arc, he drove the lane and made the Mustangs pay by scoring or going to the free throw line.
Centers Matthew Stokes and Rashad Williams both played strong inside, blocking shots and crashing the boards, but Memphis East won the rebounding battle, 37-30.
Knox, Jacobs and junior Regale Moore were named to the All Tournament Team.
With the win, Bartlett will get to play at home in the Sectional Finals game on Monday, March 7, against Rossview High (16-12) out of Clarksville, Tenn. Tip off in McDonald Insurance Arena at Bartlett High is at 7 p.m.
The winner advances to the State Tournament.