Eagles edged by Hawks at tourney

Rhea County’s Kaleb Martin (12) shoots a baseline jumper over a Bradley Central defender during a recent game. Martin scored 23 points in Monday’s 58-54 loss against the TCPS Hawks.

(Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 edition)

The Rhea County High School Eagles’ basketball team ventured to Tellico Plains High School on Monday and faced the Tennessee Christian Preparatory School (TCPS) Hawks in a Pre-Christmas tournament game.

Heading into the contest, the Eagles were minus five players due to injuries and illness, including Rhea’s second leading scorer. Despite the limited roster, the Eagles battled, and suffered a narrow, 58-54 loss to the Hawks.

TCPS took an 18-12 first quarter lead and won the second period 15-13 to hold a 33-25 halftime advantage over the Eagles.

Kaleb Martin had a game-high 23 points to lead the Eagles, with nine of them coming in the third quarter, as the Hawks edged Rhea 18-17 and led 51-42 headed to the final period. Other Eagles contributing points in the third included Kyler Akin (2), Austin Brackett (4) and Keshawn Smith (2).

Rhea won the fourth quarter 12-7, with Martin tallying six points, Gavin Roddy adding four and Akin charting a basket. Despite the Eagles’ late rally, the Hawks held on for the 4-point, non-district win.

With the loss, Rhea’s overall record slipped to 4-7.

TCPS (58) — Carter Douglas (14); Biquan Wooden; Braxton Botts; Tylen Awawine (7); Hunter White (5); Cole Taylor (5); Chase Walker (1).

RCHS (54) — Martin (23); Smith (11); Akin (6); Brackett (6); Roddy (6); Drew Fisher (2).

The Eagles made one 3-pointer, with Martin hitting the lone trey, as the Hawks made five 3-pointers. Rhea won the battled of the boards, grabbing 31 to the Hawks’ 24. Eagle rebounders included Martin (9), Smith (9), Fisher (5), Brackett (4) and Roddy (4).

At the free throw line, the Eagles shot 68.8 percent, hitting 11-of-16. Eagle free throw shooters included Martin (2-3), Smith (3-5), Akin (2-2) and Brackett (4-6).

Up next, the Eagles are scheduled to play in the annual Post-Christmas tournament hosted by Harriman High School on Tuesday, Dec. 28 and Wednesday, Dec. 29.

The Eagles will play at 1 p.m. on the 28th at Harriman Middle School and will play at 4 p.m. on the 29th at Harriman High School.