The first semifinal game of the eighth grade tournament featured the A. B. Combs Bearcats and the Viper Hornets. Both teams struggled for control of the tempo, but A. B. Combs managed to stay one step ahead throughout the first three quarters. The Bearcats finally broke the game open in the fourth quarter, and went on to the 55-43 win.
The Bearcats opened the game firing on all cylinders, and looked to be on their way to a rout of the Hornets, holding their opponents to a single field goal midway through the first quarter. Viper soon recovered from the initial shock and began to close the gap. By the end of the period, the Hornets had drawn to within three at 12-9.
The confidence of the first quarter carried over as the Hornets began to match the
Bearcats basket for basket in the second quarter. Try as they might, A. B. Combs could not shake Viper. Going into the break, the Bearcats held a slim four point lead at 24-20.
The momentum shifted completely in the third period, and it was Viper that took control of the game. In the first couple of minutes of the second half, the Hornets erased their deficit and took control of the game. However, their success was short lived as A. B. Combs began to awaken from their third quarter nap. By the end of the third period, A. B. Combs had reestablished control of the game, and went into the final six minutes leading 36-32.
A. B. Combs pulled out all the stops in the final period, picking up the pace of the game to a fevered pitch. The strategy worked, as the Bearcats began to put some distance between themselves and the Hornets for the first time in the game.
Midway through the final period, the Bearcats had pushed the lead to double-digits, and were showing no signs of letting up. By the time the Hornets were able to recover, time was running out. Viper offered one more attempt to get back into the game, but A. B. Combs managed to withstand the attack.
Time ran out on the Hornets' last rally, leaving the Bearcats with the 55-48 win, and the first spot in the championship game. T. J. Searcy led the Bearcats in scoring with 16 points, while Randy Lewis led the Hornets, and all scorers, with 24 points on the night.
A.B. Combs (55) T. J. Searcy 16, Brandon Napier 12, Kyle Hill 9, Demetri Travis 7, Eric Back 5, Jamie Noble 4, and David Napier 2.
Viper (48) Randy Lewis 24, Jason Standafer 8, Jacob Watts 7, Gatlin Goodson 2 and Jordan Epperson 2.