MURFREESBORO -- This one came virtually out of nowhere.
Trailing by 18 at halftime and playing miserably, Brentwood High looked dead in the water and destined to be the victim of No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Blackman's 31st victory.
But the Bruins rose from the ashes and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent state tournament history. They stunned the Blaze 52-49 in a TSSAA Class AAA quarterfinal Wednesday at MTSU.
Senior guard Asa Duvall's 3-pointer from the left wing with five seconds left snapped a 49-49 tie and avenged a crushing 74-41 setback Dec. 7, Brentwood's worst loss of the year. After dodging a last-second midcourt shot, delirious Bruin players swarmed the court after the win which vaulted the Bruins into Friday's semifinals against No. 2 Southwind.
"After we came out of the timeout, I was one of the options for the last shot. and James [McPherson] gave me a good pass, I got a good look and was able to knock it down,'' Duvall, who led Brentwood with 15 points, said. "They were killing us early, but then we got the momentum and came back.''
Said Andy Schumpert, who had 14 points and six rebounds: "We came out a little tight, but we played a lot better the second half and took care of the ball better."
Making their first state tournament appearance in school history, the Bruins (30-4) took to heart a hard-hitting halftime talk by coach Dennis King.
"He really let us have it," Duvall said. "He told us we couldn't end our season playing like that.''
It apparently worked.
Brentwood outscored Blackman 41-20 the second half. The Bruins hit three of 17 shots the first half (17 percent), 15 of 22 the second half (68 percent). They were 0-of-7 on 3-pointers in the first two quarters, 7-for-13 after intermission. Schumpert scored 12 of his 14 after halftime, Duvall 10 of his 15.
"It was vintage and brutal,'' King said of his halftime speech. "We started knocking down shots. Sometimes, you throw caution to the wind. One thing which helped us is that [Blackman had] been involved in hardly any close games, and that may have helped in that they may have tensed up when the score got close.''
The Bruins gradually clawed their way back in it and finally caught up at 47-47 on Duvall's two free throws with 3:01 left.
The Blaze, who ended 30-1, made two key turnovers late, one after they got the ball back with the score tied.
Following Duvall's hoop, Brentwood still had to dodge a final bullet, a half-court shot by Mr. Basketball finalist Darius Thompson which hit the backboard and glanced off the rim at the final buzzer. Thompson led Blackman with 18 points, five assists and six rebounds.
"You've got to give [Brentwood] credit,'' Blackman coach Barry Wortman said. "They made the big plays. They deserved to win.''
• Hillsboro headed home: Hillsboro almost overcame an icy shooting first half (6-of-23, 26 percent), but fell short 40-35 in a Class AAA quarterfinal loss to Dyer County.
The Burros (26-8), making their eighth state tournament appearance, trailed 10-3 after one quarter. But they gradually caught up and were tied 26-26 after three quarters.
They appeared ready to take charge when 6-foot-8 Jamontae Davis powered in a slam dunk for a 33-31 lead early in the final quarter. From there, Hillsboro guards missed three open layups in the final three minutes and the Choctaws hit five of six free throws in the final 1:11.
"Basketball is a funny game sometimes in that we seemed to get the breaks in our sectional win [at Dickson County] and [Wednesday], we couldn't seem to get any,'' Hillsboro coach Rodney Thweatt said. "Shots we made in the sectionals bounced out on us in this game.''
Davis scored 10 points with eight rebounds to lead Hillsboro, while guard Micah Phillips had eight points and five rebounds in a disappointing ending to their senior years.
"We fought hard, we just couldn't get shots to go down,'' Phillips said. "This is the best season I could have ever asked for, these guys are like brothers to me.''
Dyer Mr. Basketball finalist Robert Hubbs was a non-factor the first half with just four points on 2-of-11 shooting, but he picked up in the second half.
Hubbs, a 2000-point scorer, gave Dyer the lead for good at 37-35 on an inside hoop with 2:08 left and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Markeston Bostic led the Choctaws (30-3) with 14 points. Dyer held a 40-35 board edge over the taller Burros.
"For most of the game, [Dyer] controlled the pace and made some late free throws,'' Thweatt said. "Sometime they go in for you, sometimes they don't. Our guys played with a lot of heart.''
BLUECROSS STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Nashville area teams
3:15 p.m.-- Christ Presbyterian Academy vs. Memphis Mitchell, AA quarterfinals.
5 p.m.-- East Nashville vs. Chattanooga Howard, AA quarterfinals.
10 a.m.-- Brentwood High vs. Southwind, AAA semifinals.