Overton’s hopes for its first state tournament berth since 1995 went up in smoke as Clarksville rallied and defeated the Bobcats 62-58 Monday in the Class AAA sectionals.
Monte Burney scored three points, including a key put-back basket, in the closing seconds as the Wildcats nailed down their first state trip since 2007 before an estimated 1,500 fans who packed the Bobcats’ gym.
“I saw that the shot was coming short off the board, and I was in the right place,” Burney, a senior forward who led all scorers with 26 points, said. “A lot of people doubted us, but we’re going back to state.”
Overton led for most of three quarters, but Clarksville came back and took the lead on a 3-pointer by Robin Webb. From that point on, the score was tied six times, with five lead changes.
Clarksville went ahead for good on a 3 by Daijon Williams, which started a 10-4 run and resulted in a 57-52 lead.
From there, the Wildcats held off a late Overton surge. Williams scored 17 for Clarksville (25-8).
Frank Lobasco’s rebound basket with 36 seconds left pulled Overton to within one, 59-58, but Clarksville answered. A 3-point attempt by Clarksville’s Drake Young from the corner was rebounded by Burney for a score.
Clarksville then knocked the ball loose at mid-court and, after a mad scramble, Burney grabbed it and was fouled. He hit one of two free throws to ice it with 8.5 seconds left.
Overton star senior guard Mookie Betts again led the Bobcats with 16 points. Lobasco, who was plagued by foul trouble, added 13 points and nine rebounds.
“We just didn’t play the way we usually do,” Betts said in the somber Overton dressing room after the game. “They [Clarksville] are a good bunch of guys and I wish them well. They hit some big shots on us and they played good defense.”
Overton jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and was up 14-7 after the first quarter. Clarksville gradually caught up.
“I had some bad memories here, the last time I was in this gym [in 1995], we lost to Overton and a kid named Brandon Wharton [who later played at Tennessee],” Clarksville coach Ted Young, a former Clarksville and Vanderbilt standout, said. “Our plan was to try and stop Betts from scoring and limit his passing to teammates for scoring and to try to get the ball off the rim. For the most part, I think we did.”
Overton (25-8) had an 11-game winning streak snapped, which included the district and region championships. The Bobcats hadn’t lost since Jan. 22.
“We just didn’t rebound well,” coach James McKee said. “The second half, we stopped making shots. We had a great season, but it came to an end too soon.”
• East Lit stuns Marshall: East Literature stunned Marshall County and Mr. Basketball finalist Kedren Johnson 68-67 in AA Sectionals Monday night in Lewisburg.
The win vaulted the Eagles into their first state trip since 2007.
With Overton’s loss, East Lit is the only team from Nashville to earn a ticket to next week’s boys state tournament.