Blue Devils could not match Hughes second half surge and fall 77-62

Jellico scores just before the third quarter comes to a close.

By Clayton Carroll

MURFREESBORO, TN (WLAF) – Frank Hughes outscored Jellico 46-25 in second half to end the Blue Devils’ state tourney run.

For the first time in school history, the Blue Devils entered the Murphy Center on the campus of MTSU to play basketball in the state tournament. 

In the quarterfinals of the BlueCross Basketball Championships, Jellico looked to the Lions of Frank Hughes; a team that was in its first state tournament since 1984.

Two of the best basketball teams in the state played Wednesday night at MTSU; Jellico and Hughes.

It was back-in-forth for the first four minutes of the game, before Carson Bolton lit a fire. Bolton was responsible for eight Blue Devil points in a row. After one quarter, it was Jellico leading Frank Hughes 27-18.

The Lions outscored the Blue Devils in the second quarter 13-10. At the halftime break, Jellico held a 37-31 lead over Frank Hughes High.

WLAF’s Josh Parker (left) and Clayton Carroll broadcast last night’s game.

Hughes blitzed out of the gate to start the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Devils 12-2 in the first four minutes of third. The Lions continued to pounce on the Blue Devils, outpacing them 24-9, and leading Jellico 55-46 at the end of the third frame. 

A 12-0 run in the final quarter sealed the game for Hughes (25 & 9). Although the Blue Devils battled, they fell short to the Lions by a score of 77-62.

The leading scorer for Jellico (20 & 12) was Carson Bolton who had 22 points on the night. Isaac McNealy finished with 18 points. John Zecchini totaled 12 points, and Trey Vann scored six points, and Carter Terry rounded out the scoring column with four points. 

March 2024 marks 70 years since WLAF broadcast its first state tournament games. In 1954, the La Follette Owls went 3 & 1 at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym losing the championship game to Nashville West 42-40. LHS Football Coach Al Rotella called play-by-play with Smith “Smitty” Rhea on color. Smitty was tuned-in last night from his Florida home.

This marks the end of the Blue Devils’ historic run. The accomplishments are numerous for this team; from its third consecutive District 3 tournament title, to being the Region 2 runner up, to the exciting victory at University High in the substate game to punching its first ever ticket to the Boro. It was without a doubt an incredible season for the Jellico Blue Devils. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/14/2024-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CLAYTON CARROLL AND JOSH PARKER)