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Whitehaven maneuvers into state title game with win over Northeast Eagles

Despite all the obstacles and injuries, the Whitehaven Tigers have endured this season and now they will be playing for a Tennessee AAA State Championship after taking down the Northeast Eagles from Clarksville 47-41.

The win sets up an all-Memphis AAA State Basketball Championship for the second year in a row, with the Tigers set to face the East Mustangs. Last year the Mustangs defeated the Southwind Jaguars for the state title.

On the city having two teams playing for the championship Phillips said,

Faragi Phillips has Whitehaven focused on doing what he says the team is built to do. (Photo: Terry Davis)

“It is great,” head coach Faragi Phillips said of the all-Bluff City final. “It is a testament to our city and our district to have two teams plays for the championship. We wish the best for them, but we are prepared for our opponents.”

Whitehaven got off to a slow start against the Northeast Eagles, trailing at the end of the first period 12-7. The Tigers turned up the defensive pressure and scored off some turnovers and led 24-21 at halftime aided by a three-point basket by Jesse Payne.

The defense took a bigger bite out of the Eagles’ offense after the break. With 38 seconds left in the third quarter, the Eagles had only scored five points as the Tigers stretched the lead to 33-26.

Whitehaven pushed its advantage to 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles had no quit in them. They cut the lead to three points (41-38) with 3:15 left in the game. The Tigers protected the basketball and continued to make their free throws to hold off the Eagles.

“It is one of those situations where no one wants to go home,” Phillips said. “I want to give Northeast a lot of credit. They are a difficult bunch, they are well coached and they played hard. We are built for this. We played Huntington Prep and got a win. We played Olive Branch and got a win. We have played East four times. All of that has prepared us for this moment.”

Phillips said the Tigers knew the Eagles “would be prepared for our pressure defense, so we did not want to show our hands too early. We knew in spots we made a couple of runs. We had some success. We didn’t give up too much of what we do too early.”

The Tigers were led by Cameron Jones (11 points), Kavion McClain (10 points.

The Tigers (23-6) lost each of the four previous games with East this season. The game will be played at 1 p.m. and can be seen live on the CW30.


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