Deandre Slaughter scored 20 points and Shawntrez Davis and Emmanuel Rainey both added 17 as Tri-Cities raced past Luella 67-51 at home in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs Wednesday.
Davis also grabbed 12 rebounds and made two steals for the Bulldogs, who will face Hillgrove at home in the second round.
Tri-Cities quickly seized control of the game behind Slaughter’s nine points in the first quarter. The shifty point guard ignited a 14-0 run with a three-point play. He continued the surge with two more easy baskets off steals.
“We wanted to come out aggressively and set a tone early in the game,” Tri-Cities coach Omari Forts said. “The focus was to attack the basket right away and they did that.”
After Rainey nailed a 3-pointer, Chris Cheever capped the spurt with a basket for a 24-7 lead.
“We came out, played hard as a team and we stayed together,” Slaughter said.
Luella crawled within seven points (30-23) at the half but wouldn’t get any closer due to the efforts of Davis in the paint.
In the third quarter, the 6-foot-7 Davis notched seven points to help the Bulldogs rebuild their double-digit lead for good. Slaughter would also highlight the quarter with a tip-in at the buzzer for a 47-34 advantage.
“Shawntrez has consistently been a force on our team, rebounding the basketball, running the floor and blocking shots,” Forts said. “Without him, we'd have a tough time being where we are right now so he's critical to the process of being in the playoffs and advancing to the second round.”
During the final eight minutes, Tri-Cities comfortably remained in front of Luella and produced a couple of highlights. First, Rainey caught up to an inbounds pass and zipped a pass to Davis for an alley-oop finish. Then Torei Jones got in the scoring department with a one-handed breakaway dunk.
TeMarcus Blanton led Luella with 17 points and Nyrryk Evans added 12.