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Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 1:53 p.m.

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4A-7 BOYS: Finley's FTs carry Nashville

By MIKE SMITH SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published February 14, 2018 at 2:15 a.m.

Nashville senior guard Jhalon Finley calmly went to the free-throw line eight times in the final quarter, making seven of them to help the Scrappers beat Malvern 64-60 in the 4A-7 District Tournament at Joe. T. Robinson on Tuesday night.

The biggest lead by either team was a 9-4 edge by Malvern with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Nashville's biggest lead was the four-point margin at the end.

With the victory, Nashville (19-6) advances to a second-round game against regular-season champion Ashdown (16-5) on Thursday.

"We did hold on, but we still did some things that could get you beat," Nashville Coach Damon Williams said. "And you don't foul a three-point shooter. We did that three times tonight, and I think he made all nine of those. We had him rushing the shot and bailed him out, in my opinion."

Malvern's Dakovon Blackmon actually hit eight of nine free throws after the fouls.

The Leopards (19-6), thanks to two free throws from Logan Schneider, built a 9-4 lead in the first quarter. The Scrappers clawed back for a 12-10 lead only to have Malvern's Dallas Lewis hit two free throws for a 12-12 tie.

Blackmon gave Malvern a 15-12 lead when he nailed a three-pointer 30 seconds into the second quarter. Three consecutive field goals gave Nashville a three-point edge, but Blackmon hit three from the line after being fouled on a three-pointer.

The teams battled back and forth, and Nashville tied the game 26-26 late in the second quarter.

Neither team could get much of an edge in the third quarter, but the Scrappers nabbed a 44-43 lead at the end of the quarter.

Fouls began to plague Malvern in the final quarter, but Nashville missed four of its first five free throws until calling a timeout with 4:59 remaining.

After that, Nashville connected on eight consecutive free throws before Finley finally missed with 5.5 seconds left. By that time, the Scrappers had a four-point lead.

Williams still wasn't totally happy.

"We've got to finish our shots," he said. "If we would just finish our shots and make our free throws all through the game, I think we'll be OK."

Jamarta Gilliam led Nashville with 14 points while Finley added 10. Blackmon had a game-high 28 points for Malvern, and Schneider had 15.

Sports on 02/14/2018

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