A poised and confident crew of McKenzie High School Rebels outscored and generally outperformed the University School of Johnson City Buccaneers 68-49 in the first round of the state tournament Thursday afternoon at MTSU’s Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.

The Rebels advance to play Humboldt tonight (Friday, March 15) in the state semifinals, starting at 6 p.m.

If McKenzie defeats Humboldt, they will face the winner of this afternoon’s contest between Columbia Academy and Eagleville during Saturday’s state championship game at 6:00 p.m.

Against USJC, the Rebels took the lead early and never relinquished it, leading 18-10 at the end of the first quarter, 31-21 at the half, and 51-36 at the end of the third period.

Five McKenzie players scored in the double digits with Ben Austin leading with 17 points, followed by Nathan Whitsell with 14, Lazarick Hill with 13, Lucas King with 12, and Micah Austin with 10. Austin also led the Rebels with 18 rebounds.

Kaleb Meredith was USJC’s and the game’s top scorer with 36 points.

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