Rebels punch historic ticket with substate win

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This has been a monumental year for McKenzie High School’s basketball program. 

The Lady Rebels claimed district and regional championships, then followed that up with a substate victory to advance to state. 

Not to be outdone, the McKenzie boys, after district and regional championships, hosted Richland for their substate battle.

The Rebels knocked off the visiting Raiders and also will head to Murfreesboro for the boys state tournament. The Lady Rebels defeated Wayne County for the Class A state crown Saturday (see related story).

McKenzie, 21-8, will take on 23-9 Trenton-Peabody at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center.

In their substate battle, McKenzie sprinted to a 15-5 lead in the first quarter, and except for a burst or two from Richland in the third quarter, McKenzie was never threatened. The Raiders led 5-4 early in the first, but once McKenzie spread the margin to 10, Richland never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

Trey Luna led Richland with 18 points, Jase Derryberry scored 11.

Stafford Roditis and Marquez Taylor each led McKenzie with 12. Tate Surber and Zayden McCaslin each had nine, Bryson Steele had eight. The Rebels were 18-26 from the free throw line. 

McKenzie makes its first trip back to state since 2019, when the Rebels reached the state semifinals. 

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