It's hard to believe that schools in the RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings could meet each other in loser-go-home games before the state tournament. But that's what happened Tuesday night in Memphis, where the talent level is so high only so many top teams can advance.
No. 43 White Station defeated No. 21 Ridgeway, 71-70, in a Region 8-AAA semifinal that featured two teams that have nine state final appearances in the past ten years.
The other half of the draw saw No. 36 Melrose handle No. 98 Southwind, 98-84.
White Station and Melrose will meet for the region title on Friday - with both teams advancing on.
White Station and Ridgeway, meeting for the fourth time this season, put on a thriller as White House rallied from a four-point deficit in the final minute.
Senior guard and Memphis commit Joe Jackson had a key basket and two key free throws and White Station forced two key turnovers in the closing seconds, according to the report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Jackson finished with 29 points, 12 in the final quarter.
Tarik Black of Ridgeway, another Memphis commit, was saddled with foul trouble in the first half and finished with 11 points. His teammate, Marterrace Brock, had 21.
White Station dropped two games to Ridgeway during the regular season - by 18 and 27 - before topping Ridgeway in the city title game.
"I give them a lot of respect because they came out and spanked us in the regular season," he told the Commercial Appeal. "Playing against a team like this, they can end your whole high school career, and it's tough to come out here and get that win," he said.
Next up for White Station is Melrose, which handled Southwind behind 35 from Tennessee commit Chris Jones.
Southwind took an early 16-6 lead, but Melrose quickly came back and took a five-point lead at the end of the quarter thanks to a 60-foot 3-pointer by Jones - according to a report in the Commercial Appeal. Melrose then used a 14-0 run to start the second quarter on the way to a 57-40 halftime lead.
Melrose (31-4) has a 2-1 edge over White Station (24-7) so far this season.