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Rebels give Chiefs the slip in back-and-forth finale

Tanner Cook • Dec 21, 2019 at 10:41 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The finale of the inaugural Big H BBQ Christmas Bash certainly lived up to the pregame hype.

The South Greene boys basketball team beat host Cherokee 59-57 in a back-and-forth affair Saturday evening inside the Teepee. The Rebels (13-4) went 3-0 in the tournament and were declared the champions.

The outcome ultimately came down to free throws.

South Greene went to the line 18 times in the fourth quarter and made eight of its attempts. Cherokee stepped to the line seven times in the fourth and hit five. The Chiefs also failed on a box-out after two missed Rebels free throws and South Greene got the putback.

“We were out of position all night and we fouled them. I was more disappointed in that than I was in anything else,” Cherokee coach Trey Fields said. “We had to run a lot of gimmick defenses to stop them. Kids on their team know their roles and they run their offense really well. We did everything that I wanted them to do down the stretch, but we didn’t box out on the free throw twice and that hurt us.”

South Greene’s Levi Myers, who scored 14 points in the event’s de-facto championship game, was the tournament MVP.

The Chiefs (6-8) started a bit slow for the first time in the tournament and fell behind by five points in the opening quarter.

Senior wing player Jonas Leeper got Cherokee back in the game with back-to-back 3-pointers and tied the game at 19 with 3:18 left in the first half.

Cherokee grabbed the lead at the end of the half, going up 24-23 on a Breiydon Gilliam layup with less than 10 seconds left.

South Greene opened the third with an 8-0 run to go up 31-24, but Cherokee responded behind the big play of Leeper.

A high-flying third quarter saw Cherokee implement a bothersome 2-2-1 full-court press that caused five straight Rebels turnovers, and the Chiefs — bolstered by the play of point guard Jason Sattler and Leeper — went into the fourth quarter with a three-point advantage, 41-38.

Unfortunately for Cherokee, Leeper and Gilliam fouled out with more than three minutes left to play.

Sully Fox led South Greene with 15 points and Chase Carter contributed 11. Sattler and Gilliam each had 12 to lead the Chiefs.

“This tournament was an opportunity for us to get some good competition both out of state and getting to play South Greene. Jeremy Parrott used to always say that he wanted to play South Greene because we get a great look at a zone defense,” Fields said. “Big H was a huge sponsor and I want to thank them. They took care of everybody and they made this a great event in the first year. This is something that we can continue to grow and build to a good tournament.”

Corbin 77, Hancock County 38

The Indians — still down their best scorer in Hunter Hatfield — gave Corbin all it could handle early, but the Redhounds grabbed the lead with just over six minutes left in the second quarter and never trailed again.

Cole Hicks netted 16 points to lead the Kentucky team’s balanced scoring effort. Matthew Taylor added 14, Josh Hibbitts 12 and Gavin Allen 11.

Hancock County’s offense fizzled late in the second quarter and never bounced back. Tyler Harrison led the Indians with eight points.

Glenwood 67, West Greene 54

Alabama’s Gators were down 9-1 early to West Greene but used their size advantage to go ahead 17-15 going into the second quarter. Ethan Craw, a native of Tasmania, gave Glenwood the lead on his and-one basket with two seconds left in the period.

Glenwood seized its biggest lead of the game at 45-24 with 4:47 left in the third and never looked back in claiming its first win of the Christmas Bash.

Bryce Rosier and Kody Bence each had 14 points to lead the Gators. Craw finished with 13 and Justin Jackson 12.

Ethan Turner had 13 points to lead the Buffaloes and Kaeden Williams contributed 10.

GIRLS

Cherokee 32, Betsy Layne 30

The host Lady Chiefs (6-9) finished off their tournament the right way and ended the weekend 4-0 — tied with Hawkins County rival Volunteer (3-0) for the best record, percentage-wise.

Kodi Henson hit a 7-foot jump shot with 16.1 seconds remaining in the game to put the Lady Chiefs up by a bucket. Kentucky’s Betsy Layne missed the potential game-tying shot as time was winding down, and the ball went out of bounds as the horn sounded.

Cherokee scored the first nine points of the game and held the Lady Bobcats (2-8) scoreless for the first 9:03. Katie Kidd finally got Betsy Layne on the board with two made free throws at the 6:57 mark of the second quarter.

Cherokee’s defense dominated and Betsy Layne hurt itself as well by shooting 7-for-24 from the charity stripe.

Still, the Lady Bobcats got back in the game late by outscoring the Lady Chiefs 14-1, and they pulled to within 26-25 with 2:07 left.

When Kenadie Boyette’s 3-pointer from the left wing forged a 30-30 tie with 59.3 seconds remaining in the game, the Betsy Layne bench exploded.

But the Lady Chiefs — unlike their opponents — made their free throws down the stretch, going 5-for-7 to hold the Lady Bobcats at bay.

Winning four games in three days will go a long way in the development of a young group that lost six seniors off last year’s team, including the school’s second all-time leading scorer.

“Confidence is huge in anything and this is a good confidence boost for us going into the break,” Lady Chiefs coach Jason Lawson said. “We’ve not really played all that well, but we’ve managed to do what we needed to do when we needed to do it. This is a little bit of them growing up and I can’t say enough about how resilient they are. Not much seems to rattle this group. I still don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

Destiny Jarnigan led Cherokee with a game-high 10 points. Freshman Macy McDavid totaled nine and went 7-for-8 on free throws.

Maddie Meade and Kidd each had eight to lead Betsy Layne.

Volunteer 78, Red Bird Christian 51

The Lady Cardinals, building off a win earlier in the day, came out aggressive early and forced a string of bad shots by Volunteer to take a 17-12 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Falcons took over in the second quarter when the Kentucky team seemed to tire. Volunteer made a good run — highlighted primarily by the inside game of Aliyah Crawley and Raenah Barton and complemented by the outside shooting of Kenady Knittel — to take a 38-29 lead into the locker room.

The Lady Falcons (8-8) built a sizable gap in the third quarter behind a halfcourt trapping attack.

Atlee Dean led Volunteer with 12 points. Tinsley Whalen, who had to leave the game during the first half after suffering a shoulder stinger, added eight.

Alyssa Gibson had a game- and tournament- high 28 points for Red Bird Christian. She was the tournament’s scoring leader after averaging 22.7 points over three games.

Volunteer and Cherokee were declared co-champions of the inaugural event. Knittel was named tournament MVP.

Red Bird Christian 53, Hancock County 42

Red Bird Christian led 24-19 at halftime, but Hancock County made a run and tied the game at 31 at the end of the third.

The Lady Cardinals then went on a 12-3 tear to start the final quarter and earned their first win at the Christmas Bash.

Gibson’s 16 points were tops for Red Bird, and Lexie Bowling threw in 15.

Cassi Dalton had 14 points for Hancock County, making four 3-pointers. Jacklyn Carroll netted 10 points.

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