Author: Wade Littleton / Sports Editor Source: The Rogersville Review
CHURCH HILL - Cherokee made it ten consecutive victories and counting over Volunteer, but the Falcons made Cherokee earn this one.The Chiefs, who were still in the clouds by the beginning of Saturday night's game in the Falcons' Nest before a packed house, were ripe to be picked for much of the game. Cherokee (12-8, 5-1 in IMAC play) proved to be the better team, executing in the last four minutes to defeat the host Falcons 59-50.The Chiefs converted 31-of 35 free throws in the contest, including 12 of the last 14 points of the game, to take the sweep of the Hawkins County Hardwood Classic. By contrast, Volunteer missed five free throws in the last three minutes and was seven of 12 free tosses in the game.The senior Chiefs have never lost to the Falcons in their careers."I'm proud of our guys for rounding out that 10th win. That is quite a job they've done over the last few games," Cherokee coach Jeremy Parrott said."It was a hostile environment. There was a lot of chippiness in this game, but you've got to expect that when two teams are in a rivalry. I've noticed that Volunteer's been playing a lot tougher and really well lately. We knew we had our hands full. We were fortunate to score a few more points than they did.""My biggest concern was a possible win hangover from Friday night('s win over Sevier County). I worry about complaciency, tired legs and things. To see it work out for us is certainly encouraging.Volunteer grabbed an early 15-13 lead in the first quarter, but the Chiefs had rallied to take a 41-35 lead after three on consecutive three-pointers by Jacob Watson and Tanner Trent. In the fourth, the Falcons narrowed the gap on a three-point play by Marques Williams and a basket by Brad Halderman.Forrest Looney's layup for two of his game-high 18 points put the margin to three, 43-40, but a three-pointer by Lucas Lovelace tied the contest at 43. Looney responded with a three-point play to put the Chiefs ahead to stay, 46-43 with 3:58 left.Four Ty Ryans free throws increased Cherokee's lead to seven. Ryans finished with 11 points. Later, Tanner Trent hit a layup to put the margin back to seven 52-45 after a Halderman free toss with 2:33 left.Tyler Ringley added seven for the Chiefs.Volunteer could get no closer the rest of the game."In tight ballgames, (hit free throws) will deliver you. Fortunately for us, we were able to make those," Parrott said.Cherokee becomes road warriors for the next two games, beginning with Tuesday's game at 6-9 (1-5 in IMAC play) Morristown West and Friday's matchup at Jefferson County's Patriot Palace against IMAC-Conference co-leading Jeff."It's going to be a tough week. Just like Volunteer, West has been playing well lately. They're challenging people, taking them to the wire and winning games. We'll certainly have our hands full on the road there. It's certainly going to be an important week for us." Unlike the last game in Rogersville, Volunteer Head Coach Chris Brown is seeing progression from his team."At 43-all Lovelace hit the three and I was hoping we'd see some momentum," Brown said, "Cherokee turned around and got a three-point play. After that they kinda shifted and Cherokee made more plays down the stretch. You've got to give them credit for hitting 31 of 35 free throws. When you hit that many, they're going to be tough to beat. "The last three or four minutes, Cherokee executed better than we did. They hit their free throws and I think that was the difference. We're getting better. Ultimately, you don't want moral victories, but you want to see some progress. The next step is winning games. The kids are working and I think we're starting to get some confidence. That makes it a little bit easier when you step onto the floor." The Falcons hosted Sullivan South Tuesday before also taking to the road Friday against Tennessee High in Bristol.
Subscribe to The Rogersville Review by clicking SUBSCRIBE.
Sign up for Breaking News emails from The Rogersville Review by clicking EMAIL ALERTS and inputting
your email address next to "Add Me" near the top right corner.