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Champs reverse start in win over Vikings

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2024 at 4:21 pm

Post Photos by Rickey Clardy Charlie Haskins of the Vikings is fouled while driving to the basket in the opening quarter.

Wickey Parker of the Champs is fouled while going up for a shot.

Sports Writer
BELL BUCKLE — In their first meeting this season, the Cascade Champions fell behind the Community Vikings from the start and never led as the Vikings won the opening matchup between the two teams.
The script was reversed Friday night.
The Champions led from start to finish and held off a Viking comeback attempt in the final quarter as the Champs took a 60-48 victory in the District 9-AA contest.
“They (Community) played really well and you’ve got to give them credit in that first game,” Coach Chris Lawson of the Champions said. “Coming back here tonight, the focus was we’re going to play harder and we’re going to give more effort and we’re going to get back to Cascade basketball.”
“We talk about the first three minutes of the game is so important, and I feel like our guys tonight had a great start,” Lawson added.
Led by eight points from Isaac McElroy and six points from Saebyn Burris, Cascade (7-14, 2-3) came out hot from the outset and took a 12-2 lead just three minutes into the game.
Austin Stickler of the Vikings scored the next four points as Community (8-12, 1-2) cut the Champion lead to 17-9 heading to the second quarter.
With Stickler scoring 10 points from the paint, the Vikings rebounded from a 25-15 deficit with an 8-0 run to cut the Champion lead to 25-23 with 1:51 remaining.
It was a 3-point game before Logan Pulley of the Champs drilled a trey from the corner at the buzzer to give Cascade a 32-26 halftime lead.
Burris had four points in the third quarter as the Champions extended their lead to 41-32 with 2:15 to play, but the Vikings would not go away.
Landon Berman and Landon Lovvorn each scored five points as Community cut the lead to one before the Champs took a 43-40 lead to the final quarter.
After a Maki Fleming basket 12 seconds into the quarter put the Vikings within one at 43-42, the Champions took their time to get the good shot on their next possessions.
The strategy paid off as Tucker McGee of the Champions connected on two layups and a three-pointer to extend the Cascade lead to 50-42 with 4:37 left.
A Jaxon Williams trey got the Vikings within five at 52-47 with 2:17 to play, but it was as close as Community would get as the Champs pulled away.  With McElroy and Henry Stone each adding two free throws in the final minute, the Champions extended their advantage and ended with their biggest lead of the game.
McElroy led three Champions in double figures with 17 points.
Burris added 14 points while McGee had 10.
Stickler led the Vikings with 18 points.
The Champions were 13-of-17 at the foul line while the Vikings were 11-of-19.
“We struggled with shot selection early in the game and late,” Coach Robbie Davis of the Vikings said. “We forced some shots and made way too many unforced turnovers.”
“Our guys played hard tonight and fought to the end, but second chance points was something we have been pretty decent at denying but couldn’t tonight,” Davis added.
“It shows a little bit of growth with our guys. We seem to be getting better and trending in the right direction,” Lawson said.
“We’ve got some young guys.  We play two freshmen and two sophomores quite a bit so we’re trying to get them used to a big-time game,” Lawson added.
With district games remaining for both teams in the next couple of weeks, the outcome of those games will determine whether teams can avoid a first round game in the 5-team District 9-AA.
“We have five district games left with three at home,” Davis said. “We are in a good spot for tiebreakers depending on how everything plays out in the next couple of weeks.”
“Talking about seeding, it was a must-win for us,” Lawson said. “We split with Community and puts us in a position where we can make more of a run.”
Community hosts Harpeth in a non-district contest Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

Community     9  17  14    8 — 48
Cascade        17 15  11  17 — 60

Community: Austin Stickler 18, Landon Berman 9, Landon Lovvorn 8, Maki Fleming 6, Charlie Haskins 2, Jaxon Williams 3, Joshua Powers 2, Judd O’Neal, Moe Berman.
Cascade: Isaac McElroy 17, Saebyn Burris 14, Henry Stone 5, Tyler Rodgers 4, Zach Crosslin 2, Tucker McGee 10, Logan Pulley 5, Wickey Parker 3, Brady Lewis.
3-Point goals: Community (1): Williams; Cascade (5): McGee 2, McElroy, Stone, Pulley.
Halftime score: Cascade 32, Community 26.