Follow Us On:

Cold spell dooms No. 4 Champs in 9-AA tourney

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 11:37 pm

Post Photo by Chris Siers Tyler Rodgers (25) beats the Cannon County defense off the block and scores.

BELL BUCKLE — It was a perfect scheme that was mostly executed according to plan through a well-played first half in the District 9-AA semifinals between No. 4 seed Cascade (11-16) and No. 1 Cannon County.
While it was a competitive first half Cascade felt good about, things flipped in the Lions’ favor in the second half as the tournament’s top seed advanced to the District 9-AA finals with a 68-44 win over the Champions.
From the opening tip-off, Cannon County (20-7) wanted to execute a full-court press and turn the game into an up-tempo track meet.
Cascade foiled the Lions’ plan through the first half by slowing the pace to a grinding halt, setting up quality looks at the basket with a deliberately sluggish pace in the half-court.
The Champs were also also able to break the Lions’ press for a handful of baskets in transition.
Timely and quality looks at the basket opened shots for senior Zach Crosslin, who typically spends his time in the paint, found open shots from the perimeter.
He opened the first and second quarters with 3-pointers from the top of the key.
In fact, Cascade did a stellar job limiting the Lions’ shots in the first quarter, but the biggest difference came in Cannon County’s ability to get to the line.
The Lions went a perfect 6-of-6 in the first frame and went into the half having made 9-of-13 attempts.
Those nine free throws represented the nine-point halftime lead by Cannon County.
Logan Pulley hit a basket with 6:30 left in the half to tie the game at 18 apiece.
But following a put-back basket by Crosslin with 3:54 left in the half, Cannon County created some separation on the scoreboard and closed the second quarter on a 9-0 run.
As competitive and well-played the first half was for Cascade, a near-four minute scoring drought to open the third was more than Cascade could overcome.
Cannon County scored 9-0 run and maintained a double-digit lead through the remainder of the game to reach the District 9-AA championship game.
Crosslin had the hot hand for the Champs and led Cascade with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, while Cannon County placed three in double figures.
Lukas Phillips and Demaurion Locke each scored 18 to lead the Lions.
Cannon County also made the most of its time at the free throw line, cashing in on 20-of-28 attempts.
The loss sets up a rematch of the hardcourt Battle of Bedford between Cascade and No. 3 seed Community on Friday night in the District 9-AA consolation game.
During the two regular season meetings, the two teams split, with Community claiming a 72-52 win and the Champs taking a 60-48 victory.
Tip-off in the 9-AA consolation game is set for 6 p.m. on Friday at Cascade.

Cascade 13 10 8 13 — 44
Cannon Co. 18 14 17 19 — 68

Cascade: Zach Crosslin 17, Caden Hammonds 8, Saebyn Burris 6, Tyler Rodgers 5, Tucker McGee 2, Isaac McElroy 2, Brady Lewis 2, Henry Stone 2.
Cannon Co.: Lukas Phillips 18, Demaurion Locke 18, Eli Pelham 10, Antonio Jones 8, Carson Farrar 6, Theo Winters 4, Spencer Chatwood 2, AJ Amrstrongs 2.
3-Point goals: Cascade (6): Crosslin 4, Hammonds 2; Cannon Co. (2): Farrar, Phillips.
Halftime score: Cannon Co. 32, Cascade 23.