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Everything clicking for Champs in blowout win vs. Moore Co.

Posted on Monday, December 18, 2023 at 8:21 pm

Post Photo by Chris Siers Caden Hammonds draws contact as he goes up for two. He finished with 11 points for the Champs, including three 3-pointers.

By Chris Siers
BELL BUCKLE — Ever since taking the reins of the Cascade boys basketball program three years ago, Champion coach Chris Lawson has wanted his teams to buy into a stout defensive philosophy and the rest would hopefully fall into place.
That’s starting to become a recurring trend as Cascade limited Moore County’s offensive impact in Friday night’s non-district meeting and the Champs completed the season sweep with a 69-41 win over the Raiders.
“What we have built, from the time I got hired here, is trying to do a good job defensively and the guys have bought into that. It took us a little while getting adjusted this year. To hold them to 41 points tonight its good, and we’re starting to figure things out a little better on offense,” Lawson said.
Offense clicked fairly well for the Champs as well, with 11 players scoring, three reaching double figures and the team knocking down 12 3-pointers in the 28-point win.
“The ball went in the hole a little bit more for us tonight, but we ran our stuff pretty well, too. Now that we’ve won a few, they’re playing with a lot more confidence,” Lawson said.
It was a bit of a slow start out of the gate with Cascade falling behind, 6-0 early, but a 3-pointer by Logan Pulley from the wing with 3:05 left in the opening quarter put Cascade up 9-6.
The Champs never trailed again.
After leading 14-8 in the first quarter, Cascade got red-hot from the perimeter in the second quarter and drilled five 3-pointers in the quarter to help balloon the lead to 31-19 by halftime.
Not much changed in the second half with the Champs putting their best quarter in the third, scoring 23 more points.
The win over the Raiders had a little bit of everything, from timely perimeter shooting up and down the roster, to a lockdown defensive effort, to an excellent effort off the glass.
As the Champs continue to progress through the 2023-2024 season and grow together, the various pieces on the roster are starting to understand their role more and more with each game.
With Cascade having won four of its last five games, Tucker McGee has been a large reason for helping make the Champs tick in this stretch.
“He’s been huge. We need a spark. We need somebody to make a play for us. What he’s done is rebounded the ball, he’s done a good job communicating on defense, and he’s done a good job of taking care of the ball,” Lawson said.
Isaac McElroy led 11 Champs in scoring with 13 points, while Caden Hammonds added 11 and Zach Crosslin chipped in 10.
In total, Cascade connected on 12 3-pointers in the win.
“We’ve had good shooters, but with this group, it took a little bit for us to figure out where they could get their shots. They’re starting to learn it a little bit now. They kind of know and are shooting the ball with a little more confidence. When you have a guy who shoots the ball with confidence, he could be dangerous,” Lawson said.
Cascade begins a busy week of basketball on Tuesday night at Jefferson County before taking part in the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic, leading up to the Christmas Holiday.

Moore Co. 8 11 11 11 — 41
Cascade 14 17 23 15 — 69

Moore Co.: Alex Copeland 21, Dawson White 5, Wes Clifton 4, Colton Morey 3, Brantley Hill 2, Matthew White 2, Hegwood, Liles.
Cascade: Isaac McElroy 13, Caden Hammonds 11, Zach Crosslin 10, Saebyn Burris 7, Tucker McGee 7, Henry Stone 6, Logan Pulley 5, Tristin Billings 3, Tyler Rodgers 3, Wickey Parker 2, Brady Lewis 2.
3-Point goals: Cascade (12): Hammonds 3, McElroy 3, Stone 2, Crosslin; Moore Co. (4): Copeland 2, Morey, White.
Halftime score: Cascade 31, Moore Co. 19.