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Cherokee boys, Volunteer girls take rivalry wins

Tanner Cook • Jan 17, 2020 at 11:27 PM

CHURCH HILL — The Cherokee boys basketball team took charge of Friday night’s Big 7 Conference rivalry game against Volunteer early in the third quarter and won going away, 60-39.

The Chiefs used a 22-2 run over the last 7:21 of the third period to blow the game wide open and cruise to the finish line.

“The other night, Dobyns-Bennett outscored us 19-2 in the third quarter,” Cherokee coach Trey Fields noted. “I gave them a little reminder there at halftime to remind them that we have to come out and play hard.

“We gave (the Falcons) no second-chance opportunities and I felt like our kids responded pretty well to that. Most of our losses have come at the start of the game and most games are won in the third quarter.”

Carter Metz, in his third game back, scored in double digits again, leading Cherokee with 12 points. Micah Jones had 11 for the Chiefs.

“He’s a huge help to our team and he’s the hardest worker I’ve ever been around,” Fields said of Metz. “He was in the gym this morning before school and he stayed around after we let out today and was shooting. He loves it and he’ll continue to get better as long as he keeps his work ethic high.”

The game was close early and Cherokee, harassed by a pesky Volunteer defense, led just 28-25 at halftime.

The Falcons tied the game at 28 on Andrew Knittel’s 3-pointer in the third, but it was all Cherokee from there.

Knittel led all scorers with 13 points off the bench.

EVANS FOR THE WIN

With 2.7 seconds remaining in the game, Audrey Evans sank what proved to be the game-winning shot in the Lady Falcons’ 34-33 comeback win.

“We couldn’t hit a shot to start off and normally that’s not us,” Volunteer coach Tyrone Smith said. “We started off really cold and Cherokee played really well. Hats off to them because they were hot to start. We kept working and we didn’t quit.”

Cherokee scored the game’s first 13 points before freshman Kendra Huff lit up Volunteer’s part of the scoreboard for the first time on a free throw with 4:55 left in the second quarter. Huff also made the Lady Falcons’ first field goal with 2:52 left in the period.

Huff led all scorers with 15 points, including hitting three monstrous 3-pointers in the fourth that kept the Lady Falcons in it.

“(Kendra) played well tonight and she grew up a lot,” Smith said. “I can’t even call her a freshman anymore. She’s already graduated up to a sophomore because she’s made some big shots for us this year.”

Lydia Alvis had 12 points to lead the Lady Chiefs.

With a second remaining, Cherokee had a chance on the inbound play on its side of the floor after a timeout but threw away the ball after it was touched.

“That’s a game we needed for tournament time,” Smith said. “Those grind-it-out type of games are the ones that tournament games are going to be like. When it’s Cherokee and Volunteer, you can throw out the records. It’s a rivalry game, just like Duke and North Carolina.”