While the offense was sputtering, Cherokee County’s defense more than made up for it. The eighth-ranked Lady Warriors held Saks to just eight first-half points (all in the first quarter) en route to a 49-22 victory.
“I thought we came out flat shooting the ball,” Cherokee County coach Travis Barnes said. “We kind of played like we had been off for a week. It kind of took us a half for us to get our legs under us. I think we got tired in the first half and we just didn’t shoot the ball well, but defensively, we played well the whole game.
“We had a lot of contributions one through eight in our lineup. Everybody stepped in and played a good role. It was just a good team effort.”
Senior forward Tori Davis led the charge for Cherokee County (8-2). She posted 12 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Darbie Rosser contributed a pair of 3-pointers and came away with eight points. Chelsea Ray added seven points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists. Jessen Burk also had seven points, and Emily Perry drained a pair of 3-pointers to finish with six points.
For the game, the Lady Warriors connected on seven treys.
“I think we were 1-for-12 in the first quarter and 3-for-17 at the half, but that’s our M.O. Our percentages usually play out, and in the second half, they did,” Barnes said. “They did a good job of shooting the ball from the outside. Most teams are going to pack in against Tori, and we have to be able to shoot the ball outside. We did that tonight.”
Cherokee County led throughout the game. The Lady Warriors held a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and went on a 12-0 run in the second to take a 24-8 advantage at halftime.
Cherokee County led 30-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Taylor West and Jordan Briskey both contributed nine points for the Lady Wildcats. All of West’s points came on 3-pointers.
“One of our goals is not to have any one player have more than 15 (points),” Barnes said. “Not having anybody score in double digits for them is good. We knew Taylor was a good player for them, and she was their leading scorer the last time we played them. We did a good job with our defense limiting them to points.”
Cherokee County plays at Alexandria on Tuesday beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Saks boys 59, Cherokee County boys 36
CENTRE – Saks boys basketball coach Jonathan Miller felt his team was just going through the motions in the first half on Monday at Cherokee County.
He challenged his team at halftime to come out and play with more intensity, and the Wildcats responded.
Up only by a point at halftime, Saks went on a 31-9 run in the second half to cruise to a 59-36 victory over the Warriors (1-9).
“I thought we played better defense in the second half,” Miller said. “The first half we looked like we’d rather be anywhere else than here playing a basketball game, but the second half I thought we played with a little more passion and intensity.”
Passion and intensity are two ingredients Warrior coach Travis Barnes is looking for from his team. He said right now the Warriors “are just not playing well as a team.”
“We’ll have a good first half where we’re doing some things well, but they just come back out and don’t execute the way they should,” Barnes said. “I told them at halftime I knew it was going to be like that in the third quarter. We always come out flat it seems like in the third quarter.
“I’m looking for leadership out of these guys. I’m looking for people to step up and take these roles. We don’t play as a team. We play like a bunch of individuals.”
Saks (4-2) held a 10-9 edge at the end of the first quarter and built a seven-point cushion at 28-21 at the 1:30 mark of the second quarter off a made 3-pointer by Chase Johnson.
The Warriors battled back by scoring the next six points – all at the free-throw line – to close the gap to 28-27 at halftime.
Saks outscored the Warriors 11-4 in the third to take a 39-31 advantage, but then erupted for a 20-point fourth quarter to blow the game open.
“The second half, we just got out of our game plan,” Barnes said. “We didn’t execute. We just didn’t play good defense in the second half.”
Tre Smith led the Wildcats with 17 points. Johnson connected on four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Darian Coleman contributed nine points and D’Aundre Green came away with eight points.
Tony Pruitt led the Warriors with 11 points and nine rebounds. JoJo Diamond tallied nine points (including a 7-of-8 performance from the free-throw line), three steals and three assists. Preston Grimes finished with eight points.