By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Four Cherokee players were in double digits as the Braves (4-1) won their Smoky Mountain Conference opener over Andrews (0-2) 89-60 at home on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Steven Straughan, senior forward, led the way for Cherokee with 17 points followed by Kennan Panther 14, Justus Day 14 and Jason McMillan 13.
“I thought they did fairly well considering that they were tired from the game last night (A.C. Reynolds on Monday),” said Willis Tullos, Braves head coach. “We didn’t play as crisp as we did last night, but we played well enough to win. They gutted it out. They were tired.”
“We’ve got a lot of depth, and we’ve got a lot of people that can shoot the ball. If one or two is off, then we’ve got others than can step up and shoot, and they did that tonight. I was pleased with their effort overall.”
On the night, the Braves shot 54 percent from the floor, 31 percent from three-point land and 50 percent from the free throw line. Cherokee’s defense swarmed the Wildcats the entire game and came away with a total of 18 steals on the night. McMillan led the way with 4 steals followed by Day 2, Tye Mintz 3, Jeffrey Girty 3, Holden Straughan 1, Cory Junaluska 2 and Logan Teesateskie 3. Panther led the Braves with 11 rebounds followed by Teesateskie 6 and Day 3.
The first period was relatively even. The Braves got on the board first with two free throws by Holden Straughan in the first minute, and by the 5:38 mark they led 7-5. Steven Straughan hit two big three-point shots in the first period, but Andrews answered with two three-pointers to tie the score at 16-16 after the first.
Andrews came out running at the beginning of the second period and took the lead (18-16) just 12 seconds in. The Wildcats extended that lead to 23-19 in the following minute.
McMillan made two baskets in a row including a three-pointer to put the Braves back on top (24-23) at the 6:22 mark, and Cherokee would not relinquish their lead again.
From that point, the Braves went on a 13-2 run leading 37-25 with three minutes left before the half. Steven Straughan hit two three-point shots to end the half, and the Braves led 51-30 going into the locker room.
Cherokee outscored Andrews 20-14 in the third period to lead 71-44 going into the fourth period. The Braves were able to get a lot of bench play in the final two periods and ended up taking the 29-point win (89-60).
Other Braves scorers included: Brock Powell 2, Tye Mintz 8, Jeffrey Girty 8, Holden Straughan 4, Cory Junaluska 3, Logan Teesateskie 3 and Menoch Grant 3.
Kylan Thompson led Andrews with 18 points followed by Taylor Parker 11 and Grayson Parker 9.
To view or purchase photos from this game, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/SPORTS/BASKETBALL/BRAVES-BASKETBALL-201516/Vs-Andrews-December-8/