By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
On paper, the game should have been closer. Cherokee had three players in double digits. Swain had three players in double digits. Cherokee shot 48 percent from the field. Swain shot 47 percent from the field. But, games aren’t played on paper and Cherokee (11-3) led by as many as 30 points in a 98-80 home win over the Maroon Devils on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
“I thought we played a really sloppy first half, but the second half I thought we played really well,” said Willis Tullos, Braves head coach.
The game was tight in the first two periods, but the Braves pulled away with a huge third period outscoring Swain 34-18. “We picked up our intensity,” Tullos said of the Braves’ play in the third. “We just had to quit stumbling and staggering around and play with some intensity and get focused, and that’s what they did. When we play with that kind of intensity, we’re pretty good, and when we don’t, we’re not.”
Cherokee was led by Jason McMillan, senior point guard, with 32 points followed by sophomore forwards Justus Day and Tye Mintz with 25 and 20 points respectively. McMillan also led the team with 6 rebounds followed by Kennan Panther 5, Day 4, Mintz 3, Holden Straughan 3 and Logan Teesateskie 3.
The first period saw three lead changes and was tight the whole eight minutes. Swain scored first followed by six unanswered by Cherokee – which represented the largest lead of the first period. Swain took the lead back 12-9 at the midway point and kept the lead until Day hit a three-point shot with 1:03 left to tie the game at 22-22. McMillan drove the lane for a two-point shot at the end of the period and Cherokee retook the lead 24-22.
The second period was more of the same, and both teams answered bucket for bucket. The game was tied at 29-29 at the 6:20 mark and 33-33 at the 4:59 mark. With just over three minutes left, McMillan hit two three-point shots in a row to give the Braves a six point lead (41-35). The Braves ended up taking a 47-44 lead into the locker room.
The third period was tight for the first few minutes, but then Cherokee began to open it up some. Three minutes in, Cherokee had extended its lead to 59-51. They kept going and had a huge 32-point period to take a 81-62 lead into the final eight minutes.
Cherokee got a lot of bench play in the fourth period and Swain actually outscored them 18-17, but the Braves held on for the 18-point victory (98-80).
Other Braves scorers included: Kennan Panther 8, Holden Straughan 7 and Logan Teesateskie 6.
Swain’s scorers included: Evan Bradley 9, Darren Blankenship 1, Nolan Arkansas 7, Zeke Bradley 15, Phinehaus Little 20, Grant Shulter 19, Clayton Catolster 3 and Angel Bowers 6.
To view or purchase photos from this game, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/SPORTS/BASKETBALL/BRAVES-BASKETBALL-201516/Vs-Swain-January-12/