By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
MURPHY – The Cherokee Braves (16-3) remained atop the Big Smoky Mountain Conference with a big 90-41 win at Murphy (1-15) on Friday, Jan. 29. The Bulldogs, winless (0-9) in conference play, couldn’t keep up with Cherokee’s high-powered offense which saw four Braves in double digits.
“Coming off that big, emotional win we had on Tuesday (vs. Hayesvile), I think we did pretty good,” said Willis Tullos, Braves head coach. “It’s hard to win a big game like we did on Tuesday against Hayesville and come and have the same intensity and the same focus, but I thought they (Braves) came back in the second half, got focused and played well. I was pleased with their effort.”
Justus Day, sophomore forward, led Cherokee with 26 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound and 3 steals. He was followed by Jason McMillan with 16 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 6 steals; Tye Mintz 14 points, 2 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 steals; and Holden Straughan 10 points, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal.
The Braves jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first minute of the game. Neither team shot particularly well in the opening period, and both missed shots inside and outside. The Braves led 15-9 at the 3:39 mark and went on to lead 21-13 at the end of the first.
The first two minutes of the second period were relatively even, the Braves led 25-16 at the 6:19 mark. From that point, the Braves went on a 7-0 run and led 32-16 just inside the five minute mark. They went on to take a 44-23 lead into the locker room.
Cherokee came out for the third period on fire and scored seven points in the first 43 seconds to lead 51-23. The Braves outscored Murphy 37-18 in the third. With 1:57 left in the period, Straughan was fouled while taking a three-point shot. He made all three foul shots to give Cherokee a 78-37 lead thereby invoking the NCHSAA mercy rule, and the clock ran for the remainder of the game. The Braves led by 40 points (81-41) at the end of the third.
The Braves were able to get a lot of bench play in the third and fourth periods, and they held Murphy scoreless in the fourth period as Cherokee won 90-41.
Other Braves stats include: Jeff Girty 3pts; Kennan Panther 4pts, 3 reb, 1 steal; Dez Crowe 3 pts, 2 reb; Isaiah Evans 2pts, 4 reb, 1 steal; Cory Junaluska 2 pts, 6 reb; and Logan Teesateskie 6 pts, 1 assist, 1 reb.
The Bulldogs were led by Hagan Newton with 12 points followed by Anthony Connors 7 and Hayden Hughes 6.
To view or purchase photos from this game, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/SPORTS/BASKETBALL/BRAVES-BASKETBALL-201516/At-Murphy-January-29/