By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee Lady Braves (19-4) defeated the Highlands Lady Highlanders 80-48 in the last regular season game of the year on Monday, Feb. 11 at the Charles George Memorial Arena. Cherokee finished the regular season in second place in the Big Smoky Mountain Conference.
Monday was Senior Night with four Lady Braves honored including Jamie Lossiah, Tori Teesateskie, Jacee Smith, and Moira George. Smith was honored by doing the jump ball to start the game, and she ended up scoring the first basket of the contest which was her 70th career point. The game was stopped, and she was given that ball as a commemoration of her milestone.
“It was a celebration of how much time and effort these girls have put in, and it’s nice to be able to recognize them,” Chris Mintz, Lady Braves head coach, said of the Senior Night festivities. “We had fun with it, and it was fun to have Jacee out there and Highlands was really gracious and let us do what we needed to do. It’s always fun.”
Cherokee led the entire game starting out with an 18-11 lead after the first period and extending that to 46-21 with a huge second period. They kept it going in the second half en route to their victory.
On the night, the Lady Braves were led by Deante Toineeta with 23 points followed by Teesateskie with 14. Other Cherokee scorers included: Raylen Bark 8, Tigger King 4, Naomi Smith 10, Vivian Ross 13, Zoey Walkingstick 2, Jacee Smith 4, and Rhynne Girty 2.
Highlands scorers included: Reese Schmitt 3, Abby Olvera 4, Hannah Holt 3, Haley Borino 9, Chela Green 4, Bailey Schmitt 2, Jordan Carner 11, and Kedra McCall 12.
The Big Smoky Mountain Conference tournament is set to begin on Thursday, Feb. 14 at Robbinsville High School, and the Lady Braves are ready to start a playoff run. “I think we’re close to where we want to be,” said Coach Mintz. “Offensively, we’ve got to fix some things that we keep doing wrong. But, defensively, I think we’re playing really well and next week should be pretty fun.”