By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Cherokee County High School needed a big second half and some outstanding coaching to post a 30-29 win over Hokes Bluff in the Class 4A, Area 11 Tournament basketball championship last Saturday (Feb. 9) in Centre.
Both teams will compete in the subregional round on Thursday (Feb. 14). In the tournament semifinals on Feb. 7, Hokes Bluff defeated Jacksonville, 42-39, and CCHS beat Alexandria, 79-41.
Hokes Bluff (18-12) travels to either Munford or Anniston in Thursday’s subregional round.
The No. 10 Lady Eagles (23-6) appeared to have the upper hand after building a 17-14 halftime lead.
Cherokee County, however, pulled even at 23-23 with 13 remaining in the third quarter on Darbie Rosser’s jump shot.
The fourth quarter was akin to two heavyweight fighters looking for the other’s weakness.
Cherokee County took a 25-23 lead with 3:48 remaining, while Chelsea Ray 3-pointer less than a minute gave the Lady Warriors a 28-12 lead.
Keisha Chapman hit a 3-pointer on the Lady Eagles next possession to cut the lead to 28-26, but Cherokee County answered with a bucket by Tori Davis for a 30-26 lead.
Hokes Bluff’s Hannah Evans knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining in the game, and the chess game between the coaches began.
Cherokee County turned the ball over on the possession following Evans’ trey, and Hokes Bluff played for the last shot.
With only three fouls against the Lady Warriors in the second half, the Lady Warriors began fouling. With only seconds remaining and a foul to give, Cherokee County attempted to foul, and Hokes Bluff turned the ball over.
The Lady Eagles got the ball back with less than a second remaining but unable to get a shot off.
Hokes Bluff jumped to a quick 10-8 lead after one quarter of play.
Evans led Hokes Bluff with 11 points, while Rosser led the Lady Warriors with 10.