Bobcats split close games with Bears

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor


The Oliver Springs Bobcats and Lady ’Cats played their first home games of the season Thursday night when they hosted Tellico Plains, but they will be hard-pressed to play two more dramatic games all season as both games went down to the wire.

The girls game was a nail-biter as the final four minutes would see five lead changes, but in the end, it was the Lady Bears pulling out a 73-69 victory.

The boys game needed overtime before it was decided, but Oliver Springs outscored Tellico Plains 10-5 in the extra four-minute period to pull out the 66-61 victory.

Girls Game

Two traditional powers collided in an early season affair and when all was said and done, Tellico Plains left Terry L. Hacker Gymnasium with a four-point victory.

The first quarter was a seesaw affair as both teams held four-point leads before the Lady ’Cats took a 16-15 lead into the second period of play.

Rachel Griffith had a huge opening quarter for the Lady ’Cats, scoring 10 points while twin sister Emily added four. McKinley Dalton scored six points in the opening frame for Tellico Plains with Valerie Cheek adding five.

The Griffith girls put on a show in the second period, combining for 18 points, but their explosion didn’t lead to a big lead as Tellico Plains trailed just 34-31 at halftime.

Rachel (17 points) and Emily (15 points) Griffith combined for 32 of Oliver Springs’ 34 points in the first half.

Jamie Harris kept Tellico Plains close with 11 points in the first half.

Oliver Springs tried to pull away early in the second half. The Lady ’Cats scored the first four points of the half and led by as many as 10 at 51-41 when Sarah Channell buried a three-pointer midway through the period.

Tellico Plains, however answered with a 10-3 period-ending run to cut the deficit to 54-51 heading into the fourth period.

Oliver Springs’ lead grew to 58-53 early in the final period, but foul trouble soon cost the Lady ’Cats as Tellico Plains grabbed a 64-63 when Bailey Hunt converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 3:53 left to play.

The lead changed hands four more times until a three-point play from Dalton gave the Lady Bears a 71-69 lead with 11.8 seconds left to play.

Oliver Springs never got off a shot to tie the game as Dalton came up with a steal and added two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to seal the deal for the Lady Bears.

Dalton led Tellico Plains on the night with 19 points and nine rebounds. Harris (17 points), Cheek (15 points) and Hunt (10 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals) also scored in double figures for the Lady Bears.

Emily Griffith (21 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals) and Rachel Griffith (21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) led the Lady ’Cats in defeat. Jones added eight points and seven rebounds.

Oliver Springs (69) E. Griffith 21, R. Griffith 21, Wright 2, Jones 8, Gilmore 4, Channell 3, Smith 7, Topmiller 3.

Boys Game

The nightcap game Thursday needed overtime before Oliver Springs picked up the split with a 66-61 victory.

The first period of the game was a feeling out process with the Bears holding a 14-12 lead after eight minutes of play.

Action became a little more intense in the second quarter. Tellico Plains opened the period with an 8-2 run to take a 22-14 lead, but Oliver Springs responded with an 18-1 run on their way to a 35-25 lead at halftime.

Seven different players scored for Oliver Springs in the first half with Aaron Noe (9 points) and Taylor Murray (6 points) leading the way.

Tellico Plains also had seven players score in the first half with Austin Balcolm (7 points) and Bryan Cook (6 points) leading the Bears in scoring.

Oliver Springs’ lead ballooned to 46-33 midway through the third period, but this time it was the Bears that ended strong. Tellico Plains closed the frame on a 9-1 run to pull within 47-42 with eight minutes left to play.

The Bears then scored the first six points of the final period to take a 48-47 lead with 6:05 left to play.

The lead stood at 55-52 when Devin Collier put back a miss with 3:20 left to play, but Oliver Springs didn’t allow a field goal after that and eventually tied the game at 56-all when Murray scored off a Markus Miller assist with 22 seconds to play.

Oliver Springs had a chance to end at the end, but they missed a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left. They also grabbed the rebound, but missed the put back.

Oliver Springs never trailed in overtime. Shelby Morgan, Miller  and Noe scored the first six points of the extra session to make the score 62-56. The Bears never got closer than three points after that as Oliver Springs picked up their first win of the season, 66-61.

Noe (17 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals) and Murray (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) scored in double figures for the Bobcats while Miller added nine points and seven boards.

Colton Carter led the way for Tellico Plains with 14 points while Balcolm (9 points), Collier (8 points, 12 rebounds), Cook (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Cody Murphy (7 points, 7 rebounds) put up solid numbers.

Oliver Springs (66) Moss 8, Noe 17, Murray 17, Johnson 5, S. Morgan 7, Miller 9, B. Morgan 3.