Cherokee advances to Area 4-AAA title game

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By Brody Jones


The Cherokee Yellow Jackets earned a berth in last Friday’s Area 4-AAA Championship Game Thursday evening by knocking off North Middle, 41-30.

Thursday’s victory also secured Mike Snow’s squad a spot in the TMSAA East Tennessee AAA Sectional Tournament that is being played this week in Sevierville.

The news wasn’t as good for the Lady Jackets, however, as they were knocked off by the Lady Stars in Thursday’s semifinals, 48-38, in double overtime.

The loss left Cherokee in a must-win situation on Friday against Rhea County. The Lady Jackets had to beat Rhea County to advance to this week’s TMSAA East Tennessee AAA Sectional Tournament

Girls Game

For three periods of play, the Lady Jackets were on a golden carriage that seemed to be leading to victory.

But starting in the final period, it turned into a pumpkin as the clock struck midnight on the Lady Jackets in a gut-wrenching 48-38 double overtime loss on Thursday afternoon to North Middle. 

The opening period was a thing of beauty for the Lady Jackets as they rolled to an 11-2 lead at the close of the first period. 

Gianna Manfredi (4 points) led the way early on for the Lady Jackets. 

The Lady Jackets pushed the lead to 22-10 at the half with Manfredi (4 points) leading all Lady Jackets in scoring during period number two. 

The lead was pushed to 30-16 at the end of the third period with Abby Wilson (5 points) leading the way for the Lady Jackets. 

Victory seemed to be most certainly in grasp, but the lead was destroyed by an 18-4 final period of regulation by the Lady Stars to tie the game at 34-34.

Both teams scored four points in the initial overtime period to tie the game at 38-38. 

The second overtime period was a period of basketball the Cherokee faithful would like to forget as they were blanked in the second overtime to end the game with a 48-38 loss. 

Wilson (11 points, 5 steals), Meredith Garrett (10 points) and Manfredi (9 points, 8 boards) led the Lady Jackets in scoring while Lenna Robinson (7 boards), Shannon Gaines (5 assists), and Emily Workman (5 boards) all played well in the loss.

Cherokee (38) Wilson 11, Garrett 10, Manfredi 9, Gaines 4, Workman 2, Robinson 2.

Boys Game

Although the game sure wasn't the most stylish of affairs on the hardwood, the end result for the Cherokee Middle Yellow Jackets was a 41-30 victory over the Stars. 

The opening period started on a 12-5 tilt by the Stars before the Jackets got within 14-8 at the end of the opening period. 

A 9-4 second period proved to be quite the boon for the Jackets with Tanner Poole (4 points) leading Cherokee in period number two to get within 18-17 at the end of the first half. 

Things remained tight in the third period, but Cherokee outscored North 8-5 in the frame to put the Jackets out in front by a 25-23 margin.

Matt Spellman’s four points paced the way for Cherokee in period number three. 

The final period was a dominant one by the Jackets as Spellman scored eight of his 10 fourth period points in a 12-4 run that caused the Stars to fall by a 41-30 margin on the evening. 

Spellman (15 points, 8 boards, 6 steals), Tyler Thurman (11 points, 7 boards) and Tanner Poole (8 points) paced the Jackets in victory on the evening.

Cherokee (41) Spellman 15, Thurman 11, Poole 8, Reeder 3, Jones 2, Key 2.