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The Cherokee Lady Yellow Jackets were hoping for an Area 4 AAA Tournament championship, but the third place finish they received is still enough to keep their season alive.
After receiving a first round bye in the tournament, the Lady Jackets dropped a 30-24 decision to North Middle School in the tournament’s semfinals.
Less than 24 hours later, however, the Lady Jackets bounced back with a 33-23 victory over Athens in the tournament’s consolation game.
By finishing third, the Lady Jackets advanced to the TMSAA East Tennessee AAA Sectional Tournament in Sevierville. Cherokee will open play in the tournament on Saturday, Feb. 12 against a yet to be determined opponent.
A slow start cost Cherokee dearly on Friday as the Lady Jackets scored just seven points in the first half and they could never dig out of that early hole.
The Lady Stars jumped out to a 9-4 lead after six minutes of play as Kaylie Wilson and Rachel Layne scored two points each for Cherokee.
Layne added three points to her tally in the second period, but no other Lady Jacket scored as North took a 15-7 lead at intermission.
Cherokee put up six points in the third period, but they were unable to gain any ground as North led 22-13 after three periods of play.
Kalli Sampson scored four points and Tori Strahan added a basket for the Lady Jackets in the quarter.
Cherokee did outscore North 11-8 in the final period, but they were unable to close the gap as the Lady Stars advanced to the tournament’s title game with the 30-24 victory.
Sampson buried two three-pointers in the final period and would lead the Lady Jackets on the night with 10 points.
Haley Morris scored eight points to lead the way for the Lady Stars.
Cherokee (24) Sampson 10, Layne 6, Thurman 1, Wilson 2, Strahan 2, Nunley 3.
Cherokee’s offense was much better, but it wasn’t until the Lady Jacket defense stepped it up in the second half that Ashlee Brackett’s squad could pull away from Athens.
The first quarter was a shoot out as Cherokee led 13-12 after six minutes of action.
Sampson led Cherokee with five points in the opening period while Sydney Nunley and Strahan added four each.
The scoring pace slowed in the second period, but Cherokee still won the stanza 7-6 to take a 20-18 leas into the locker room at halftime.
Layne paced Cherokee with three points in the second quarter.
The third quarter would see both defenses playing well, but Cherokee would again win the period, 5-3, to take a 25-21 lead into the final period of play.
Cherokee finally put the game away in the final period as the Lady Jackets outscored Athens 8-2 in the frame to put the finishing touches on their 33-23 victory.
Sampson led Cherokee on the night with 10 points.
Alyssa Maddrow scored a game-high nine points to pace Athens.
Cherokee (33) Sampson 10, Layne 7, Thurman 5, Strahan 6, Nunley 5.