The Greenback School Lady Cherokees and Lenoir City High School boys and girls basketball teams competed in non-district action Saturday during the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Hall of Fame tournament at Anderson County High School.
The Lady Cherokees finished the day 2-0 with wins over Anderson County and Lenoir City to move to 2-2 on the season.
“It’s good to get a win, and a lot of good things happened,” Angie Lucier, Greenback girls head basketball coach, said. “You can see there’s a lot of things that we need to work on. We kind of slipped there at the end. I thought that we had them (LCHS), and we let them make a run there at the end of the game when we should’ve maybe put it away a little better.”
The Lady Cherokees rallied behind Kierra Bishop’s 16-point performance, but also received help from veteran guards Anna Morris and Lily Morton, who both scored 12 points.
Lucier believes playing larger schools early will help prepare her team for district play.
“We’ve been playing pretty good, some big teams, so they’re kind of used to it. In this day and age in girls basketball, you can have really skilled teams from single A all the way up to triple A,” Lucier said. “It’s good for the pace and just the more we can get out there and play tough competition, very physical, it’s very good for us.”
The Lady Panthers trailed as much as 18 points midway though the fourth quarter before surging back with baskets by Ciara Uphoff and Marah Norwood. Greenback won 49-41.
“I think it was good for us having to play almost back-to-back,” Tim Smith, LCHS girls head basketball coach, said. “There were some things we couldn’t do ... I had to wait until the end to start pressing. We didn’t come out very well, I think came out a little bit lackadaisical and got behind. I think we only (had) nine points in the first half, so we just didn’t do a great job, offensively. I think it had something to do with our energy level — we didn’t bring it. When we did it, we did all right.”
The Lady Panthers were able to pick up their first win of the season with a 64-30 victory over Anderson County.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, the injury bug has been really bad,” Smith said. “Everybody else has got to deal with it, so do we. I think we’ve struggled with continuity because somebody’s hurt, somebody’s sick ... you struggle with young ones, but they’ve got to learn. I like this team, and I think they play hard. They give me everything they got. I think they’ll get better once we start figuring out — I start understanding how some of these young ones where to best put them. For me, that’s my challenge.”
The Lady Cherokees’ next game is 6:30 p.m. Monday at Coalfield School. The Lady Panthers’ next game is 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against Loudon High School.
Panthers go 1-1
The Lenoir City High School Panthers (2-1) also saw mixed results Saturday, defeating the Knoxville Ambassadors 51-47 and falling 65-47 to ACHS.
LCHS junior David Ross led the Panthers with 17 points against the Ambassadors and finished second with 16 points against ACHS.
“Oh yeah, it was definitely great for us because we’re starting the season off,” Ross said. “We’ve just got to get to know how each other plays. We’re doing really good right now. Really, that last game, we could’ve won.”
The Panthers led for most of the first quarter before the Mavericks closed out the second quarter with a 20-point run.
Lenoir City faced more adversity midway through the fourth quarter when head coach Brent Burns was ejected after a second technical foul, forcing assistant coach Chris Cool to take over play-calling duties.
The Panthers, led by Ross and Scory Correa, attempted to rally late in the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks proved too strong down the stretch.
“With the help of Coach Cool and Coach (Jack) Williams, we can definitely play,” Ross said. “Obviously, it affected us, but we can go through adversity and still play. Our strength is definitely how fast we are. We’re not necessarily undersized because we’ve got some big boys down there, but we can definitely shoot the ball. I can definitely tell we’re getting better from the first scrimmages at Sequoyah and Polk (County). We’re definitely getting better as we keep playing. I think by the end of the season and the district tournament, we’ll be solid.”