As the 2019-20 high school basketball regular season winds down, the Greenback School Cherokees and Lady Cherokees will look to close out with two District 2-1A tilts against Jellico and Cosby high schools.
The Lady Cherokees have been on a two-week hiatus since their last game Jan. 30 in a 57-45 loss to the Loudon High School Lady Redskins. Widespread illness and flooding have limited practice time and forced two cancellations against Sequoyah and Tellico Plains.
"Our system has a no school, no practice, no policy, so we've really not been doing anything, unfortunately," Angie Lucier, Greenback head girls basketball coach, said. "We got to practice Wednesday, and then we had rescheduled a game for Saturday and the snow kind of messed that up, so hopefully we've had time to get well. We had quite a few people get the flu or something similar right there even before the Loudon game. Wwe were not healthy. That's what I'm hoping out of this big break that we'll come back healthy, maybe a little out of shape, but what can you do?"
With limited time on the court, Lucier encouraged the team to continue studying film and staying active.
"They know that they need to be getting on the film, and then I also ask them, if they were well, to try and do something at home, not just to be sitting around all day," she said. "They can't really in this weather get out and drive or run, but they can do things inside the house. It's a little scary if you think about not doing anything for this long and then trying to come back and play a game that they know how to play, but you worry about their physical ability once you've been off that many days to come in and play something really strenuous."
The Cherokees have also dealt with the same pains and will be looking to bounce back from the break.
"Gym time is huge, but we haven't had it," Bryan Powers, Greenback head boys basketball coach, said. "I mean, we've done nothing this week because of the floods and everything else. We were going to try do to something (Monday), but they called it out about 5 or 5:30 (p.m.), but I couldn't bring the guys in that way with the floods and stuff. We've not done a lot to be honest with you."
Both teams will cap off the regular season Wednesday and Friday in key district matchups against Jellico and Cosby.
The Lady Cherokees (9-13, 6-2 District 2-1A) can secure second place and a bye in the district tournament with a win over Jellico.
"We've got a lot of girls that can play well, but it just seems we're struggling to get everybody on the same page at the same time, so I'm hoping here these last two regular season games that things will come together," Lucier said. "We've struggled, defensively, the last few games. Teams we've played shot a really high percentage, and I told the girls, 'We're not putting enough pressure on the basketball.' ... I'm hoping that we can focus back on that and start tournament play in a good spot."
The Cherokees (2-17, 2-6 District 2-1A) are hopeful to capture at least one more district win before the District 2-1A tournament next week.
"We're just trying to get better, Wednesday and Friday, we've got two really tough games," Powers said. "Jellico's playing really, really good right now, and Cosby is Cosby — they're good every year. We've got senior night Friday, so the main thing this week is for our seniors to give them a good week, I mean, just go out there and see what happens."