Lady Cherokees off to strong start

Greenback School's Anna Morris drives past a defender Friday in the Lady Cherokees' 50-29 win over the Hancock County High School Lady Indians.

The Greenback School Lady Cherokees basketball team took care of business over the weekend to start 2-0 in District 2-1A play.

The Lady Cherokees kicked off Friday night with a dominant 50-29 victory over the Hancock County High School Lady Indians, followed by a 47-21 win Saturday morning against the Washburn High School Lady Pirates.

"I thought it was really good from second half (Friday night)," Angie Lucier, Greenback head girls basketball coach, said. "I wasn't too pleased in the first half with not finishing some things, but overall, I'm really happy with our defensive effort and the way they have been able to take teams out of what they want to do. They've really done a good job of following the game plan, and I'm really proud of all of the girls, defensively."

The Lady Cherokees relied heavily on perimeter shooting in both games, knocking down 13 total three-pointers. Kierra Bishop made three against Hancock County, while Lily Morton hit four against Washburn.

"Well, we're definitely guard heavy, so you're hoping to find somebody that is hot, like the second half Friday night, Kiki (Kierra Bishop) was feeling it," Lucier said. "Obviously, Lily had a great perimeter game going on. We still want to be balanced inside and out, but if you run four guards on the floor, most of the time, you're either going to have to create with the drive or be able to hit outside."

Bishop and senior guard Anna Morris lead the team in scoring so far and have come on strong despite a slow start.

"It's awesome, I know it's really good for our confidence as a team, too," Morris said. "We started out kind of rough, we just weren't really knitted together because lost a lot last year, so two district wins is huge for us and our confidence. Compared to the beginning of the season to now, it's progressed a ton. I mean, now we're actually hitting so it's better, and we have more people hitting, so we don't have to just rely on one or two people. We have four or five people being able to hit, so it's awesome."

Morris has primarily served as a guard, but she is learning to take on various roles to give her team the best chance to win.

"Honestly, I think my role has just been wherever the team needs me," she said. "So I've gone from one to five now, so just anywhere honestly. I think I still have a pretty good role in just trying to rebound and get some points on the board. Wherever they need me, I go."

The Lady Cherokees' next game is 6 p.m. Thursday at Tennessee School for the Deaf, followed by a 6 p.m. tipoff Friday at Wartburg Central High School.

Cherokees drop two

The Greenback Cherokees (0-3, 0-2 District 2-1A) suffered the opposite fate of the girls, dropping games to Hancock County and Washburn for a winless start in district play.

"Honestly, it just felt like we ran out of gas," Bryan Powers, Greenback boys head basketball coach, said. "We've just kind of come together, not quite in shape yet. The physicality, we've got to get better, got to get in better shape. Starting as hot as we did, played as well as we did, it's definitely a disappointment."

The Cherokees held a 16-4 second quarter lead against HCHS before the Indians roared back to win 60-44.

The Cherokees found themselves down 10 against Washburn in the second half but managed to rally late and tie the game 46-46 with under five minutes remaining. However, the Pirates pulled away late thanks to crucial free throws in the final two minutes for a 58-50 win.

Powers did not coach against Washburn.

"The first half, we just weren't running through plays," Colby Nichols-Jones, Greenback senior, said. "We were just jacking up shots. The second half, we came out and started moving the ball well, started getting open looks and started making more. The first games don't really matter as much, we'll see them again. We're just coming out of football, too, so some boys have only been at practice for about three days."

Now that the football season is over, Greenback has added several key additions in Braden Carnes, Holden Willis, Dakota Garland and River Steele. Willis is unable to play due to a broken ankle, but is expected back in a few weeks.

"It's nice to have, I mean, with Braden Carnes, we didn't really know, as far as basketball goes, exactly what he'd do," Powers said. "We've been really impressed with what he's been able to do so far, and he's still probably only knows 40 percent of our offense, if that. We got Hazen (Carlton) back this weekend, but he's still not 100 percent. He's still got the thumb injury, so hats off to him for trying to play through it. We're still trying to get back into basketball shape, and I'll probably be saying the same thing two weeks from now. ... Remember, it doesn't matter what you do in December, it's what you do in February."