The Lady Cherokees traveled to Heritage Thursday night in a rematch of a game that had been shortened due to alarms going off Nov. 29 at Greenback School.
For much of the game, Greenback looked like the better team, playing more physical and out-hustling the Lady Mountaineers.
However, as the game stretched on, Greenback's girls ran out of gas and Heritage took advantage, winning 65-49.
The game was tied 10-10 at the end of the first, and Greenback trailed 23-22 at the half.
It was midway through the third quarter, though, that saw Heritage begin to pull away with a 38-31 lead by the quarter's end.
Greenback put up a fight in the fourth, with senior forward Katelyn Sparks making her way to the rim and earning 12 free throws in the fourth quarter. Sparks made 10 of those shots at the charity stripe. Heritage countered with a trio of three-point shots. The Lady Mountaineers' Kathryn Prior scored six in the fourth on the way to 18 points in the game.
Sparks scored 18 for Greenback as well, with 14 coming at the free throw line on 20 attempts. Senior point guard Sarah Rhyne finished with 14, and sophomore Megan Russell scored 10.
The Lady Cherokees struggled to shoot over the size of Heritage for much of the night, but struggled making jump shots in the second half.
They finished the game shooting just 18 percent from inside the arc and just 24 percent as a whole. Greenback coach Courtney McDaniel felt her team ran out of gas down the stretch.
"That's going to hurt us," she said. "I told them, in my book they fought and they played about as well as I've seen them play today. All their hard work in practice paid off tonight. I told them not to hang their heads. They have nothing to hang their heads about tonight."
Greenback dressed eight players for varsity Thursday, which is the most they have had this season. At this point it is unlikely the roster will grow, so McDaniel knows they'll have to overcome the small numbers.
"We do have a small bench and that's going to hurt us," she said. "It's going to catch up with us in games like that. We're going to adapt to that and keep practicing hard and getting in better shape as time goes on."
The boys fell to Heritage as well Thursday, losing 60-46. Nursing an injury, Senior Austin Bryant did not play, and the offense continued to struggle without him on the court.
Josh Pace led the team with 18 points, but had difficulty penetrating the defense, primarily settling for outside shots.
The Cherokees dug a hole early, scoring just four points in the first quarter. At the half, Greenback trailed 32-17. The team more than doubled its score in the second half, but nearly allowed Heritage to do the same.
Greenback's boys fall to 1-7, losing five straight, while the girls drop just below .500 at 4-5. The Cherokees host Oakdale at 6 p.m. Monday in their last game before the Daniel Boone Christmas Class Dec. 26-29 in Gray. The teams travel to Tellico Plains at 6 p.m. Jan. 4.