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Cherokee boys, girls rally for sweep of South

Tanner Cook • Dec 18, 2018 at 12:55 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Cherokee’s basketball teams enjoyed a night of comebacks on Monday against nonconference foe Sullivan South.

After the Lady Chiefs came back from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat the Lady Rebels 50-46, Cherokee’s boys rallied from three points down after two quarters to take a 49-46 victory at home.

Reigning Big 7 Conference player of the year Ryan Bledsoe sank four key free throws in the waning moments of the game to give the Chiefs just their second win of the season.

“We’ve been really close, losing by six a couple of times and 10, but it finally came together tonight,” said Cherokee coach Ty Webb. “We’ve been trying to get Wyatt (Watson) to play like he did tonight so that our guards can have a little more freedom out on the perimeter. He was such a difference on the boards and in the paint.”

Watson and Bledsoe each ended up with 16 points to lead Cherokee in a defense-oriented game.

“Ryan’s ankle is starting to finally not bother him that much,” Webb said. “He had hurt it during football season and he had gotten out of shape. Now that it’s healed, he’s trying to get back into game shape. Tonight he really came out and showed what we know he can do.”

Cole Layne led South with a game-high 22. He was the only Rebels player in double figures.

The game featured eight ties and seven lead changes.

South’s Ben Diamond missed a 3-pointer in front of the Rebels’ bench as time expired that would have tied the game.

RUSSELL TO THE RESCUE

The Lady Chiefs’ comeback earned them their second victory over South in the past week. Cherokee claimed a 49-44 overtime victory last Thursday at Sullivan South.

Harper Russell was again the hero for Cherokee, pouring in 23 points. Russell — who scored 26 points in last week’s win over South — gave the Lady Chiefs the lead at the start of the fourth quarter Monday night by nailing back-to-back 3-pointers. That erased a Lady Rebels lead that had grown to as many as 16 points.

Mollie Leslie led South with 15 points. Alex Harris had 11 but was shut out in the second half when Cherokee’s defense doubled down on the sharpshooter.

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