Two teams all that remain in pursuit of title
by Emily Horos
February 22, 2013 01:18 AM | 1912 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If Cherokee County is going to bring home a state title in basketball, it will be up to the girls programs of Cherokee and River Ridge.

Cherokee, which defeated Brookwood in the first round of the Class AAAAAA tournament, will host North Forsyth tonight at 6 p.m.

Coach Matt Cates, whose lone loss came to Creekview in early December, said his team is ready. The Lady Warriors (28-1), who have won by an average of 20 points per game this season, often use a high-pressure defense to pull away from their opponents.

The strategy should be the same against North Forsyth (24-5), the runner-up of Region 6AAAAAA.

“We’ll just try to play our game,” Cates said. “They are very well-coached, and it should be a good game for us.”

River Ridge passed its first-round test against Grady. The game was closer than coach Jason Taylor would have liked, but the win was enough to advance the Lady Knights (21-8) into the second round for the first time. The Region 7AAAA champion will host 8AAAA runner-up Chestatee (23-6) tonight at 7 p.m.

The Etowah girls and the boys from Cherokee, Creekview and River Ridge all played Wednesday night in the first round of their respective tournaments, but none left the court winners.

The Lady Eagles (13-16), who were on the road at Archer, were crushed 53-19 in the Class AAAAAA playoffs.

Etowah trailed 20-15 at the half, but managed just four points in the rest of the game. Shakyna Payne made a jumper with 7:15 remaining, but the game was already out of hand as Archer led 38-17 after three quarters.

Payne, Scottlyn James, Chelsi Palazzo and Tori Janos each scored four points for Etowah. Taylor Kimber added three.

The Creekview and River Ridge boys both ran into one of the top teams in their respective classifications.

Creekview (16-13) saw an 11-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter against Mays, while River Ridge (12-16) had a second-half comeback fall a little short at South Atlanta.

Cherokee came the closest to advancing.

The Warriors (18-11) played at Archer and gave the Tigers a run for it in the second half before falling 47-45.

Cherokee trailed by 13 points at the break, but knotted the game at 33-all after starting the third quarter with a 13-0 run that featured eight points by Armony Parker.

Cherokee took its first lead of the night with just over 6 minutes remaining when Parker connect on his third 3-pointer of the second half.

Jeremiah Gill helped the Warriors keep pace in the fourth quarter, going point-for-point with the Tigers for a couple possessions to tie the game at 45-all.

The game was decided in the final 20 seconds as Archer stalled for the last shot. A foul was called against Cherokee when the Tigers’ Randall Smith apparently lost his dribble.

Smith sunk both of his attempts on a 1-and-1, which forced the Warriors to attempt a desperation shot to tie the game.

Cherokee coach Roger Kvam said his team was left questioning what could have happened if a few calls had gone their way in the fourth quarter.

Parker led the Warriors with 16 points, while Ja’Davin Keith and Gill finished with seven each.
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