Published On: Mon, Feb 3rd, 2014

BASKETBALL: Cherokee sweeps Swain




The fast-pace action of basketball isn’t known to be a game of inches. However, that notion was quickly discarded at the beginning of the Lady Braves game against Swain at home on Thursday, Jan. 30 when the officials erroneously tipped off with the men’s 29.5” basketball rather than the women’s 28.5” basketball.  The 1” difference that separates the men’s basketball from the women’s brought about a slight disruption in the opening minutes but quickly resolved.

Lady Braves 77 Swain 59

The Lady Braves got the ball rolling, albeit the wrong ball, by jumping out to a first quarter lead of 25-14.  An effective offensive performance led by Avery Mintz with 27 points and Bree Stamper with 20 points proved to be too much for the Lady Devils.  Swain remained competitive, but unable to keep pace and recover from the 11 point deficient from the first quarter as the Lady Braves won 77-59.

Other scorers from the Braves included:  Kendall Toineeta 14, Brionna Jumper 10, Perri Wildcat 5, and Blake Wachacha 1.

Alea Tisho, for the Lady Devils, demonstrated why she is in the top rankings of the WNC stat board by posting 18 points, followed by Valerie Arkansas with 16.


Braves 91 Swain 72

The Cherokee Braves defense befuddled the Swain County Maroon Devils and dominated the first quarter by jumping out to a commanding 35-12 lead.  However, Swain came roaring back to life in the second quarter, but could never quite gain an edge over the Braves offensive prowess as the Braves cruised to a 91-72 win.

Dustin Johnson (#22) drives to the basket through Swain's Jake Marr (#35) and Dakota Brown (#15) during the game at home on Thursday, Jan. 30.  (AMBLE SMOKER/One Feather)

Dustin Johnson (#22) drives to the basket through Swain’s Jake Marr (#35) and Dakota Brown (#15) during the game at home on Thursday, Jan. 30. (AMBLE SMOKER/One Feather)

Both teams remained locked in a stalemate for the remainder of the game, but much like the lady’s game, Swain was unable to overcome the dominant first quarter performance.

After the game, Cherokee assistant coach John Gloyne stated, “We need to learn to put them away once we get a lead like that, we have got to get better at closing it out.  Overall we had a real good game defensively, had a lot of rebounding strength and ran the ball fairly well.”

Dustin Johnson lit up the scoreboard by posting 33pts against the Devils.  He was accompanied by Jessie Toineeta 21, Silas Reed-Littlejohn 10, Jason McMillan 8, Darius Thompson 6, Eli Littlejohn 6, Brandt Sutton 5, and Kennan Panther 2.

The Cherokee Braves look to build upon their success with lofty goals of obtaining a conference championship.  With a few key victories, the Braves have the opportunity to claim the Smoky Mountain Conference.

Head coach Willis Tullos explained, “If we can beat Hayesville by 9 and Robbinsville by 4, we will win it. That’s all you can ask for at the end of the season is to have a chance, and we have a chance.  That’s what we’re a shooting for and both of those big games are at home.  We are very excited to be in that position.”

Both the Lady Braves and Braves have an important match up on Tuesday, Feb. 4 against the Hayesville Yellow Jackets.  The game is shaping up to have serious conference and playoff implications by not only crowing the Smoky Mountain Conference, but also determining who’s playing at home and who is taking their game on the road during the NCHSAA playoffs.