By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee Braves and Lady Braves varsity basketball teams didn’t disappoint basketball fans during their home opener games against Franklin at the Charles George Memorial Arena on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 5. The Braves (1-0) battled back-and-forth with the Panthers and held on at the end for a 77-73 win, and the Lady Braves (0-2) overcame a large first period deficit to only fall short by two at the end (67-65) to the Lady Panthers.
Franklin 67 Lady Braves 65
Cherokee came out flat in this game and fell behind early. With just over three minutes left in the first period, the Lady Braves trailed 21-0. Deante Toineeta, who led Cherokee on the night with 23 points, got the ball rolling as she hit a three-point shot at 2:32 in the first. She followed that up with a steal on the ensuing in-bounds pass which she turned into two points on a quick lay-up.
Cherokee trailed 26-10 at the end of the first.
Franklin was able to keep the double-digit distance during the second and led 42-28 at the half.
The Lady Braves came out in the third period a different team and put the pressure on the Lady Panthers. Within two minutes, Cherokee cut Franklin’s lead to six points (46-40), and they outscored the Lady Panthers 20-10 in the period to only trail 52-48 going into the final eight minutes.
The fourth period was tight with both teams exchanging baskets. Cherokee actually outscored Franklin 17-15 in the final period but ended up two points shy in the end.
Naomi Smith and Vivian Ross were Cherokee’s other double-digit scorers with 12 and 10 points respectively. Other Lady Braves scorers included: Tigger King 7, Rhyan Girty 9, and Kamia Wiggins 3.
Franklin was led by Sierra Wade with 19 points followed by Sydney Williams with 12 and Neveah Tran and Tori Ensley who both had 9 on the night. Other Lady Panthers scorers included: Chela Green 5, Canaan Drake 7, and Makayla Brewer 6.
Braves 77 Franklin 73
The Braves started quickly in this game and built a solid 7-2 lead in the first few minutes. Franklin settled in though and actually led by two points (13-11) at the end of the first period.
Coming out of the gates in the second, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to lead 20-11 just one minute in. They would end up taking a 37-28 lead into the locker room.
Cherokee cut that lead in the first few minutes of the third period going on a 10-4 run to only trail by three points (41-38) at the 4:41 mark. They cut Franklin’s lead to one point (53-52) by the end of the third.
The Braves took the lead with just over two minutes left in the ball game and would never relinquish it holding on for the four-point win.
Cherokee was led by Sarron Johnson with 26 points followed by Sterling Santa Maria with 16. Other Braves scorers included: Chris Johnson 10, Jordan Arkansas 6, Bobby Crowe 3, Treannie Larch 9, Don Bradley 2, Mykel Lossiah 3, and Ethan Crowe 2.
The Braves struggled from the free throw line all night hitting 8 of 28 (29 percent). Franklin hit 19 of 26 (73 percent) from the stripe.
Franklin was led by Griffin Green with 26 followed by Miles McClure with 16. Other Panthers scorers included: Kellen Stiles 2, Trey Penland 11, Chad Wilson 8, and Isaiah John 10.