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Cascade Struggles in Second Half, Loses to Grundy County

Noah Maddox
Posted 2/7/24

The Cascade Champions let a golden opportunity in District 9-AA play slip away against Grundy County, falling 61-50 at home on Tuesday.

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Cascade Struggles in Second Half, Loses to Grundy County

Chris Lawson (Center) gives his team final instructions before Tuesday night's matchup.
Chris Lawson (Center) gives his team final instructions before Tuesday night's matchup.
David Smith

The Cascade Champions were unable to sustain their fast start on Senior Night against the Grundy County Yellow Jackets, losing 61-50 at home to the sixth-ranked team in the state on Tuesday.

It was just an all-around brutal loss for Cascade, as not only did they drop the actual game, but Grundy County now also holds the district tournament seeding tiebreaker over the Champs after hitting a buzzer-beating three to win by 11 instead of by eight. 

Cascade was led by Isaac McElroy and Saebyn Burris as the only two players to reach double-figure scoring with 17 points and 16 points apiece. 

Class 2-A Mr. Basketball favorite Sam Parsons finished with a game-high 28 points after a slow start, but he was the only Yellow Jacket to end in double-digits.

Cascade came out of the gates clicking on all cylinders, taking a 15-7 lead into the second quarter after holding Parsons to five points in the opening period. 

However, the visitors began to find their footing as Cascade’s offense started to sputter just a bit, especially once Saebyn Burris was relegated to the bench after an extremely questionable second foul call with over four minutes to go in the half. 

In response to the paint suddenly becoming much easier to navigate, Grundy seized control of the game, trimming Cascade’s lead down to just two points, 27-25, at halftime.

Coming out to start the second half, the visitors continued their positive momentum on both ends of the court. Cascade would only manage to score six points in the third quarter, and Grundy would carry a 37-33 lead into the final frame.

Despite it being only a four-point game, Cascade was never able to regain control of the steering wheel as Grundy pushed their lead up to as many as 17 points. The hosts would try to respond late, cutting the lead to as little as seven with about a minute to go, but ultimately it was not enough to trouble the visiting Yellow Jackets. 

To add insult to injury, Dylan Sanders would hit only his second three-pointer of the night right at the buzzer to end the fourth quarter to win by 11 points, surpassing the nine-point victory margin Cascade had achieved in the first matchup. With both teams now likely to end district play tied at 4-4, the all important tie-breaker is in favor of Grundy County.

Grundy improves to 17-4 (3-3) and will wrap up district play with a back-to-back against Community on Thursday and Friday.

Cascade falls to 9-15 (3-4) on the year, and will host Chapel Hill for both Homecoming and Coaches versus Cancer, LIVE on WZNG The Zinger 100.9 and AM 1400 starting at 5:45 p.m.

Cascade Champions, Grundy County Yellow Jackets