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Champs survive thriller at Rockvale

By WILL CARTER ~ Sports Writer
Posted 11/29/22

ROCKVALE — One side of the gym was filled with screams and numerous other loud noises while the other sat in silence as fans anxiously awaited the first-of-three free throws from …

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Champs survive thriller at Rockvale


ROCKVALE — One side of the gym was filled with screams and numerous other loud noises while the other sat in silence as fans anxiously awaited the first-of-three free throws from Cascade’s Jackson Davis that would put the Champions ahead with .3 seconds remaining in the contest. 
Davis lined up, went through his routine and swished the ball through the nylon to give Cascade (4-0) the lead and polished it off by knocking down the last two for a 72-69 win over the Rockvale Rockets (2-2). 
Seconds prior, Rockvale’s Darryl Cotton knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 69-69 with 1.5 seconds remaining after Champions head coach Chris Lawson called a timeout to draw up one final play. 
“We did a good job of contesting their last shot without fouling. You have to give them credit for hitting that shot at that moment,” Lawson said. “Fortunately, I had a timeout left, so we were able to get the ball with 1.5 seconds left. I don’t want to say it went how I drew it up, but we got the ball up the floor and Jackson was able to get the foul call. Sometimes you need a little luck to win some games. Both teams played well, but I think the ball bounced in our favor a couple more times for us to come out on top.”
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout most of the contest with the lead changing several times between the two teams. 
Rockvale led for the majority of the first quarter before Davis slashed inside for a layup and a free throw after a foul was called to give Cascade their first lead of the game with 48 seconds left in the frame. 
The lead changed three more times before the Rockets escaped the quarter with a 16-15 advantage, but the Champions found their footing behind Lucas Clanton’s 12 second quarter points to go ahead 36-33 at halftime. 
Clanton totaled 31 points on the night with the majority coming from inside the paint. 
“Putting him around the basket causes matchup problems for other teams,” Lawson said. 
“He was 11-of-12 from the foul line and made some shots from everywhere. He just wanted it tonight and he had a solid overall game.”
Both teams got right back to where they left off to start the second half, but the pace of play slowed down after Cascade reached the double bonus with two minutes and 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter. 
The Champions weren’t able to capitalize on their free throw attempts, shooting 4-of-10 in the quarter.
To end the third, Clanton knocked down a corner three at the buzzer for a 53-48 lead heading to the final eight minutes. 
Rockvale crawled back and slowed Cascade’s attack for the first five minutes of the final frame to take their first lead since the first half at 60-58. 
The Rockets found success from three-point land throughout the night as they knocked down 10 total threes, with five coming in each half. 
Cotton accounted for four of those to add to his total of 25 points in the game. 
“It was definitely the environment that I wanted our guys to play in. Rockvale is a long and athletic team that plays extremely hard,” Lawson said. “We didn’t expect them to shoot it that well from outside, but they did. They gave us everything they had tonight.”
The two squads traded blows for the final three minutes before the last eight seconds when Cotton tied it for Rockvale and Davis knocked down the game-winning free throws after being fouled on his halfcourt heave. 
The matchup with the Rockets was another early season test on the Champions’ schedule, and Lawson was proud of his team for passing it. 
“This is a huge game for us to win,” he said. “I told the guys that this was our second test with the first being the Tullahoma game that we won. Overall, we did enough to get the win and passed the test. These kinds of games are going to prepare us for what’s down the road in the postseason.”
Cascade will be back home on Thursday against the Moore County Raiders with tipoff to come after the girls game. 

Cascade 15 21 17 19 – 72
Rockvale 16 17 15 21 – 69 

Cascade: Lucas Clanton 31, Jackson Davis 18, Isaac McElroy 9, Jayden Gulick 8, Thomas Gentry 8, Jayden Little 1. 
Rockvale: Darryl Cotton 25, Markell Siebert 12, Ty Newton 9, Antonio Ward 7, Jakobe Tharp 5, Malachi Long 4, De Eric Patton 3, Colin Holman 2, Jonavin TaiManglo 2. 
3-Point goals: Cascade (5): Clanton 2, Gulick 2, Gentry; Rockvale (10): Cotton 4, Newton 3, Ward 2, Patton. 
Halftime score: Cascade 36, Rockvale 33.


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