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Huntland holds off Cascade in OT thriller

By WILL CARTER ~ Sports Writer
Posted 2/3/23

BELL BUCKLE — It was a fight to the finish on Tuesday night as the Cascade Lady Champions battled with the Huntland Lady Hornets for all 32 minutes plus overtime, but ultimately couldn’t …

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Huntland holds off Cascade in OT thriller


BELL BUCKLE — It was a fight to the finish on Tuesday night as the Cascade Lady Champions battled with the Huntland Lady Hornets for all 32 minutes plus overtime, but ultimately couldn’t grab a victory as they fell 54-45. 
Cascade (1-19) controlled the game from the second quarter until the very end of regulation when Huntland (17-6) evened the score for the first time since the opening frame and the Lady Champions found themselves in unknown territory as they tried to close out the game at the end. 
“We haven’t been in a late-game situation like that before,” Lady Champs head coach Janie Demonbreum said. “We lost our way a little bit at the end of the game, but for two years those girls haven’t been in that type of situation. This place was rocking and that’s what we strive for. I didn’t want them to hang their heads because we played a lot better than we did last time against Huntland.”
The contest opened with a back-and-forth first quarter that ended with the Lady Hornets holding onto a 10-7 lead, but the Lady Champions found their footing on both ends of the floor in the second frame. 
After a slow start, Cascade was able to tie the game at 10-10 with five minutes remaining before halftime. 
Sophie Ray took it upon herself to bring the Lady Champs back as she accounted for her team’s first three points of the quarter, and they took the lead just 30 seconds later with Laina Carter knocking down a layup for a 12-10 lead. 
Ray notched nine points in the first half and a total of 18 on the night for a team-high. 
Demonbreum called for her pressure defense immediately after, and Cascade went on a 7-0 run before a Lady Hornets three-pointer stopped it with three minutes left before the halftime break.
At the half, the Lady Champions held onto a 18-13 lead with the momentum on their side. 
They carried that momentum into the second half, and went on a 6-0 run to open the third quarter as Kaegan Young and Kaydence Miller knocked down back-to-back threes. 
Young notched 14 points on the night. 
But it wasn’t their offense in the middle quarters that propelled them to a double-digit lead as they were able to hold Huntland to only nine points in the middle quarters. 
 “We played hard and that was one of our keys to success tonight that we talked about before the game,” Demonbreum said. “We wanted to pack it in since Huntland isn’t a consistent three-point shooting team. The girls did a great job of limiting their points on the inside.”
Cascade’s defensive pressure and ability to limit second-chance shots made scoring the ball a little bit easier as they were able to run in transition and get easy baskets. 
“A point of emphasis for me was that if we could get up-and-down the court, then they would get tired,” Demonbreum said. “We’re conditioned enough to run in transition for open layups.”
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Champions led 31-19.
Their lead eventually got up to 14 points early in the final frame, but Huntland started to fight back soon after. 
The Lady Hornets threw everything they had defensively at the Lady Champions, and they forced some big turnovers that turned into points offensively. 
With five minutes and 17 seconds left in the quarter, Huntland brought it all the way back to a one-possession game after putting a 12-2 run together. 
Both teams traded baskets from that point on until the final six seconds of the game when the Lady Hornets knocked down two free throws to even the game, but the dramatics didn’t stop there. 
With one final play to draw up, Demonbreum looked towards Young to drive the ball and potentially win the game for Cascade. 
Young received the ball on the run and took it to the basket where she was fouled for two free throws with one second remaining. 
But she wasn’t able to knock them down, and the game went into overtime. 
With the momentum on their side, the Lady Hornets grabbed an early lead in overtime and never let it go as Logan McLennon hit six free throws in overtime to secure the victory. 
She scored a game-high 31 points on the night for Huntland with 22 coming in the final 12 minutes. 
Despite the narrow loss, Demonbreum was proud of her team’s effort and of Ray and Young for taking charge throughout the contest. 
“When either one of them is on, then everyone else plays energized on the floor,” she said. “They are constantly in the gym and stay even after I leave sometimes. They’re going to be huge for us the rest of the year and the years to come.”
The Lady Champions will be back on the hardwood on Friday night as they travel to Grundy County for a district matchup. 

Huntland 10 3 6 24 11 — 54
Cascade 7 11 13 12 2 — 45

Huntland: Logan McLennon 31, Jacy May 15, Morgan Sanders 5, Ayia Williams 2, Yareli Avalos 1. 
Cascade: Sophie Ray 18, Kaegan Young 14, Laina Carter 6, Kaydence Miller 3, Suzanna Crews 2, Isabella Rhodes 2.
3-point goals: Huntland (5): McLennon 3, May, Sanders.; Cascade (3): Young 2, Miller. 
Halftime score: Cascade 18, Huntland 13.


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