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Lady Champs Rally Past Viqueens Into District Title Game


The Cascade Lady Champions beat the Community Viqueens in a thriller, 45-43, in the first District 9-AA semi-final in Bell Buckle on Tuesday night to advance to their first District Championship game since 2013/14 when they upset CPA. 

It was another classic Battle of Bedford, and in its third and presumably final act of the season it delivered a show stopping performance that is worthy of an encore. 

A fourth quarter filled with immensely clutch shots, even more missed layups, and timely stops defensively produced a thrilling conclusion to this year’s chapter of a historic cross-county rivalry.

Cascade entered the final frame with a 33-25 lead over the two-seeded Viqueens after Sophie Ray connected on a free throw line jumper to beat the third quarter buzzer, but the designated home team responded, finding their offensive mojo in the first four minutes of the quarter. Community hit two of their four total three-pointers in that stretch to punctuate a commanding 14-2 run to take a 39-35 lead with just over four minutes to go. The Stable was rocking, except this time it was the fans clad in purple and gold making all the noise.

With the Lady Champs struggling to find even a clean look at the basket because of a stifling triangle-and-two defense designed to focus on Kaegan Young and Sophie Ray, sophomore forward Suzanna Crews sized up Community’s Alyssa White, gave her a jab-step, and let loose a deep three on the right wing that rattled home to cut the lead to one 4:10 to go. It was easily the biggest shot of the game, and it was only Cascade’s fourth triple of the night. Her second three-pointer of the game brought her up to 10 points total, but more importantly she ended the Community run, sparking a 7-4 Cascade mini-run to close out the game.  

The Lady Champs and the Viqueens would trade a couple more baskets as the intensity and crowd noise reached a fever pitch, culminating in Alyssa White putting in her 16th point of the night with 39.1 seconds to go to cut the Cascade lead to 44-43. 

Coming out of the timeout, the Lady Champs advanced the ball into the front court, finding Sophie Ray, but an awkward pass led to an off-balance catch, forcing a jump ball that resulted in Community taking over.

However, the Lady Champs bowed up one final time defensively, sticking to their gameplan of forcing Jayla Mangrum and Brooklyn Yoes to hit outside shots in favor of double-teaming Alyssa White. For the final time of the night, the plan worked as Yoes missed another wide open three-pointer with 9.2 seconds left. 

Cascade would secure the rebound, and eventually Kaegan Young would get fouled with 7.3 seconds left. After missing the first, she connected on the second for her first and only made free throw of the game to give Cascade the 45-43 lead.

Community would try a long baseball pass the length of the court, but after Kaydence Miller deflected the Yoes’ heave right into the path of Jayla Mangrum on a dead spring to an open basket, this game seemed destined for overtime. That is, until Young did just enough defensively to force Mangrum’s layup attempt to roll off the rim, securing the rebound and dribbling out the clock in the process to secure the biggest win so far in Coach Demonbreum’s short tenure at Cascade.

Sophomore sensation Kaegan Young led Cascade with 12 points, but her biggest impact on the game was her suffocating defense for all 32 minutes on Viqueens sharpshooter Anna Haskins. Haskins did not even manage to attempt a three until the fourth quarter, and she finished 3/9 from the field overall for only seven points. Suzanna Crews was the other Lady Champion to finish in double-figures with 10 points, and Sophie Ray chipped in nine points of her own. Anna Clanton and Kaydence Miller both added five points, and Laina Carter sprinkled in four points of her own.

For the Viqueens, freshman phenom Alyssa White finished as the only one in double-digits with a game-high 16 points in the losing effort, and Brooklyn Yoes finished with eight points herself. Mangrum and Haskins both scored seven points, and Taylor Wessner put in five points.

In a stark contrast to the second Battle of Bedford held at Cascade, it was the Lady Champs that started off with their hair on fire defensively, coming out in a high-intensity man-to-man defense from the opening tip and carrying an 11-6 lead into the second quarter.

Cascade would continue the strong defensive effort, but Community would fight back in the second period. Going into the halftime locker room, the Lady Champs held a 25-19 lead despite going 1/6 from the free throw line and missing at least four wide open layups.

The Viqueens would continue to struggle in the third quarter against the tenacious Cascade defense, and after Sophie Ray hit a 15-foot jumper to beat the horn, the Lady Champs would carry a 33-25 lead into the now-famous final frame.

Community falls to 10-17 (5-3) on the season and will play Grundy County in the District 9-AA third-place game on Thursday night at 6 p.m. in Bell Buckle.

Cascade improves to 12-14 (4-4) on the year and advance to the District 9-AA Championship game to take on the top-seeded Cannon County Lionettes on Thursday night in their home gym, starting at 7:15 p.m. LIVE on WZNG The Zinger 100.9 and AM 1400.

Cascade Lady Champions, Community Viqueens, Battle of Bedford, District 9-AA