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Viqueens ride hot start to win 7-AA opener

By WILL CARTER ~ Sports Writer
Posted 1/9/23

BELL BUCKLE — It didn’t take long for the Community Viqueens to get hot from three-point land against the Cascade Lady Champions on Friday night and they stayed hot throughout the contest …

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Viqueens ride hot start to win 7-AA opener


BELL BUCKLE — It didn’t take long for the Community Viqueens to get hot from three-point land against the Cascade Lady Champions on Friday night and they stayed hot throughout the contest on their way to a 68-41 district win. 
The Viqueens (13-4, 1-0) opened the cross-county rivalry with a three pointer on their first offensive possession and a layup after stealing Cascade’s (1-13, 0-1) inbound pass which led to a 8-0 run over the first two minutes. 
Community knocked down five of its 11 three-pointers in the first frame, with Haley Mitchell leading the way with three of her own. 
“Everyone was pretty motivated to come out and play the first district game of the year,” Viqueens head coach Cody Pierce said. “We’ve been shooting well recently, and we came out tonight with a hot start shooting.”
After Sophie Ray stopped the run with two free throws for the Lady Champions, the Viqueens went on a 9-0 run to take a 17-2 lead midway through the quarter. 
Community went 4-for-4 from behind the arc before their first miss came with three minutes and 49 seconds left in the frame. 
But the Lady Champions were able to stop the bleeding by closing out the quarter on a 6-1 run behind Ray’s six first quarter points.
Community turned up their intensity defensively in the second quarter as they held the Lady Champions scoreless until the one minute and 11 second-mark of the frame. 
M.J. Simmons and Zoey Dixon combined for 12 of their 17 points in the quarter to help their squad to a 35-13 advantage at the half. 
Cascade opened the second half with a few three-pointers of their own as Kaydence Miller and Kaegan Young were able to find some open shots and knock them down. 
The duo combined for 11 of their 15 total points for their highest scoring quarter of the game, and Cascade head coach Janie Demonbreum attributed that success to a more patient offense. 
“We slowed down and started to move the ball around after halftime,” she said. “Kaydence stepped up. Every time she caught it she was confident.”
“I told her that if she would have shot like she did in the third quarter at the start of the game, then it would have been a lot closer.”
But the Viqueens matched that and then some for their highest scoring quarter with 23 points while adding four more three-pointers to their total. 
Mitchell and Addison Brothers both knocked down two each. 
“We’re an inside out team, so a lot of teams try to take away our posts, and that leaves our guards open to shoot some threes,” Pierce said. 
“It’s a good night when they go in.”
Cascade won the fourth quarter with Miller and Ray combining for all 13 points in the final frame while holding the Community to 10. 
Mitchell and Simmons both notched 18 points for the game’s high with Brothers close behind at 16. 
Demonbreum gave credit to Mitchell and Simmons for their big nights, and was proud of how her team competed despite the loss.
“Haley Mitchell shot the lights out tonight, and there’s not much you can do to stop that,” she said. “Kudos to her for having a good night, and MJ Simmons is just a phenomenal player.”
“I don’t think that we’ve competed like that in any other game. They could quit when we get down, but they just keep playing.”
Both squads will be back in action on Tuesday night with the Lady Champions traveling to Eagleville and the Viqueens hosting Cannon County. 

Community 18 17 23 10 — 68 
Cascade 8 5 15 13 — 41

Comm.: Haley Mitchell 18, MJ Simmons 18, Addison Brothers 16, Zoey Dixon 11, Shelby Cawthorn 8.
Cascade: Sophie Ray 15, Kaydence Miller 12, Kaegan Young 12, Isabella Rhodes 2.
3-point goals: Comm.: Mitchell 6, Brothers 3, Dixon, Simmons.; Cascade: Miller 4, Young 2. 
Halftime score: Community 35, Cascade 13.