ATLANTA — The Cherokee Bluff boys made their first-ever playoff game one to remember.
The Bears knocked off host Westminster 61-51 Friday night in the first round of the Class 3A tournament in a game they never trailed.
Cherokee Bluff coach Benjie Wood joins WDUN's Caleb Hutchins and Chad Pittman after the team's first-ever playoff win on Friday. @benjiewood10 @Hutch9473 @CBluff_MBB @BluffCherokee @WDUNRadio pic.twitter.com/ubhoTap7rU— AccessWDUN Sports (@WDUNSports) February 15, 2020
But it didn’t come as easily as they made it look as Westminster put together a furious fourth-quarter comeback to get within four points late. But that’s as close as the Wildcats would get.
“I’m just so dang proud of these guys with all the things they’ve gone through this year with the injuries and other things,” Cherokee Bluff coach Benjie Wood said. “Those guys hit some big shots when we needed them. Just so thrilled right now.”
The Bluff opened strong running out to a 17-8 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 28-17 by halftime. Westminster chipped away in the third quarter getting to within 38-29 and kept the pressure on into the fourth quarter.
However, Griffin Neville and Bosko Norman combined to hit seven consecutive free throws in the final minute to help Cherokee Bluff hang on down the stretch.
Neville paced the Bears with 17 points and Norman had 16. Palmer Weaver had 9 points, five coming in the fourth quarter, including a big 3-pointer, to help hold off the Wildcats.
David Perchick led Westminster with a game-high 21 points.
Cherokee Bluff now moves on to the second round and will play the Windsor Forest-Murray County winner.