Tuesday April 23rd, 2024 11:02AM

Basketball: Bears clinch top seed in 8-4A North; Bluff girls deny Chestatee subregion title

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

GAINESVILLE — Despite trailing Chestatee 31-27 at the half in a winner-take-all battle for the top seed in Region 8-4A North, Cherokee Bluff coach Josh Travis said there was no need for any inspirational speeches at halftime.

“I told them, ‘I don’t have anything to say to you. You know what to do. Just go do it,’” Travis said. “They believed they could do it and they did.”

What the Bears did was explode for 48 second-half points to rally for a 75-61 win at Lynn Cottrell Center to seal the No. 1 seed and host the first round in the upcoming Region 8-4A Tournament.

Cherokee Bluff (17-7, 9-1 Region 8-4A North) also ran its win streak to five and swept the War Eagles (15-9, 8-2 Region 8-4A North) during the regular season. The Bears also added a win over Chestatee in the Lanierland Tournament.

While acknowledging the win streak, Travis was more excited about what is down the road in the region tournament.

“The key is we know what we are seed-wise and we just need to win one game to go to state,” he said. “And we’ll get to play it at our place, which is a big advantage. We don't know who we’ll play yet, but it will be a good team.”

Chestatee opened the third quarter with a Eli Parlier basket to push its lead 33-27 before Bluff started its march back. Logan Holmes hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Cooper Glover capped a 15-2 run with a three-point play to give the Bears a 42-35 lead.

The War Eagles got as close as 42-39 on a Parlier basket, but Andy Quirarte answered with a 3-pointer for Bluff and that’s as close as Chestatee would get the rest of the way. Two Jarvis Weaver driving baskets cut the lead to 60-57 midway through the fourth, but Bluff pulled away with another Quirarte trey and a 3-pointer from Tanaka Mukono.

Boston Kersh and Carlos Marlow hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to put the game out of reach.

Travis said he hopes his group is hitting its stride and feels his team is becoming a dangerous group on offense.

“Hopefully we’re peaking at the right time,” he said. “Just need to take it to another level and keep doing what we do. We feel like we have a lot of guys that can score right now.”

Marlowe finished with 19 points, including going 11-of-12 from the line, to lead Bluff. Kersh and Holmes each had 17, with Holmes draining five 3-pointers. Mukono had 11, 9 coming in the second half.

Nine lead changes and three ties highlighted a fast-paced first half. Chestatee grabbed a 13-11 lead on a Weaver 3-pointer at the buzzer that capped five straight possessions of trading the lead.

The War Eagles extended their lead to 17-13 early in the second, but Bluff answered with a 7-0 run, capped by a Logan Holmes basket with 5 minutes left in the half. Chestatee answered that with a 14-5 run to close out the half, with Colton Wilbanks converting a pair of stick-back baskets to end the half for a 31-27 War Eagles lead.

Chestatee was paced by Weaver, who had 22 points, 11 in the fourth quarter as he tried to get them back in the game. Wilbanks had 19, but none in the fourth quarter. Parlier finished with 11 for the War Eagles.


The Lady Bears never trailed, and the game was tied just three times in a key Region 8-4A North game for both teams.

Chestatee (17-7, 7-3 Region 8-4A North) came into the game tied with North Hall atop the subregion standings and had a chance to take the outright lead with three games left. Instead, the Lady Trojans rallied to beat East Forsyth, 58-55, in their first game since losing leading scorer Kristina Peach to an injury.

With the Chestatee loss, North Hall (18-5, 8-2 Region 8-4A North) clinched the top seed from the North with its win on the road.

One game after going just 5-of-17 from the free throw line in a loss to North Hall, the Lady Bears went 6-for-6 in the fourth quarter and hit all eight in the second half while holding off a furious Chestatee second-half rally.

Bluff (14-9, 6-4 Region 8-4A North) led 30-19 at the half and led 37-26 midway through the third. But the Lady War Eagles, behind Riley Black, stormed back with a 13-2 run to tie the game at 39.

The Lady Bears answered with an 8-0 run into the fourth quarter, but Chestate came right back as Addison Boyd drained a long 3-pointer to pull within 51-50 with 3:28 left, and Caroline Bull hit a trey a minute later to tie the game at 53.

The Lady War Eagles had two chances to take the lead but could not convert. Cherokee Bluff hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the win.

Freshman Claire Carlson poured in 23 points and added 4 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks to pace Cherokee Bluff. Mia Williams added 15 points and 12 rebounds, Emma Reynolds had 10 points, and Kaitlin Cook had 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists for the Lady Bears.

The Lady Bears’ defense seemingly contested every Chestatee shot in the first half. A Carlson block ignited one fastbreak that ended in a Carlson three-point play as part of an early 7-0 run for a 9-2 lead.

After Bull pulled the Lady War Eagles within 9-5, Carlson scored five straight points on a steal and layup and then a 3-pointer following another Bluff block for 14-5 advantage.

Black got Chestatee back within 16-11 by the end of the opening quarter with four straight points, but Bluff would use a 9-4 run, highlighted by another Carlson trey, for a 28-17 lead.

The Lady Bears finished the first half with 5 blocks on defense and forced 13 Chestatee turnovers, turning them into 11 points. The Lady War Eagles were held to 1-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half while Carlson was 2-for-4 on 3-pointers for Bluff.

Chestatee was led by Black’s 21 points. Bull had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, and Payton Cable added 12 points for the Lady War Eagles.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports
  • Associated Tags: High school basketball, Chestatee boys basketball, Chestatee girls basketball, Cherokee Bluff girls basketball, Cherokee Bluff boys basketball
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