BY SCOTT R. FISHER
On most nights, a high school boys basketball game will be a higher scoring affair than the girls' matchup. That was not the case Friday night at Chuckey-Doak,
Grainger and Chuckey-Doak split a pair of games in District 2-AA and the Blue Ridge Conference. The Lady Grizzles defeated the Lady Knights 65-56 in the opening game of the night. The Black Knights survived a low-scoring matchup by limiting Grainger to zero field goals in the fourth quarter. The final score was 41-37 in favor of the home team.
Chuckey-Doak does not have much time to think about the two games. The boys and girls both are back in action tonight against Unicoi County.
The Black Knights improve to 7-4 on the season and 4-1 in District 2-AA play while Grainger drops to 5-7 overall and 2-3 in league play. The Lady Knights fall to 5-6 on the season and 3-2 in district play. Grainger is unbeaten on the year at 12-0, a perfect 5-0 in the district.
BLACK KNIGHTS FIND OFFENSE IN FOURTH
Through three quarters of play, most fans must had been wondering if the the Black Knights would reach 30 points. Chuckey-Doak was struggling that bad to put points on the scoreboard.
But, a basketball game lasts four quarters - not three.
Grainger held a 27-18 lead going into the fourth. Both squads were finding it difficult to consistently score points. That all changed over the final eight minutes.
"This bunch never quits," Chuckey-Doak head coach Sam Broyles said. "They struggled (Friday)."
After the struggles in the first three quarters, scoring almost seemed easy for the Black Knights. The team more than doubled their output of three quarters.
Chuckey-Doak trimmed the nine-point deficit with a quick basket to open the quarter. It was sophomore Garrett Johnson who got the ball rolling. Johnson netted a game-high 15 points for the Black Knights.
With CDHS finally seeing shots fall, the momentum was with the home team. However, it took nearly the entire quarter to regain the lead. Grainger made enough free throws to keep Chuckey-Doak from running away with the contest.
Senior Corey Swinney's basket with about two minutes left gave the Black Knights a 36-34 lead. It was the first lead since the team scored the opening basket of the game.
Broyles said his advice to his players was simple - keep shooting.
He told his players, "We just have to keep shooting; they will fall eventually."
In the first half, the shots definitely were not falling. The Black Knights made only five shots from the field. They scored two points in the entire second quarter, but only trailed 19-11 at the half.
When CDHS grabbed the lead, it did not last long. Grainger's Corey Banks drained two free throws to knot the game.
Johnson scored the final five points for his team and secured the win.
Johnson and Swinney were the only two players for the Black Knights to reach double-digit scoring with 15 and 11 points respectively. Birkir Vidisson chipped in eight points.
"They have learned what it takes to win," Broyles said. "They never quit. I am so proud of them."
Grainger was led on the scoresheet by Thomas Moran with 12 and Corey Bates with 10 points.
Score By Quarter:
Grainger 12 7 8 10 --37
Chucky-Doak 9 2 7 23 -- 41
Grainger (37): Cabbage 2 1-2 5, Walker 2 2-4 6, L. Bates 0 2-2 2, Brown 0 2-3 2, C. Bates 1 7-8 10, Moran 5 1-2 12. Totals: 15-21 10-30 37.
Chuckey-Doak (41):Swinney 4 2-2 Vidisson 3 2-2 8, C. Johnson 4 5-10 15, Gridley 1 1-1 3, T. Johnson 1 0-2 2, Lamb 1 0-2 2. Totals 10-19 14-42 41.
THIRD QUARTER DOOMS LADY KNIGHTS
The Chuckey-Doak Lady Knights kept the game close for a half, but lost some traction after the intermission. A three-point deficit ballooned to 13 points following the third quarter.
The Lady Knights were very sloppy with the basketball the entire night. The team did not shoot the ball that poorly. The high number of turnovers due to bad passes limited the number of shots taken.
The second quarter was a high scoring one. The two squads combined to pour in 38 points in eight minutes of action. Each team found a rhythm offensively and made the defense pay.
The Lady Grizzles used a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter to bust a close game wide open. The Lady Knights had sliced the lead down to 35-33.
Senior Hannah Riddle finally stopped the drought by draining a three-pointer. Riddle's basket cut the lead to 45-36. The Lady Grizzles responded by scoring the final six points in the quarter.
The scoreboard read 53-40 in favor of the visitors.
In the final quarter, the Lady Knights were unable to mount a run to climb back into the contest. The deficit remained in double-digits for most of the period.
The Lady Grizzles answered every basket Chuckey-Doak made and prevented the home team from getting the crowd going and gaining that much needed momentum,
The closest the Lady Knights coould cut the lead was 62-54 with 1:22 remaining. Riddle and Andi Lamb combined for a quick 5-0 run.
Those two players were the main offensive threats for the Lady Black Knights. They combined to score 30 points in the loss. Lamb led her with 17 points. Riddle scored 13 points.
The Lady Grizzles were led by a trio of players - Alison Hodge with 18 points, Blake Lamb with 17 and Laura Johnson with 15.
Score By Quarter
Grainger 11 22 20 12 -- 65
Chuckey-Doak 13 16 11 16 - 56
Grainger (65): Black 3 0-6 5, Farmer 2 1-2 6, Johnson 7 1-2 15, Stratton 1 1-2 4, Hodge 9 0-1 18, Lamb 8 1-2 17.
Chuckey-Doak (56): Lamb 6 5-6 17, Campbell 3 2-6 8, Taylor 2 1-2 6, Riddle 5 1-2 13, Ricker 2 0-0 4, Broyles 4 0-0 8.