(T-G Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
That's exactly what happened with the Cascade Champions (2-2) in Tuesday's 63-49 win over Cannon County.
While Cascade took an early lead and maintained it throughout all four quarters, it was Cascade's performance at the line in the fourth quarter that secured the road victory in Woodbury.
The Champs made good on 18-of-21 tries at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone.
While the offense was firing on all cylinders, it was the defense and the teams' ability to crash the boards, which limited the Lions to one-chance possessions, that proved to be the difference in the game.
"We did a really good job on it (rebounding) and we worked on it. We did a great job of it in the first half," said Cascade coach Mike Edmondson.
The Champs took advantage of the mismatches inside and worked their inside-outside attack which led to several points form beyond the arc.
Alex Hatchett led the Champion onslaught with 19 points, which led all scorers. He also led the perimeter attack, scoring three of Cascade's five treys.
"Alex played well and hit a couple of threes. He's a post guy who can step out and shoot. That helps out our offense," Edmondson said.
The Champs also got solid minutes from Will Holt and Blake Floyd, both of whom scored in the double digits for Cascade.
While both contributed offensively, it was Floyd's stellar defense that directly contributed to the Champion win, according to Edmondson.
"The defense, I thought, played really well. Any time you hold a team to 26 points through three quarters, we'll take that every night.
"I thought Blake did a great job on their leading scorer. I think he only had two points. That was one of the differences in the game was the fact he was shut down," Edmondson said.
Still, Cannon County wouldn't go quietly. The Lions actually outscored the Champs 23-20 in the fourth quarter, but couldn't overcome fouls and the lack of offense early on.
The win moves the Champs to 2-2 on the season and set up a showdown with the Champs' archrivals on Friday night--the Community Vikings, who took a tough 60-55 loss on the chin to the Moore County Raiders on Tuesday night.
"They're one of the top teams in the district. They're big and they play well. It ought to be a war," Edmondson said.
With such an important district game this early in the schedule, the Friday's showdown is a must-win for both programs in order to establish an early season momentum among the district teams.
Tip off is set to follow the girls' game in Unionville on Friday night.
Cascade 14 19 10 20 -- 63
Cannon Co. 6 16 4 23 -- 49
Cascade: Alex Hatchett 19, Will Holt 13, Blake Floyd 10, Jake Pimental 7, James Lattimore 6, Sam Gardner 5, Bryce Clinton 3.
Cannon Co.: Jarrett Melton 13, Tommy Mitchell 10, Josh Ruehlen 5, Justin Tobin 5, Garrett McReynolds 5, Tanner Larson 4, Zach Higgins 3, Cory Henley 2, Ethan Bryson 2.
3-point goals: Cascade (5): Hatchett 3, Gardner 1, Holt 1; Cannon Co. (3): Ruehlen 1, Tobin 1, Higgins 1.
Halftime score: Cascade 33, Cannon Co. 22.