(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
Like many of the district games played this year, Tuesday night's showdown went down to the wire where the Hornets were able to sting the Champs with a 66-61 loss, dropping Cascade to 6-3 in district play.
"You know you're going to have a battle every night. I thought we did a lot of little things right. On defense, we did some things we wanted to do," said Cascade coach Mike Edmondson.
From the opening tip-off to the final buzzer, the game was essentially a heavyweight title bout with both team landing blow after blow.
For the Champs, a huge number of their points came from beyond the arc--especially in the first half.
In the closing minutes of the opening quarter, Cascade found itself down 12-9, but was able to rally for a 5-0 run to recapture the lead 14-12 heading to the second frame.
And each time Huntland rallied for the lead in the second quarter, Cascade was again able to battle back and recapture the lead.
"The tempo was kind of a moderate tempo. It wasn't exactly what we really wanted, but they didn't have what they wanted either," Edmondson said.
Because of the moderate tempo of the game, neither team was able to secure a controlling stake in the momentum.
At the break, the Champs held the 31-30 advantage, but soon saw that lead slip away.
Huntland emerged from the break on a full-on tear, blazing ahead on a 7-0 run.
Cascade, as before, answered with a huge run of its own, ignited by senior Jake Pimental, who added a triple and a fast break layup following a steal.
Alex Hatchett also chimed in with a trey to put the Champs ahead by four with about three minutes to go in the period.
While the teams continued to do battle, Cascade again took the lead at the end of the quarter when Jesse Barnes hit a 2-point put back.
With the momentum firmly in their grasp, the Champs got a pair of treys from junior Will Holt to begin the fourth quarter, Those early fourth quarter buckets gave Cascade its largest lead of the game with just over five minutes left to play.
(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
At the time of the foul, Cascade held a 55-51 lead, but quickly saw that lead evaporate.
The technical foul came after Huntland senior Jacob McLennan was fouled, which sent him to the line to shoot four--which he promptly connected on all four.
The momentum shift was completed when Kobe Foster added a 3-pointer, putting Huntland in charge, 58-55.
Cascade spent the remainder of the game playing catch up, but couldn't overcome the 7-point swing.
Huntland was able to secure the win by hitting 7-of-8 free throws in the final minutes, six of which came courtesy of McLennan.
Coming into the game, Cascade knew the potent offense that McLennan brought, but was able to mostly contain his contributions thanks to the likes of defense by Blake Floyd.
"I thought Blake did a great job on McLennan. He shut him down really well," Edmondson said.
Although he finished the game with 14 points, Floyd limited him to just eight points through the first three quarters.
Even with the impressive defense on McLennan, Cascade still had some missed opportunities that could have been a determining factor in the game's outcome.
"We had every opportunity, but we still missed a lot of easy shots in the first half. We missed a lot of layups we should have hit. We could have been up eight or nine at halftime, but that's the way it goes," Edmondson said.
In all, Huntland saw four players reach double figures, with Foster hitting a game-high 19 points, followed closely by Seth Satterfield's 18. McLennan finished the game with 14 while Kiel Graham added 10.
Cascade also had some heavy hitters as well on the offensive end of the court, with Holt's 16 pacing the Champs.
Pimental and teammate James Lattimore added 13 and 10, respectively.
As a team, Huntland won the battle at the free throw line, connecting on 11-of-14 tries while the Champs only hit 2-of-4.
One area Cascade excelled in was the perimeter attack. The Champs sank an impressive nine treys, four of which came from Holt. Floyd, Pimental, Hatchett, Sam Gardner, and Bryce Clinton added one apiece.
With Tuesday's showdown in the rear view mirror, Cascade will set its sights on the Eagleville Eagles in what looks to be another fight to the finish on Friday night.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 in Wartrace.
Cascade 14 17 18 12 -- 61
Huntland 12 18 17 19 -- 66
Cascade: Will Holt 16, Jake Pimental 13, James Lattimore 10, Blake Floyd 7, Jesse Barnes 6, Sam Gardner 3, Alex Hatchett 3, Bryce Clinton 3.
Huntland: Kobe Foster 19, Seth Satterfield 18, Jacob McLennan 14, Kiel Graham 10, Kevin Jernigan 3, Logan Ray 2.
3-Point goals: Cascade (9) Holt 4, Gardner, Hatchett, Pimental, Floyd, Clinton; Huntland
Halftime score: Cascade 31, Huntland 30.