Shots fall Champs’ way in 4-A semifinals
EAGLEVILLE — There’s been points in the season when Cascade flat out struggled to knock down open shots.
That wasn’t the case in Tuesday night’s Region 4-A semifinal meeting against Grace Christian—Franklin.
Cascade (13-17) hit nine 3-pointers and shot 64 percent from the floor in the Champs’ 75-50 drubbing of the Lions.
“It’s been a work in progress but they’ve finally grown. Tonight they put it all together and that’s our best game by far,” Champion coach Mike Edmondson said.
Plan in action
It was evident from the game’s opening tip-off that Cascade was insistent on working the inside-out game, hoping to open up the perimeter shooting.
Junior Chay Chumley delivered the first of five first-quarter treys on the Champs’ first possession.
The Champions trailed the Lions briefly in the first quarter following a pair of back-to-back 3’s by Mason McKnott, putting the Lions up 6-3.
Following Chumley’s early triple, Jake Vincent added three additional treys in the opening frame as well to help spur on the Champion perimeter attack.
“They totally dared us to beat them on 3’s. Tonight, Jake came in and Chay hit one to start the game,” Edmondson said.
That hot start put the Champs on the upside of a 17-9 first-quarter score, following an 11-1 run to close the frame.
While the scoring onslaught slowed in the second quarter, Cascade held Grace (11-16) scoreless from the floor until Cole Scott scored the Lions’ first field goal of the quarter at the 3:43 mark on a put-back attempt.
After Cascade rained 3’s on the Lions in the first quarter, the Champions were able to draw the Grace defense to the perimeter, opening up the mismatches in the low post.
Steele Carter and Landon Parker combined for 19 points in the paint to help keep the Lions’ defense honest.
“They got the ball inside to Steele when they went man-to-man. We had a mismatch on the floor at all times and we found it. Steele went right at them,” Edmondson said.
And Grace just couldn’t find an answer for the Champions’ offense that eclipsed 70 points for just the second time this season.
Grace did manage to cut Cascade’s lead to five points on two different occasions in the third quarter on shots made by the Lions’ leading scorer Mason McKnott.
McKnott scored 20 points, including three treys, to lead all scorers.
Cascade, however, didn’t have a single standout, but instead put four players in double figures.
Chumley’s 14 points led the Champs, while Carter, Vincent and Jaden Russell each added 13 apiece.
“We’ve been on them all week about having to shoot the shots. They were able to step up and do a good job tonight,” Edmondson said.
Cascade also connected on a season-high nine 3-pointers.
Late in the in the fourth quarter, Grace went to a full-court pressure, which Cascade was able to repeatedly break and score in transition as part of a 26-point fourth quarter to put the game away.
Tuesday night’s win ends a four-year drought since Cascade last played for a region title.
It also marks the first year since 2014 since Cascade will return to the state sectional round as well.
On Thursday night, Cascade will face LEAD Academy (19-10), who defeated Fayetteville on Tuesday night, 65-51 to advance to the Region 4-A title.
“We’ve played LEAD in the past, so we know what they’re like. We just have to play our game and take care of the basketball,” Edmondonson said.
Cascade will tip-off in the 4-A title game on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Cascade 17 14 18 26 — 75
Grace 9 14 13 14 — 50
Cascade: Chay Chumley 14, Jaden Russell 13, Jake Vincent 13, Steele Carter 13, Brandon Heath 8, Landon Parker 6, Seth Countess 4, Matthew Maybee 2, Andrew Curl 2.
Grace:Mason McKnott 20, Cole Scott 8, Jayce Brown 7. Grant Soloman 6, Jake Boesinger 3, Austin Kasick 3, Gavin Johnson 3.
3-Point goals: Cascade (9): Vincent 4, Chumley 2, Russell 2, Heath; Grace (8): McKnott 3, Soloman 2, Boesinger, Kasick, Johnson.
Halftime score: Cascade 31, Grace 23.