Vikings hold off Champs' rally
UNIONVILLE — After trailing by as many as 17 points, the Cascade Champions were able to rally and tie the game twice late in the fourth quarter on Friday night at Community.
But after having veteran plays in the post all game long by juniors Corde Lane and Kobe Pride, the Vikings (7-6) capped off the rally attempt with a key defensive play in the back court and iced the game with free throws in the clutch, beating Cascade 63-58.
“We’ve been blessed for years having some pretty big guys down low. In that third quarter when Cascade (4-7) started getting inside-out, it’s like we got stuck on defense. They got really good looks and knocked them down,” Viking coach Robbie Davis said.
With the Champions running short on personnel in the post, Community utilized the height advantage of both Lane and Pride, each of whom stand over six-foot-five.
The pair each had 13 points in the first half and helped the Vikings build a 17-point lead, which included a 17-0 run through the second and into the third quarter.
“We knew we had to start pressuring because we weren’t stopping them much inside at all. We wanted to try and make something happen instead of just waiting,” Cascade coach Mike Edmondson said.
With Cascade unable to match the Vikings’ inside production, Cascade worked an inside-out game to loosen up the defense and saw immediate results.
Noah Maddox drilled a 3-pointer with 2:57 left in the third, igniting a 17-2 run that thrust the Champions back into the mix.
“With the history between Cascade and Community, you know they’re going to get on a run. It wasn’t so much what we weren’t doing, but what they were doing,” Davis said.
Cascade went on to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter, at 54 and 56, both of which came at just over a minute to play.
Cascade just wouldn’t go away, though.
After Lane hit the front end of a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left to give Community a 59-56 lead, Cascade guard Brandon Heath spun on the block for a two-pointer, once again cutting the Vikings’ lead to one.
Playing to win
Seeing a renewed intensity from the Champions, Davis called a timeout and issued a challenge to his team.
“I called a timeout and said let’s play to win the game. Let’s do what we did in the first half and play to win the game,” he said.
With just over 20 seconds left in regulation and only two fouls whistled against them, the Champions were forced to continue fouling in order to stop the clock with enough time to make one final push.
Alex Mitchell took an inbounds pass for Community and was promptly fouled and sent to the line where he connected on both of a one and one situation from the free throw line.
His made baskets allowed the Vikings to set up the press, which forced another Cascade turnover.
Mitchell eventually came up with possession of the ball and drew another foul where he once again delivered both free throws to finish off the game.
While Community looked dominant at times on the offensive end of the floor, Davis says being able to successfully apply pressure in the back court at key times shows the growth of his team.
“In the beginning of the year, we were getting stuck under the basket. They’ve done a much better job. We have a tendency to want to rest on defense and take plays off. We’re not talented enough to take plays off,” he said.
“It says a lot about the growth.”
He also was pleased with the Vikings’ best free throw shooting percentage of the season as well.
As a team, the Vikings made 10 of 12 attempts, including 5 of 6 attempts in the fourth quarter.
“The big thing for me was making free throws down the stretch. That’s the best we’ve shot all year,” Davis added.
For Cascade, the loss doesn’t mar what’s been a good week of basketball for the Champions.
Cascade won two of the three meetings and Edmondson says Friday night’s team was a good learning tool for his program moving towards district play in January.
“We want to be better in January and playing good teams like this will do that. They (Community) are big, just like Eagleville and Fayetteville City. It’s good experience for us and will help us out down the stretch for sure,” he said.
Pride led four Vikings in double figures in Friday night’s win. He scored 20 points, while Lane added 16.
Mitchell chipped in 15 points, while Tyrese Eady scored 10.
For Cascade, it was a career night for Noah Maddox, who led the Champions with 18 points.
Senior Chay Chumley scored 15, while Russell added 13 off the bench.
“Jaden played well tonight. We need him to do that every night. He’s going to have to play like that for us to be successful,” Edmondson said.
Cascade also had a season-best effort shooting from the perimeter, making eight treys in total, with Maddox connecting on half of the baskets.
Friday night marks the second-straight year the Vikings have swept meetings against Cascade.
The win also broke a four-game skid by the Vikings as well.
More to come
Community will travel to non-district foe Moore County on Thursday, while Cascade gears up for another three-game week of basketball.
Cascade will be back on its home court on Tuesday, hosting Forrest, while traveling to Mt. Pleasant on Thursday.
The Champions will host Van Buren County on Friday in the final game of the week.
|Cascade||7 14 16 21 — 58|
|Community||13 19 8 23 — 63|
Cascade: Noah Maddox 18, Chay Chumley 15, Jaden Russell 13, Brandon Heath 9, Seth Countess 3.
Community: Kobe Pride 20, Corde Lane 16, Alex Mitchell 15, Tyrese Eady 10, Jackson Bailey 2.
3-Point goals: Community (5): Mitchell 3, Pride 2; Cascade (8): Maddox 4, Heath 2, Chumley, Russell.
Halftime score: Community 32, Cascade 21.