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Fleming’s buzzer beater caps Viking comeback

By RICKEY CLARDY ~ Sports Writer
Posted 1/24/22

UNIONVILLE — The last time the Cascade Champions and Community Vikings played in a district basketball game was 2013.Nine years later, the excitement level was at a fever pitch as Maki Fleming …

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Fleming’s buzzer beater caps Viking comeback


UNIONVILLE — The last time the Cascade Champions and Community Vikings played in a district basketball game was 2013.
Nine years later, the excitement level was at a fever pitch as Maki Fleming drilled a 30-footer at the buzzer to complete a Community fourth-quarter comeback as the Vikings defeated the Champions 54-52 in a District 7-AA game Thursday night.
"Maki is such a competitor," Viking coach Robbie Davis. 
"He comes from a family of competitors and guys who want to win."    
The game stayed close in the opening quarter as both teams fought to gain the upper hand.  Lucas Clanton scored seven points for Cascade (13-6, 2-1) while Jacob Flannagan managed four points for Community (8-12, 2-0) as the contest went to the second quarter tied at 11-11.
The teams traded baskets for most of the quarter before Cascade went on a 5-0 run to take a 23-18 lead. 
Six Cascade players scored while four Vikings tallied points as the Champions took a 23-20 lead into halftime.
The game continued nip and tuck before the Champions found some daylight in the third quarter. 
Jackson Davis scored eight points to lead Cascade as the Champs finished the quarter with a 9-0 run and took a 39-28 lead to the fourth quarter.
After the Vikings scored the first six points to cut the Cascade lead to 39-34, the Champs regained their momentum with five points of their own and led 44-34 with 4:49 to play.
Cascade led 46-39 before Lovvorn got hot fast with seven consecutive points, including a 4-point play and a trey that tied the game at 46-46 with 1:57 left.
A Clanton field goal put the Champions up before Fleming, who scored the last seven Viking points, connected on a field goal with 1:03 left to put Community up 49-48.
The Champions appeared to gain control as two free throws each by Davis and Clanton put Cascade up 52-49 with nine seconds left.
The Champs chose to foul as the Vikings raced down the court on their next possession. 
Fleming connected on the two free throws to cut the Cascade lead to 52-51 with five seconds remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Lovvorn got a hand on the Cascade pass, allowing Fleming to pick the ball up near half court. 
The sophomore looked at the clock and dribbled twice before connecting on the long shot at the buzzer to complete the Community 26-point final quarter. 
Fleming scored 18 points while Lovvorn added 12 to pace the Vikings.
Clanton scored 14 points to lead three Champions in double figures. 
Davis added 12 points while Carter had 11.
The Vikings were 13-of-18 at the foul line while Cascade was 14-of-19.
Each team had 13 two-pointers while the Vikings had one more trey as the final stats for each team were remarkably close.
"I think we came into the game expecting what they were going to bring to us," Coach Chris Lawson of the Champions said. "I think we expected to score a few more points than what we scored."
"We've got to learn how to finish ballgames," Lawson added. "You've got to give credit to Community.  They stayed in there and hit a shot to win it."
"I thought we got whipped on the boards," Lawson said. "They really went hard for rebounds."
"We knew what was coming tonight. We knew we had our hands full," Davis said. "This was really nice for our guys to just step up and compete."
"What got us to that point was we played defense. For the first time all year we stepped up and defended," Davis added.
Did Davis consider an intentional miss on the second foul shot before the final steal and game-winning shot?
"With five seconds and a timeout, I told our guys to make both of them," Davis said.  "Then it's a steal or a foul."                     
The Vikings hosted Grundy County for homecoming in a District 7-AA game Friday night while Cascade plays at Watertown on Monday.
Cascade      11 12 16  13 — 52
Community  11   9   8  26 — 54
Cascade: Lucas Clanton 14, Jackson Davis 12, Justis Carter 11, Saebyn Burris 3, Thomas Gentry, Jayden Gulick 5, Isaac McElroy 3, Chance Brown 2, Zach Crosslin 2.
Community: Maki Fleming 18, Stratton Lovvorn 12, Cole Crockett 6, Jason Cullum 3, Emery Smith, Jacob Flannagan 7, Corey Paterick 3, Trace Broiles 3, Ramon Hernandez 2, Noah Newkirk.
3-Point goals: Cascade (4): Clanton 2, Gulick, McElroy; Community (5): Lovvorn 2, Fleming, Paterick, Broiles.
Halftime score: Cascade 23, Community 20.


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