ASHLAND CITY — Tanner Fletcher’s one-handed dunk helped a Cheatham County comeback as the boys basketball team beat White House-Heritage 50-43 in a key district game.
White House-Heritage used its size advantage to get an early 19-10 lead but the Cubs outscored the opponents from that point 40-24. The Cubs defense forced the taller Heritage into a few turnovers but the momentum really started to swing was when Fletcher tipped a pass and had an open lane to the basket. Someone from the Cheatham bench yelled “dunk!” and that’s exactly what he did.
“As soon as I tipped it, I knew I was going up with it,” Fletcher said. “It didn’t matter if somebody was coming with me or not, I was going up. It makes me feel great because it does get the crowd up and it was a turning point in the game, right after that we went up eight points.”
Cheatham County coach Josh Stuart also applauded the play.
“I love it, that fires me up,” Stuart said. “I’ve said that for a long time, if you’ve got a kid that can dunk it, this is high school basketball, and you don’t see that very often. He’s been able to dunk since his sophomore year but that was his first dunk tonight, so that’s a pretty special deal for him and the team.”
Heritage did score a few baskets to get back to within five points with a 35-30 score, but the Cheatham defense held strong and Tristan Lee made some late free throws to keep the lead.
“Tonight was a great bounce back effort, we have had a few back to back games that were tough heart-breaking losses,” Stuart said. “It was also nice to come home; we’ve played five or six straight road games. We got a big district win against a good opponent, and I thought our seniors stepped up and really took the effort to the next level. They finally took it there and finished the game.”
Cheatham County 55, White House-Heritage 36 (girls): The Lady Cubs did basically what they’ve done all season; play great defense, get to the rim and get to the free throw line to beat White House-Heritage.
Emmy Nelson led the Lady Cubs with 27 points, and Eryn Nelson celebrated their 18th birthday by adding six points.
“I think it was a rough game, but we did play well considering the circumstances,” Emmy Nelson said. “Our starters had more fouls than usual, which made it rough.”
“We could have definitely played better though,” Eryn added. “We forget about the birthday stuff, when we get out there we just go play, it’s natural for us.”
Coach Jim Gibbs said he was proud of his team’s effort, especially in a tough district game against a good opponent.
“Coming out I thought we played hard, played aggressive, and jumped out to a nine-point lead,” Gibbs said. “We were able to use that to our advantage to build a comfortable halftime lead. It was a very physical game, it was one of those where you just want to make sure you come out of it healthy. It was definitely a good win for us in district, it keeps us a game up in the standings.”
GIRLS BOX SCORE
W H-Heritage (36): Staten Holmes 17, Kelsey Russle 7, Eimy Esparza 6, Alex Green 6
Cheatham (55): Emmy Nelson 27, Abbi Douglas 12, Eryn Nelson 6, Carlie Hogan 4, Alli Douglas 3, Macy Douglas 2, Jesse Bumpus 1
BOYS BOX SCORE
W H- Heritage (43): Josh Bale 17, Jacob Runkle 12, Dylan Stephens 6, Val Courtney 4, Ben Branlund 2, Noah Owsley 2
Cheatham (50): Tanner Fletcher 14, Preston Carter 13, Tristan Lee 11, Jonathan Mayberry 8, Charlie Martin 4