Cheatham hosted Sycamore on Tuesday night in what would be the Lady War Eagles’ first win in Ashland City in six years, winning 38-35 while the Cubs were able to pull away for a 66-56 win in the boys’ game.
The two girls’ teams went back and forth throughout the first half until a Katelyn Sisco free throw gave Cheatham a 22-21 lead just before the end of the second period. Sisco led Cheatham with 10 points.
Sycamore was able to take the lead at the end of the third period, but just by one point yet again.
The fourth period was no different than the three before it. Sycamore’s Izzy McPherson knocked down a jumper from the elbow to help the Lady War Eagles take a 36-35 lead with just 58 seconds left. She would go on to hit two free throws just seconds later to give Sycamore a 38-35 lead. McPherson’s 22 points led all scorers on the night. Her teammate, McKinleigh Young, scored 12 points.
“It’s been six years since we beat Cheatham here,” Sycamore coach Cody King said. “None of our girls, even the seniors, have won here. It’s huge, I’m really happy for them. There were a lot of nerves, it was a big game in a big atmosphere.”
The atmosphere was electric, as it usually is between these two schools. Playoff environment was the description both coaches gave it.
“We’ve been here before, we know the environment,” King said. “It’s fun, but the student section and pep clubs are hyped up. It’s a playoff atmosphere and both of these teams are competing for a district championship.”
“I thought my kids came in and played under control,” Cheatham coach Jim Gibbs said. “I thought we tried to do the things we worked on, but it really came down to a possession or two and they made a play at the end to take the lead. You have to give them credit.”
In the boys contest, after a letdown loss to White House, the Cubs were looking to get back on track Tuesday night, but Sycamore didn’t just give way. Cheatham did take a 17-13 lead after the first period and grew that lead to 36-26 but Sycamore coach Fisher Bailey decided to try something new.
Bailey kept his team on the court during the half, citing slow starts in the third forcing him to change their routine.
“We’ve been struggling with third-quarter letdowns, so we came up with the idea to just completely change what we do at halftime,” Bailey said. “We didn’t even go to the locker room, we stayed out, said what we needed to say and then we started working on some things that I think are a part of that third-quarter letdown, and it worked.”
It worked all right, allowing Sycamore to pull to within two points at 49-47 late in the third period. Cheatham’s Derek Ballew hit a 3-pointer just before the end of the third, giving the Cubs a 52-47 lead. Cheatham never looked back from that point.
Ballew’s 3-pointer allowed Cheatham to give itself a little breathing room. After settling down, Cheatham really started to pull away thanks to two three-pointers from Carter Pardue and five points from Maverick Lee in the period, who led the Cubs with 17 points.
Cheatham would go on to win 66-56.
“We had some other guys step up,” Cheatham coach Aaron Nicholson said. “I told them in the locker room that that’s what makes us a great team; when you have other guys that can step up and score, you can only guard so many people. It was great to watch those guys step up like that.”
“I just told my guys I’m proud of them,” Bailey said. “We haven’t really been getting a whole lot of respect from pretty much anybody, including some kids at our school. Tonight, we came out and showed that we deserve to be a part of the discussion.”
Cheatham is scheduled for two home contests next week with both Harpeth and Rossview coming to town. Harpeth on Tuesday while Rossview will make the trip Friday evening.
Sycamore’s next scheduled contest is Friday night as the War Eagles are set to host Fairview.
Sycamore (38): Izzy McPherson 22, McKinleigh Young 12, Anna Knight 4
Cheatham (35): Katelyn Sisco 10, Gracie Weakley 9, Montana Lee 7, Ellie Pardue 4, Torrin Pfeffer 4, Macie Harter 1
Cheatham (66): Maverick Lee 17, Tucker Carter 14, Carter Pardue 13, Ethen Harris 6, Syler White 6, Derek Ballew 5, Treyvon White 3, Grayson Cox 2
Sycamore (56): Rhett Hunt 16, Austin Morris 13, Lucas Morris 13, Josh Strother 8, Marshall Bega 4, Elijah Harris 2, Jessie Lewis 2