The Rhea County boys and girls squads visited the Cleveland Blue Raiders on Tuesday and split victories with the host teams.
The Rhea County girls jumped out to an early lead, ending the first quarter up 11-3. The Golden Eagles played a tough zone defense, while the Lady Raiders struggled with their perimeter shooting in the first period.
Although Cleveland managed to start knocking down some shots in the second period, Rhea picked up the pace on offense and went into the second half with a 12-point lead. The third quarter saw both teams put up 14, as the Lady Raiders kept pace but could not close the gap.
The final period saw some tough defense from both teams, but the Golden Eagles outscored Cleveland 11-8, with seven of the 11 points coming from the free throw line. Rhea County’s Amber Levi led all scorers with 15, while Nora Berry led Cleveland with 13.
Next up were the Cleveland and Rhea County boys’ teams. Cleveland started the game off strong outscoring Rhea by 10 points in the first period that ended with a 9-3 Cleveland run. The Golden Eagles bounced back in the second quarter outscoring the Blue Raiders 22-17 and cut the Cleveland lead to five, with five of their players scoring and Logan Hunter hitting two of his game high four 3-pointers in the period.
The second half opened with the score at 38-35 in Cleveland’s favor. The Blue Raiders scored back to back 3-pointers, courtesy of TyQuan and Cantrel Ware, to start off the third quarter.
The Blue Raiders began a full court press and clamped down on the Golden Eagles, only allowing them to hit three field goals in the third. Down nine points to open the final period, Rhea County did not fold and matched the Raiders shot for shot.
In the end Cleveland’s Kendrick Thompson scored 11 of his game-high 22 in the fourth quarter, nine of which came with under two minutes left in the game. Cleveland went on to win 63-54, with Noel Patterson and Logan Hunter leading the Golden eagles with 12 each and Kendrick Thomson of Cleveland leading all scorers with 22.
Cleveland head coach Jason McCowan summed up his team’s victory saying, “We came out with great intensity, Rhea County is a team that never gives up and they battled their way back into it. Once we let them back into it, it was a game from there on. It became a matter of whether we could get some stops late and then make them really have to come out and guard us. And we were really able to do that there in the end, getting a couple of steals, stops, and then getting some easy transition lay-ups really made it easy for us in the end.”
Cleveland 03 13 14 08 -- 38
Rhea County 11 17 14 11 -- 53
Cleveland (38) – Nora Berry 13, Bre Ware 6, Jenna Scoggins 5, Hallea McClendon4, Amber Morman 2, Timyrah Phillips 2, Matilda Lee 2
Rhea County (53) – Amber Levi 15, Julie Brown 8, Shelby Thurman 7, Jessee Wallis 6, Katie Loden 5, Kenzi Freeman 5, Megan Revis 3
3-Point Goals: Cleveland 1, Rhea County 3
Cleveland 18 17 13 15 -- 63
Rhea County 08 22 09 15 -- 54
Cleveland (63) – Kendrick Thompson 22, Cantrel Ware 15, TyQuan Ware 14, Jonathan Vecchio 4, Colby Tatum 3, Isaiah Beaty 2, James McRee 2, Anfernee Scott 1
Rhea County (54) – Noel Patterson 12, Logan Hunter 12, Lee Hill 8, Bryan Harrison 7, Meechie Patterson 7, Keith Hall 4
3-Point Goals: Cleveland 8, Rhea County 6