By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
The Sequoyah girls basketball team dished out a 58-30 victory against Cascia Hall Friday night inside The Place Where They Play.
The Lady Indians led 15-3 after the first quarter and set the cruise control for the final 24 minutes of action in the blowout win over the Commandos. Lady Indians coach Larry Callison said he wished his team played with more intensity down the stretch despite the 28-point victory.
“We have the type of basketball team that will drive a coach crazy,” he said. “We’re very talented and we’ve played pretty well in big games, but we don’t give that effort and that competitiveness when we don’t play tough competition.
“I know people will say that we won big and I shouldn’t be griping, but I’m looking down the road. The playoffs are right around the corner, and we’re going to have to play against good teams night in and night out. We can’t play the way we did tonight and expect to win.”
Sequoyah shot 46 percent (23-for-50) from the field, 41.7 percent (5-for-12) from downtown and 46.7 percent (7-for-15) at the free-throw line. The Lady Indians were led in scoring by Jhonnett Cookson, who finished with a game-high 15 points. Audrey Ballou filled the stat sheet with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and three steals in just 18 minutes. She was only 4-for-10 from the field, but she finished 3-for-4 from behind the arc.
Cascia Hall was limited to 24.4 percent (10-for-41) shooting overall, 28.6 percent (4-for-14) from downtown and 50 percent (6-for-12) from the line. Reagan Derr led the Commandos with 12 points, and Kennedy cox finished with 10.
Sequoyah held large advantages in rebounds (38-27), fewer turnovers (13-20), steals (16-8), points in the paint (24-10), points off turnovers (20-6), and second-chance points (19-2).
One omission from the lineup against Cascia Hall was Kelsey Leach. She earned the start at guard but played only seven minutes due to an ankle injury suffered against Keys on Tuesday, Callison said. She did not attempt a shot, but she was on the floor long enough to record two rebounds and a steal.
“When Kelsey is not running the show for us, we seem to get a little lost,” Callison said. “We didn’t play her much tonight because of the injury, and it showed with how we struggled running our offense.”
Boys: Sequoyah 57, Cascia Hall 53
The Sequoyah boys basketball team earned a hard-fought 57-53 triumph over Cascia Hall Friday night.
“The game was close the last time we played them at their place. They have a good team, and they played their game and controlled us tonight,” Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said. “We wanted to push the ball and play with tempo, but we weren’t able to accomplish that. On a night when we didn’t play as good as we hoped, we were still able to get a win.”
Sequoyah never trailed in the game, but the Indians could never seem to put away the Commandos until the final buzzer. The home team held a 30-24 advantage at halftime and built a 48-37 lead after three quarters. The Indians even scored the first two points of the fourth quarter to build their largest lead of the game at 51-37.
The Commandos did not falter, however, as they embarked on an 11-0 run from the 7:16 mark to the 3:48 mark that saw them get within three at 51-48. A Zach Parish layup at 2:20 ended the Sequoyah drought, but Michael Bloomfield connected on a three-point basket at 1:44 and Derek Cole tied the game at 53-53 with a layup with just 57 seconds to play.
Parish drove to the bucket on the Indians’ next possession and earned a foul with 28 seconds left on the clock. He calmly converted both free throws to put the home team back up two, and he then blocked the game-tying attempt by Adam Outlaw with two seconds remaining. Elijah Tucker capped the victory with two insurance free throws after getting fouled on the rebound.
“We had some guys step up and make some big free throws down the stretch. We also had a big defensive stop on Cascia’s final possession,” Herrin said. “Of our 16 games this season, all of them have been close except for three. Our kids are used to having to play all four quarters to win. We’re getting battle-tested and hopefully ready for the playoffs.”
In the battle of No. 5’s, it was Cascia Hall’s Bryce Carter (21 points) who outdueled Sequoyah’s Caisen Green (18), but Green would get the last laugh as his team would earn the victory. Tucker was the only other Indian in double figures, as he finished with 10 points. Patrick Kaltenbacher aided the cause for the Commandos with 10 points of his own.
Sequoyah shot 47.6 percent (20-for-42) from the field, 35.3 percent (6-for-17) from downtown and 78.6 percent (11-for-14) at the free-throw line. Cascia Hall shot 51.2 percent (22-for-43) from the field, 27.3 percent (3-for-11) from downtown and 54.5 percent (6-for-11) at the line.
Both teams had 24 rebounds, and they were dead even in points in the paint (24-24), turnovers (14-14), assists (11-11), and bench points (7-7). The Commandos held a 20-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Sequoyah star B.J. Leach was seen getting looked at after the game, and Herrin said Leach played at 60 percent Tuesday night due to an injury.
“He has an issue with his shooting hand right now that we have to get checked out,” he said. “I appreciate his effort gutting it out the way he did, but that definitely affected his play.”
Leach finished with just six points and one rebound, while turning the ball over three times.
Girls: Sequoyah 58, Cascia Hall 30
Cascia Hall 3 12 11 4 30
Sequoyah 15 16 14 13 58
CASCIA HALL: Reagan Derr 12, Kennedy Cox 10, Marjorie Rooney 3, Emma Hills 3, Greer Walseth 2, Regan Beyers 0, Liza Lang 0, Sarah Pixley 0, Morgan Peters 0, Molleigh McCann 0, McKenzie Miley 0, Savvy Hart 0, Rachel Smith 0. Totals 10-41 6-12 30.
SEQUOYAH: Jhonnett Cookson 15, Audrey Ballou 11, Cenia Hayes 8, Loren Young 7, Amy Tiger 5, Jakkie Wright 5, Sierra Polk 3, Taylor Owl 2, Feather Pacheco 2, Kelsey Leach 0, Courtney Tiger 0. Totals 23-50 7-15 58.
Boys: Sequoyah 57, Cascia Hall 53
Cascia Hall 10 14 13 16 53
Sequoyah 12 18 18 9 57
CASCIA HALL: Bryce Carter 21, Patrick Kaltenbacher 10, Derek Cole 9, Hayden Hedrick 4, Will Daugherty 4, Michael Bloomfield 3, Adam Outlaw 2, Jack Stagg 0. Totals 22-43 6-11 53.
SEQUOYAH: Caisen Green 18, Elijah Tucker 10, Zach Parish 9, Quinton Johnston 7, B.J. Leach 6, Elan Eagle 3, Kris Collins 3, Kyle Sanders 1, Nick Kingfisher 0. Totals 20-42 11-14 57.