Chero­kee County boys, Sand Rock girls earn No. 1 seeds

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS - By Shan­non Fa­gan

CEN­TRE — The Chero­kee County War­riors are back in a fa­mil­iar spot.

The three-time de­fend­ing county bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment cham­pion War­riors were tabbed the top seed of this year’s var­sity boys tour­na­ment by the county bas­ket­ball coaches last Wed­nes­day evening.

The tour­na­ment, hosted by Sand Rock, will be played Thurs­day through Satur­day at the Gads­den State-Chero­kee Arena. Ad­mis­sion is $5 per day. The War­riors (9-4) be­gin de­fense of their crown on Jan. 13 at 5: 30 p. m. against the win­ner of Gaylesville (6-8) and Sand Rock (4-10). Those two teams play on Thurs­day at 7:30 p.m.

Spring Gar­den (8-5) tan­gles with Cedar Bluff (6-8) in the other tour­na­ment semi­fi­nal game on Jan. 13 at 8:30 p.m.

The boys tour­na­ment ti­tle game is set for Satur­day at 7 p.m.

Chero­kee County boys coach Neal Wester said the tour­na­ment seed­ing “doesn’t re­ally mat­ter” be­cause of how com­pet­i­tive the teams are in the county, par­tic­u­larly this sea­son.”

“It doesn’t put points on the board,” Wester said. “Our guys know it’s im­por­tant ev­ery time they step on the court. I think they’ll be fired up to play, and to try and prove we’re the best. That’s our goal.

“Each year is a new team. We’ve got young guys who have moved up and guys who are play­ing dif­fer­ent roles. Even though we won it last year, they feel like they have some­thing to prove this year with­out the guys we had last year. They’re look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge.”

On the girls’ side, Sand Rock (11-4) earned the top seed. The Lady Wild­cats open tour­na­ment play on Fri­day at 4 p.m. against the win­ner of Cedar Bluff (4-11) and Gaylesville (3-11).

The Cedar Bluff-Gaylesville game is set to tip off on Thurs­day at 6 p.m.

Three-time de­fend­ing county cham­pion Spring Gar­den (10-5) bat­tles Chero­kee County (8-5) in the other tour­na­ment semi­fi­nal on Fri­day at 7 p.m.

The tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship game is sched­uled for Satur­day at 5:30 p.m.

Like Wester, Sand Rock girls coach Lisa Bates doesn’t put too much stock in seed­ing.

“I’d rather be on top in the end than at the be­gin­ning,” she said. “I just hope we show up and play like I know they can play.

“It (top seed) doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it does put you in a bet­ter po­si­tion. There are some tough teams this year. Three of the teams in the tour­na­ment have re­ally close records. It re­ally was not set as to who was go­ing to have the best over­all record. We weren’t sure where we were go­ing to fall, but the girls can be proud of be­ing No. 1. Maybe they’ll play like a No. 1, I hope.”

The last time Sand Rock’s girls won the county tour­na­ment was 2010. Bates knows it will be a chal­lenge for the Lady Wild­cats to end that six- year drought.

“It’s go­ing to be which­ever team dur­ing that three- day stretch plays well,” she said. “Noth­ing’s for sure. It de­pends on who plays well on those days -- who hits some shots, who plays some de­fense, who re­ally wants it more.

I’m hop­ing we can step up to the chal­lenge, be­cause it is go­ing to be a chal­lenge. I think it’s go­ing to be a re­ally good tour­na­ment.”

In the B- team boys tour­na­ment, Spring Gar­den takes on Cedar Bluff at 4 p.m. on Thurs­day, fol­lowed by Chero­kee County and Sand Rock at 5 p.m. The cham­pi­onship game is set for Satur­day at 4 p.m.

Chero­kee County and Sand Rock’s girls will do bat­tle for the B-team girls cham­pi­onship, which is sched­uled for Satur­day at 3 p.m.

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