Thanks to a pair of wins to end the regular season, the varsity Lady Yellow Jackets are riding a wave of momentum into the Smoky Mountain Conference tournament. Hayesville picked up an easy win in Andrews Monday, Feb.10 by the final of 75-31. The Lady Jackets followed that up with a 50-46 upset win over Cherokee in The Hive Tuesday, Feb. 11.
After cruising to victory over the Lady Wildcats in Andrews, Hayesville returned home to host Cherokee for their final regular season game. The Lady Braves entered the game ranked No. 7 in the state and picked to win by most so-called experts. However, no one told the Lady Jackets they were sup- posed to lose.
It was an offensive show early on as the teams combined for 37 total points in the first quarter. Not only was Hayesville able to keep pace with the Lady Braves’ attack, the home team ended the opening quarter with a 20-17 lead. Quarter two saw scoring slow for both teams, but the drop in production was dramatic for Hayesville. The Lady Jackets managed just 5 points while Cherokee added 13 to their side of the board to carry a 30-25 lead into the locker room at the half.
The rally was on for Hayesville as the third quarter developed. The Lady Jackets were again able to find open lanes to get clear shots at the basket. The Lady Braves weren’t exactly shut down, scoring 12 points, but Hayesville took the quarter with 17 points which tied the game at 42-42. Defenses took over in the fourth quarter and each bucket became priceless. Cherokee fought hard for 4 points but the Lady Jackets managed to double-up their opponent with 8 points which gave Hayesville the 50-46 win.
“That’s a huge win for us,” said Hayesville head coach Chad McClure. “I think that’s our first win over Cherokee in five seasons and I couldn’t be more proud of my team.” The win clinched at least a share of third place in the SMC which McClure addressed. “We play in a tough conference. Three teams in our conference are ranked in the top seven in the state. To be in the mix with those teams says a lot about our team.”
Next up for the Lady Jackets is the SMC tournament. Brackets were unavailable at press time.
LEADERS VS CHEROKEE
Breanna Foster: 15 points, 11 rebounds.
Lizzy Brusini: 11 points.
Jade Patterson: 10 points.
Jocelin Buckner: 10 points.