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High school basketball: Smothering defense sends Cherokee Bluff boys to big win against North Hall


For The Times

Cherokee Bluff’s defense was sharp Friday, especially in the first half against North Hall. 

The Bears kept the Trojans to just 18 points over the first two quarters, an extension of a superb effort earlier this week, and rolled to a 70-50 win in Flowery Branch.

As Cherokee Bluff (11-7, 6-1 Region 7-3A) coach Benjie Wood said, it’s a matter of things clicking, as it proceeds into the second leg of the region schedule.

The Bears ran their full-court defense well for all four quarters, creating double-digit turnovers from the Trojans (7-8, 2-5).

The improvement is tangible for the Bears, which had to battle to a 52-47 win in the first meeting against the Trojans on Dec. 9.

“I think our team is committed to playing as hard as they can and playing together.” Wood said. “If we do those things, lots of good things happen.”

Senior point guard Shad Dabney, a Kansas University football signee, paced the Bears with 17 points, while sophomore Cade Simmons finished with 14 points.

“Coach Wood has been telling us that we are capable of doing much more in games, so we have been trying to take every day one step at a time and just focus on our defense because our defense is going to carry everything over,” Dabney said.

Meanwhile, North Hall struggled to find any rhythm on offense. Robert Terry led the Trojans with seven points, while Andrew Bales knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

Up next, Cherokee Bluff plays Dacula at 11:45 a.m. Monday in Flowery Branch. 

North Hall visits West Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Oakwood.

NORTH HALL GIRLS 49, CHEROKEE BLUFF 43: Kristina Peach scored a game-high 14 points for the Lady Trojans, while Rylee McCall was solid at the free throw line to stave off a late run by the Lady Bears. 

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