BY CORINNE THOMPSON
For The Times
Cherokee Bluff boys coach Benjie Wood was able to take time to relax late in the fourth quarter and cut up a bit with his team, after a dominating first half against North Hall and 62-39 win in the Lanierland semifinals Tuesday in Gainesville.
Usually fiercely involved in the action for the entire game, Wood could sit down late as the Bears (7-4) jumped out to a 26-point lead in the second quarter, setting up a date in the championship game Wednesday against the Gainesville/Chestatee winner.
The Bears, in Year 3 of their program, are going for their first Lanierland championship.
“We have to play as hard as we did tonight, and we have to play together,” Wood said. “We have to stick together because at some point when things go bad you have to persevere through adversity.”
The Bears fought relentlessly to hold the North Hall to nine points in the first half.
Cherokee Bluff senior Corey Thomas paced its early effort with his strong play underneath the basket and his game-high 18 points. Dre Raven finished with 13 points for the Bears, while Shad Dabney added 11.
“I feel like we played together, and for the first time all year I felt like we played all 4 quarters.” Dabney said. “We played so unselfish and I’m proud of my team.”
With the loss, North Hall will face the loser of Gainesville/Chestatee in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday