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  • Travis Dockery

Hayesville splits evening's events with Copper Basin

(Photo by Kelli Graves) Breanna Abrams looks for a way around a Lady Cougar as Hayesville hosts Copper Basin.

Hayesville basketball squads began a three-game marathon on Thursday, Jan. 26 as they welcomed Copper Basin, TN into The Hive. What was originally scheduled to be a four-game evening was trimmed to a varsity-only affair when the Cougars canceled the JV portion of the evening.

No JV games meant the varsity Lady Jackets were the first team to take the floor looking for a victory. Copper Basin entered the night heavily favored, but that mean the Lady Jackets weren't going to fight to defend their home court. The opening minutes of the game saw the teams feel each other out as offensive looked for cracks in defenses. Hayesville tried to use speed to overcome the Lady Cougar's size advantage. A strong quarter from the home team limited the damage and at the end of the quarter, Copper Basin's lead was a small 10-4.

Quarter two opened with a Lady Jacket basket from Emma Ashe just inside the arch to close the gap to 2 points. Ava Shook showed off her speed with a steal and a layup and foul for an old-fashioned 3-point play. The Cougars found rhythm and started to grow their lead, forcing coach Chad McClure to call a timeout and talk things over with the Lady Jackets. Momentum stayed with the visitors and the Lady Cougars entered the locker room with a 22-13 lead.

Lila Roberts ignited the Jacket faithful with a 3-pointer early on in the third quarter. The Lady Cougars answered with a 3 of their own but Ashe found the bottom of the basket to keep Hayesville's offensive going. Copper Basin began to pull away thanks to rebounds on both ends of the floor. The quarter ended with the Lady Jackets trailing 29-18.

The fourth quarter started with Brooke Graves sinking two foul shots after being fouled while going up for a shot under the basket. Copper Basin's height advantage really came into play in the final quarter with rebounds and drawing fouls. Hayesville put up a good fight but came up short, losing 45-22.

For the Yellow Jackets, the game started with a defensive rebound from Kyle Lunsford who fed Ethan Hooper for a fast break layup and the lead. The Cougars' approach early on seemed to be to attempt to slow the pace of Hayesville's run and gun offense. The Jackets showed they too could play that game, creating open looks at the basket with multiple passes and offensive rebounds. Copper Hill held strong, but the quarter ended with Hayesville leading 8-5.

(Photo by Kelli Graves) Hayesville's Logan Caldwell fires a pass to the corner.

Momentum seemed to come off the bench with the Jackets to start the second quarter. The Cougars refused to go away however and the visitors clawed back to within striking distance. A 3-pointer from Hooper helped stop Copper Basin's run. On defense for the Jackets, Taylor McClure came up clutch with defensive rebounds, steals and forced turnovers. By the half, Hayesville had built up a comfortable 32-15 lead.

The first point for the Jackets in the second half came from the hands of Seth Hedden during a trip to the foul line. On the other end of the court, the Cougars started heating up from the arch. Fortunately for Jacket Nation, so did Hooper.

Coach Cottrell and his staff began to put different rotations on the floor to allow players to rest while the Jackets kept up their fast pace. As the Cougars started relying on the 3-ball, Hayesville began to work the ball down low and driving the lane, creating foul possibilities. The Jackets took the floor in the fourth up 42-28.

Hayesville slowed their pace, working the clock and continued to show patience, waiting on open looks or drawing a foul. On defense, the Jackets forced Copper Basin to pass multiple times, taking valuable time off the clock. Cade Denton made the most of his playing time, with 10 fourth-quarter points and a pair of steals. That performance helped seal the deal for the Jackets with a 62-41 victory.

All four Hayesville teams will be in The Hive on Friday, Jan. 27 to host Smoky Mountain Conference opponent Swain County. Action will start at 4 p.m. with the JV girls.

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