No. 3 SWEETWATER WILDCATS 74, MCMINN CENTRAL CHARGERS 38
It only took a few minutes for Sweetwater to pull away on Monday night, and the Wildcats cruised to a win over McMinn Central that elevates the program’s record to 22-2 and secures the school’s third straight regular season district title.
“It’s nothing about me as a head coach, it’s all about these guys and the work they’ve put in,” Sweetwater coach Jeremy Henderson said. “We set goals early in the season, and we’ve been striving to meet those goals and staying together. It’s another goal we checked off the list. We want to be playing our best ball at this time next week.”
Dominique Oggs opened the game with a 3-pointer and a putback and Kolbe Billingsley added a trey for an 8-0 start. Aaron Littleton, starting in place of an injured Bryce Johnson, added two layups and Matthew Kile added one before a foul sent Central to the line and stopped the game-opening run at 14-0.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but Bryce Johnson is not in the lineup right now,” Henderson said. “Friday night, he hit his head on the court and he’ll probably miss a few weeks for us, but what about Aaron Littleton stepping up? He had an excellent night. I’m very proud of him. A team that’s going to have a chance to make a run, you have to have players step up like Aaron Littleton. That’s what it’s all about for us.”
After the free throws, though, the Wildcats went right back to a scoring run. Kile sank a long 3-pointer and Austin Long added two layups, both on expert assists from Oggs. McMinn Central answered with their first field goal of the game with time winding down in the first quarter- a jumper from Jordan Ledford- but Kile responded with a layup to put Sweetwater on top 24-4 after one quarter.
Oggs continued the barrage in the second quarter with back-to-back baskets and Kile and Littleton also went to work inside for the Wildcats. Mack Thacker gave Central a boost with two jumpers and Darius Carden added a layup, but the Wildcats continued to add on to the lead. At the halftime break, Sweetwater was up 35-13 after a strong showing on both offense and defense.
Oggs opened the second half the same way he opened the first- with a long 3-pointer. That trey sparked another Sweetwater run, as Kile added two layups and Billingsley added a trey of his own. Oggs added a jumper and a free throw before a layup by Mack Thacker halted the run momentarily. Sweetwater was right back at it moments later, though, as Littleton and Billingsley put in layups and Long hit a wide open 3-pointer. Oggs added a layup and Billingsley sank another 3-pointer as the Wildcats took a 63-22 lead after three quarters.
Sweetwater got experience for the bench in the fourth quarter. Jayce Upton showed off his speed by taking the ball coast to coast for a layup and Kade Correll added two free throws. Christian Baker and Dalen Gibby got into the scorebook moments later with layups, and Upton added one more as the Wildcats coasted to victory, 74-38
MCMINN CENTRAL CHARGERETTES 53, SWEETWATER LADY CATS 28
Just the opposite of the boys game, McMinn Central jumped out to an early advantage and never looked back in snapping the Lady Cats’ 3-game winning streak.
Melia Baker and Carlie Runyan started off with two layups apiece to answer a Kassedy McCool 3-pointer, and Baker added a free throw to make it a 9-3 start for the Chargerettes. Mikalee Martin added a layup, but that was the only scoring for the cold-shooting Lady Cats in the first quarter. Baker added two more layups and Runyan added two free throws as the Chargerettes expanded their lead to 18-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Sweetwater got a layup from Shea Wheeler and free throws from McCool and Mari Robbins to start the second, and the Lady Cats cut the lead to 10. Baker answered with authority, sinking three straight shots, and Runyan added a 3-pointer and a layup. Abbey Barr went to the stripe twice and converted all her free throws, but it was not enough for the Lady Cats, who continued to struggle shooting from the floor. At halftime, the lead had grown to 33-14.
Robbins and Madison Robinson got shots to fall in the third quarter, but once again the Lady Cats offense was limited. Baker added a 3-pointer, Kellan Baker added a jumper, and Runyan scored another basket as the Chargerettes went up 43-18 at the end of three quarters.
Sweetwater once again struggled to find a rhythm on offense in the fourth quarter, and didn’t make a field goal until Emily Allen’s layup to end the game. The Lady Cats did get to the free throw line, however, where they went 8-of-10. On the other side, Central got scoring from four different players off the bench as the Chargerettes cruised to the win.