Sequoyah teams returned to District 5-3A play on their home court on Jan. 17.
The night ended with both Chiefs teams dropping close games to Lenoir City teams that are ahead of them in the standings.
“Right now, we are starting to make that turn as a team. This was one of the best, if not the best, defensive efforts by my kids this far,” Bowers said. “They are finally starting to buy into the defensive scheme. They are trusting each other and taking responsibility.”
Sequoyah (4-13; 2-2) held Lenoir City (15-2; 5-0) to only one field goal in the fourth quarter and five 3-pointers — all in the first half.
“We got beat by a handful tonight, but there is not much to complain about because the defensive effort was enormous,” Bowers said.
Kaiti Johnson led Sequoyah with 20 points — seven of those coming in the fourth quarter. Emily Hunt finished in double figures with 11 points.
Sequoyah trailed by four points at the half, but by eight going into the final frame. Johnson and Hunt were the only Lady Chiefs to score in the second half.
“I felt like our youth may have caught up with us in the last two minutes of the game. It happened against William Blount the other night around the same time,” Bowers said. “We just have not been in those situations — when to go or when not to go. Those little things that cannot necessarily be taught have to come with experience.”
Sequoyah lost to Willam Blount by six on Jan. 14, but has held its opponents below 50 points for four games consecutively.
“Come tournament time, now that we have some of these under our belt, we will be more comfortable if it comes to that situation,” Bowers added.
The Panthers’ Kobe Franklin shot 6 for 6 at the free throw line while Sequoyah (3-15; 1-3) was held to only four points from the floor, all from Tyler Kilby, in a 13-6 fourth quarter.
“We have heard all season how we have never been in this position before. I understand what people mean, but we also know how to play basketball and what to do,” Sequoyah coach Joel Bailey said. “(Tonight) was one of those moments where that experience showed. (Lenoir City) picked it up and took it to another notch and we have to learn when it is time to take it up to another notch.”
Scoring was spread out early on with Eli Cook, Josh Ellis, Blake Summey and Kilby all scoring in the first frame. A 9-9 second quarter — with four more points from Summey — kept Sequoyah within two at the break.
“Lenoir City did a great job of starting quickly. That is one of the biggest things for us is we have had to battle back. I am proud of the maturity they have shown to continue to fight,” Bailey said. “This season, if we get down we will get down on ourselves. I have to do a better job of keeping the energy up, but I thought they did a great job to push on.”
Cook picked up the scoring in the third quarter, knocking down two 3-pointers for three on the day, while Billy Barr and Jake Massingale added buckets.
Lenoir City escaped with 15 points from the fourth quarter after Parker Trammell hit five shots from the floor. Sequoyah quieted down Trammell in the fourth, but Franklin’s shooting at the line helped the Panthers to edge out.
“One of the things with us this season is that every team tends to play their best game when they play us. We wanted to try to mix up defenses to give him different looks and make him have to work a little harder,” Bailey said. “We wanted to try to contain him a little more than we have done. Good players find ways and he did that.”
Ellis and Summey added a foul shot each in the fourth, but Sequoyah was not able to keep pace.
Sequoyah was without Brady Robbins, a senior who has missed the past few games with a broken nose.
“Not having Brady Robbins available on the floor, with his senior leadership, kind of hit us hard. But I am proud of the way we took a beating against William Blount and then to come out and play the way that they did,” Bailey noted.
Robbins may be able to return as early as Jan. 19.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.