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TAD holds off KACHEA down stretch

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
In a tougher than expected season-opener, the TA Dugger Jr. Cyclones managed to hold onto a slim lead down the final six minutes to take their opener 28-22 over the visiting KACHEA Wildcats.

Unlike the opening junior varsity game, points were hard to come by in the final game of the evening as the Jr. Cyclones led 4-3 after the first quarter and 14-10 at the intermission.

It was easy to see it was the opening game of the year for TAD as there were several layups missed and simple mistakes that led to turnovers.

Also, it didn’t help that three of the team’s eighth-graders were on quarantine for contact tracing forcing several of the young players to step up and learn by fire in the contest.

Rhett Slagle’s four points in the opening half paced the Jr. Cyclones with Justin Whitehead adding a trey in the opening 12 minutes. Kaden Gouge, Isaiah Adams, and Jackson Buckles registered two points apiece in the opening half while Brayden Buckles collected one point.

Andrew Joyner had four to pace KACHEA in the opening half while Daniel Joyner drained a trey.

KACHEA pulled to within 22-19 at the end of the third quarter behind Aidan Burns four points. Gouge’s four points helped keep the Jr. Cyclones in the lead heading into the final period.

In the final six minutes, Wallin’s four points were enough to push his team ahead to stay as the Jr. Cyclones started the season 1-0.

Wallin and Gouge led the Jr. Cyclones with six points apiece while Whitehead added five points in the win.

“They fought hard and we appreciate them coming up and putting us in a game situation,” said Jr. Cyclone head coach Barry Johnson. “The more you play in these close games the more you learn.

“I was glad we got to play. We had a lot of seventh graders out there and I think that they will learn from it. When we get those guys back from quarantine that will help settle them down some.

“I was really happy with that. We gave effort so it was a good night for us. We made mistakes but kept recovering from it.”