Blue Raiders take down top-ranked Fulton

­By PATRICK MacCOON Banner Sports Writer
Posted 12/19/16

JOHNSON CITY — While not perfect anymore, the Cleveland boys basketball team came away with a signature win in the Champion Chevrolet Shootout at Science Hill High School in Johnson City this …

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Blue Raiders take down top-ranked Fulton

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JOHNSON CITY — While not perfect anymore, the Cleveland boys basketball team came away with a signature win in the Champion Chevrolet Shootout at Science Hill High School in Johnson City this weekend.

With 10 players scoring at least three or more points, the Blue Raiders responded to its first loss of the season the night before by winning a 64-52 battle against the defending Class AA state champion Fulton Falcons Saturday night.

Despite a 76-56 loss to the new top team in Class AAA in Oak Ridge Friday night, now third-ranked Cleveland (12-1) came home proud of its efforts against some of the state’s best competition three-plus hours up the road.

“Playing two teams as good or better than us and two of the best coaches in the state of Tennessee (Jody Wright and Aaron Green), presented a pretty large task for us,” CHS 10th year head coach Jason McCowan said. “I was very proud of our kids for playing hard and learning how to not only compete with both teams, but coming away with a good win against a very tough Fulton team.”

In handing the Falcons (5-1) their first loss of the season and containing last season’s state tournament MVP Trey Davis to 10 points, the Blue Raiders took down a No. 1 ranked team by CoachT.com in their first encounter with one of such rank since they lost close battles to McCallie and Science Hill in the 2011-12 season.

KK Curry led the way with 12 points and Dionte Ware finished with 10 as the big men were the only scorers for Cleveland in double figures. However, the bench provided a major spark to hold off a talented Fulton squad.

After scoring 43 points, dishing out 10 assists and recording five steals in a junior varsity win over Rhea County Thursday night, freshman point guard Jacobi Wood scored seven points off the bench in the fourth quarter and knocked down one of the Blue Raiders’ four 3-pointers Saturday. Taye Cobb also scored seven points off the bench.

Cleveland put forth a strong effort from the free-throw line, sinking a season-best percentage of .864 (19-of-22).

“A lot of people doubted us to begin the season, so we just have been stepping up to the plate and showing what the Cleveland Blue Raiders are capable of,” sophomore forward Dionte Ware said. “Beating Fulton was not easy, but we stuck to what we have been doing the whole season and tursted our teammates to get the job done. We all have each others’ back.”

Just six wins shy of its season mark over the past four seasons, Cleveland will take a week off for Christmas and will return to action for the Cleveland Holiday Classic from Dec. 28-30.

The Blue Raiders will take on East Ridge, Clarksville Northeast and Meigs County in the three day tournament at Raider Arena.

“We learned a lot about ourselves as a team this weekend,” McCowan said. “This weekend was just another piece of the puzzle for us. We look forward to continuing to improve as a team.”

GAME SUMMARIES

BOYS

Fulton 13 5 16 18 — 52

Cleveland 9 19 18 18 — 64

FALCONS (52) — Markeese Sheely 15, Edward Lacy 10, Trey Davis 10, Anderson 4, Berry 3, Davis 2, Cates 2, Filer 2, Mobley 2, Davis 1, Page 1

BLUE RAIDERS (64) — KK Curry 12, Dionte Ware 10, Cobb 7, Wood 7, K. Ware 6, Davis 6, Bradford 5, Berry 4, Wykle 3, Patterson 3.

3-point goals: Fulton 3 (Lacy 2, Sheely); Cleveland 4 (Davis, Ware, Patterson, Wood).

Free throws: Fulton 10-of-23; Cleveland 19-of-22.

Records: Fulton 5-1; Cleveland 12-1.

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