Cookeville Wins 64-43: Eagles Play Cleveland Saturday
Crossville, TN — Rhea County High basketball Eagles lost 64-43 in consolation round of district 6-AAA tournament on Tuesday to setup a match-up with one of the hottest teams in the state. Rhea County travels to Cleveland Tennessee to play#2 ranked Cleveland High School at 7 pm.
Against # 21 Cookeville, the Eagles faced a tough task as the came in with two big losses in their previous losses. Eagles were close early 5-4 and went into patient mode early in the game as they looked for weakness in Cookeville defense. Cookeville followed with two three point bombs as three turnovers aided the Cookeville offense. A late Hunter Hill three pulled the Eagles within six at 15-9 at end of first quarter. Another nine point quarter was not enough to match the 24 points of Cookeville as Eagles trailed 39-18 at half.
Second half was closer with Cookeville amd Eagles each scoring 25 points but Eagles could not dent the lead. Hunter Hill lead the Eagles with 12 points and Ricky Guthrie also made double figures with 10 points. Also scoring for Eagles: Kaleb Laws 6, Cade Cook 3, Cameron Thunquist 3, Drew Fisher 2, Dylan Palermino 2, Drake Taylor 2 and Kade Vincent 2 points.
The Cleveland team is on a roll to say the least. Seventeen straight wins after December loss to #12 Oak Ridge, including a dramatic 56-54 win over East Hamilton in the District 5-AAA Championship game on Tuesday night, their third district championship in a row. After losing their first two district games to East Hamilton and Walker Valley, they have been very good. In an interesting note, last year the #4 seed from district 6, Cookeville upset the # 1 seeded Cleveland 70-68 in region play. Rhea played Cleveland was December 9, 2016, a 89-52 win.
Cleveland is coached by Jason McCowan, who coached basketball at Rhea County back in 2000’s as assistant coach and then head coach before leaving for Cleveland.
Jason McCowan said, “I have a lot of relationships in Dayton and enjoy my time there.”
“We will be focused on Saturday, not looking past this game.”
“After a show start we have really come together put distractions behind us and are very focused on the game.”
“The players have really had a lot to do with the change since the start. They are a more together and more cohesive unit.”