No. 7 Sequoyah holds off pesky Wolverines

No. 7 Sequoyah 57, Woodstock 54

Cherokee County powers met at the War Lodge in Hickory Flat, Sequoyah entering at a perfect 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAA while Woodstock, limping in with injuries at 4-4 without South Alabama-signee Devyn Lowe.

On a rare Monday night showdown, the Lady Chiefs and Wolverines went back and forth with both sides trading runs. Sequoyah led 12-11 after one behind Alyssa Cagle’s five points. The Lady Chiefs were on the verge of a taking an commanding early double digit lead if it wasn’t for the hot shooting of senior Taylor Reed. The long ball threat scored seven of her 10 points in the first quarter and drained three threes on the night while using a flare screen to get open on the opposite wing.

In the second quarter, Cagle picked up a hockey assist as she dished to Emily Seres who found AnnaLynne Bennett on a nice interior pass to go up 19-13.

Sequoyah opened up a quick 24-13 lead on a 12-2 run and looked like they were about to put the banged up Wolverines away, but athletic senior slasher Bralise Reese got free and powered a 13-4 run with six of her game-high 16 points in the frame, leading the Wolverines into the half trailing 28-26.

The Lady Chiefs sprung out of the half quickly using five points from Colby Carden. The junior combo guard sank her seventh point of the quarter to give Sequoyah a 40-31 lead with 1:37 left in the third. Sequoyah finished out the period using a Lauren Schletty basket to maintain a 44-33 lead heading into the fourth.

In the blink of an eye, Woodstock crawled its way back into the game riding a 10-2 surge to cut the Sequoyah lead to 46-43. Senior point guard Kamryn Forrester was the catalyst, scoring six of her 10 points in the final 8 minutes and finishing the game with four rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block.

The Wolverines finally tied the game on freshman Sophia Singer’s three-pointer but Carden quickly got the ball up the court and found Schletty to regain a 48-46 lead at the 2:49 mark. Schletty got hot and scored six of her 10 points in the fourth including sinking two free throws to go ahead 52-46 with 2:11 left, the Lady Chiefs seemingly regaining control of the game.

Instead, Forrester came away with a steal underneath the basket and while tumbling down, kicked the ball behind her to Reese for two of her eight fourth quarter points to make it 56-54 with 42.6 seconds remaining.

Sequoyah’s Bennett was sent to the line with 27 seconds and missed her first free throw, prompting Woodstock head coach Julie Crowe to call timeout and organize a plan for the Wolverines. Bennett coolly knocked down her second attempt, setting up a final possession with 18.5 seconds left for Woodstock after advancing the ball and moving past half court.

Woodstock swung the ball around the perimeter but the best look they could get was a contested Reese heave from the top of the key that clanked off the rim.

My Take

Though she missed two free throws in the fourth quarter and didn’t have as many “wow” plays as usual, junior point guard Alyssa Cagle is still the real deal for Sequoyah. Every time she touches the ball good things happen whether she’s slashing through the lane, finding open shooters or pulling the trigger from deep herself. Coach Derrick DeWitt praised her for even her post defense when getting stuck on bigger Wolverines. As long as she’s in Black and Gold, the Lady Chiefs will be an issue statewide come February and March. She is the leader of a potent 7-man junior class which sees Colby Carden and Peyton Satterfield flank her as dangerous shooters. Carden moves in from Sprayberry, following father Allen Carden who is head coach of the boys team. She played very well with Cagle and provides a versatile scoring punch and high IQ alongside floor general Cagle. Lauren Schletty, one of two seniors on the roster, really came up big in the fourth quarter; she does some nice things around the basket. Without any Hartmans on the roster, Sequoyah’s one bugaboo when it comes to contending for a state title might be their lack of size.

Woodstock has been stung with injuries but that didn’t stop the Wolverines from fighting to the very end. Kamryn Forrester was excellent as an energizer bunny all over the floor, affecting the game in multiple ways. Taylor Reed used Coach Crowe’s flare screen offense to perfection in the first half with three threes. I loved Bralise Reese’s athleticism and tenacity. She was cat-quick getting to the rim and had a great second leap to clean up misses. Her 16-point 10-rebound double-double was a strong effort. A name to stow away in the memory bank is freshman Sophia Singer. The 5-foot-10 youngster resembles Olivia Nelson-Ododa with her long and lanky frame but of course, not at her height or skill set. She knocked down a big three in the fourth quarter and rebounded well.

Top Performers

Colby Carden – 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals
Alyssa Cagle – 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Lauren Schletty – 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals 1 block
Peyton Satterfield – 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Emily Seres – 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist

Bralise Reese – 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 block
Kamryn Forrester – 10 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Taylor Reed – 10 points, 4 rebounds
Brittany Burnett – 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals