By Ed Greif
The Cumberland County High School basketball teams traveled off the mountain Tuesday night to Evensville to renew their rivalry with former District 5AAA foe Rhea County, who will join District 6AAA for the next four school years, beginning in 2013-'14.
Coach Will Foster's Jets held off the Golden Eagles 68-65, while the Lady Jets were beat 64-56.
CCHS 68, Rhea County 65: Tayler Houston's two free throws with 3.1 seconds gave the Jets the victory.
The Jets built a 12-7 first-quarter advantage with 1:34 seconds remaining, but a three-point play by Jalen Smith keyed a 7-0 run to give the hosts a 14-12 advantage. Dylan Qualls had eight points for the Jets, who were four of 13 from the field with three turnovers.
A Qualls' three-pointer cut the lead to 18-17 with under five minutes left in the half, but the hosts began an 11-5 run to swell the advantage to 29-22. Alex Dixon's trey propelled the Jets to a first-half ending 13-1 run to claim a 35-50 advantage.
Houston tickled the twine for 10 points for the Jets, who were eight of 18 from the floor and four for six from the charity stripe.
Qualls tallied eight points in an 11-4 run to take a 46-34 advantage midway through the third quarter, but a layup by Nick McWherter spurted a 10-2 run to slice the Jets' lead to 48-44 by quarter's end.
CCHS opened the final eight minutes with a 10-4 run to take a 10-point advantage again at 58-48; however, the Golden Eagles flew back with a 13-2 run for a 61-60 lead with 2:23 remaining.
The teams exchanged baskets until Qualls converted two free throws for a 66-65 advantage with 28.1 left. Rhea County ran their offense, but the Jets got the ball back on an alternating possession call with 12.4 ticks left.
Houston converted two free throws with 3.1 seconds left for a 68-65 lead, but a desparation shot by Noel Patterson at the buzzer was bad, giving the Jets the win.
Qualls led the Jets with 27 points, seven rebounds and one steal, while Houston added 22 markers with one rebound. Rounding out the statistics were Diego Poore (seven markers, four rebounds, two assists, four steals), J.J. Miller (four points, seven rebounds, three steals), Tanner Christopher (one assist), Austin Brown (four points, two rebounds, two assists), Dixon (three points), Cade Smith, Logan Parsons (two points, three rebounds, three assists, four steals) and Cameron O'Rourke (two points, three rebounds, one steal).
Rhea County 54, CCHS 48: The hosts placed three players in double figures en route to a 54-46 victory over the Lady Jets. Julie Brown led Rhea County with 17 points, while Whitney Thompson and Amber Levi added 12 points each.
Leading the Lady Jets were Makenzie Iles (11 points, two rebounds, four steals), Gina Dick (six points, four rebounds, four assists), Alli Hyder (four points, two assists), Sloane VanWinkle (11 points, one board, one steal), Rebekah Teeple (seven points, seven rebounds), Kassidy Sommer (five points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals) and Courtney Smith (two points, two rebounds).
CCHS took a 10-8 lead on a three-pointer by VanWinkle, but two free throws by Brown with 2:31 left started a 6-2 run for a 14-12 lead by quarter's end.
Rhea County took a 16-12 lead on a Levi layup, but a Smith bucket started a 6-0 run for a 20-16 advantage. Rhea County tied the game at 22-22; however, Teeple's three-point play helped the Lady Jets finish the half with a 6-2 spurt for a 28-24 advantage.
CCHS shot well in the first half (11 of 20) with five turnovers, while Rhea County was nine of 19 with eight miscues.
Rhea County used a 9-2 third-quarter spurt to take a 33-30 lead midway through the stanza; however, Hyder's four points gave CCHS a 34-33 lead with 3:09 left. The hosts outscored the Lady Jets 5-0 after that to take a 38-34 advantage.
The Lady Eagles stretched the lead to 42-34, but another VanWinkle trey sent the Lady Jets on a 9-1 run to tie the game a 43-43 with 3:04 remaining in the contest.
Rhea County went on a 8-0 run for a 51-43 advantage with 33 ticks left; however, Iles buried a trey to make the score 51-46 with 18.3 seconds left.
The Lady Eagles converted three of four free throws in the final 18.3 to seal the victory.
CCHS won the junior varsity game 29-26.
Schedule: The Jets will play in the Sun Drop Romp this weekend. They opened play Thursday night against the Smith County-Gabriel Christian winner at Dekalb County High School.
CCHS will play at either 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. at Warren County High School Friday and Saturday at either 10:30 a.m., noon or 6 p.m.
The Lady Jets will return to the court Dec. 27-29 in the Stewart County Christmas Classic in Dover. They open play Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. against Clarksville NW, and play South Fulton at 3 p.m. Dec. 28, followed by Clarksville High Dec. 29 at noon.