Kingsport Times-News: Whitson breaks school scoring record as D-B girls beat Cherokee
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Whitson breaks school scoring record as D-B girls beat Cherokee

TANNER COOK • Feb 1, 2019 at 12:57 AM

ROGERSVILLE — History was made on Thursday night inside Cherokee High School as Dobyns-Bennett senior basketball player Courtney Whitson surpassed Sasha Morrisette for the all-time school scoring record for both boys and girls with 2,234 points. She got the mark in the middle of the fourth quarter by making two free throws and finished with 16 points to help the Lady Indians to a 59-35 win over Big Seven Conference foe Cherokee.

“This has been a lot of hard work and dedication,” Whitson said. “It’s just that mindset of that I’m going to go out and get the job done. All the hard work, the years before this and all the hours in the gym is what it takes.

“It’s a relief and I can just go out there and play my game now. I knew I was close to the record, and it was definitely on my mind. It was exciting.”

For head coach Bill Francis, witnessing a record-breaking feat is nothing new. He saw Morrisette through her last two years and saw her break the record first.

“This one (Whitson) I went all four years, so this was pretty special,” Francis said. “It’s a blessing to coach players like Courtney and Sasha. I’ve said it many times, and the reason these things happen for Courtney is the fact that she plays the game for the right reasons. She doesn’t play to get records or glory or headlines in the paper. She plays the game because she loves it.”

For awhile in the third quarter, it appeared that Whitson wasn’t going to eclipse the mark, as she was sitting on the bench in foul trouble and had 10 points.

The Lady Indians (20-5, 8-1) were up 37-27 at the end of three and the Lady Chiefs were firmly within striking distance. However, when Whitson got the record, the Tribe seemed to turn the switch and pulled away with 22 fourth-quarter points.

Harper Russell had 15 to lead the way for Cherokee (16-8, 5-5).

The Lady Indians will play at home on Friday against Daniel Boone while Cherokee will play Red Bird Christian on Saturday. The girls game for Cherokee begins at 2:30 p.m.

Boys

Dobyns-Bennett 67, Cherokee 47

Nearly a carbon copy of the first matchup when the Indians and Chiefs were tied at the half in the Buck Van Huss Dome, D-B had a big second half surge to pull away for another road conference victory.

With the score knotted at 22, the Indians came out of the locker room with a purpose and outscored Cherokee 21-9 in the third quarter. It was capped off by a Jared Strickland bucket and foul to end the period. He and Riamello Wadsworth had 16 points each to lead the Tribe. Marae Foreman had 11 for D-B.

“We wanted to put pressure on them on both offense and defense,” head coach Chris Poore said. “Our game plan was executed well. It may not pay off in a quarter or even a half, but it will eventually get into their minds and into their legs. The game went perfectly in our favor as far as that’s concerned because they got winded in the second half. Our guys attacked and continued to make sure that we got some opportunities.”

Cherokee was led by Ryan Bledsoe with 18 points, but he had only five after halftime. A big key for the D-B victory was stopping freshman Carter Metz, and the Tribe did that well. He was held to three points after averaging close to 12 points per contest.

Breiydon Gilliam was in double figures for Cherokee with 12.

“All these game in a row are tough,” Poore said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’re rotating guys, they’re healthy and they’re playing well. I’m really pleased with our buy-in and our focus right now. Now is the time when we really have to be clicking. The weather put us at a disadvantage, but we’ll use our depth and experience to our advantage.”

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