ROGERSVILLE — This was no white-collared win for the Orange & Black.
Lacking the polish that’s generally absent in early-season affairs, Elizabethton hunkered down for a 56-53 overtime victory against Cherokee to begin its season Thursday night.
“I’d much rather have an ugly win than a pretty loss,” said EHS coach Len Dugger.
“Cherokee’s got a big ballclub,” he added. “We definitely are not where we want to be as a team right now, but dealt with some adversity real well tonight and we made some plays when it was critical. I thought we got a very good win tonight, considering us being on road against a team with the size they had.”
The Lady Cyclones were holding a 10-point advantage (42-32) heading into the fourth quarter, but back came the Chiefs to forge a 49-49 tie that brought about OT.
Elizabethton, however, circled the wagons and prevailed in the end.
“We didn’t have a lot of chemistry offensively, which isn’t expected playing the first game of the year,” Dugger said. “That’s the way it is for most teams. The kids just sort of found a way to win.”
Elizabethton, which had all 13 of its players take the floor before the game was through, got a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double from Reazyn DeMoss, who’s becoming more post-oriented after the loss of Caley Hodge to a broken tibia (Hodge is having surgery today).
Collecting 11 points, a half-dozen boards and two blocked shots before fouling out in the fifth stanza, senior post Savannah Madgett had what Dugger described as her “best game in a Cyclone uniform.”
Madgett, according to her coach, did some things she normally doesn’t do — demonstrating strong second effort and better aggressiveness defensively and as a rebounder.
Freshman Kelci Marosites (9 points) opened her prep career by tossing in three 3-pointers. She and fellow reserve Sarah Bradley, who’s acquainting herself to varsity minutes, helped EHS — its backcourt in particular — cope with major foul trouble to point guard Morgan Depew.
Depew still managed to post a team-high five steals, plus a key fourth-quarter bucket. She also banked in a 3-pointer that beat the end-of-regulation buzzer in one official’s eyes, but was successfully waved off by another.
Dugger credited Lauren McCurry (8 points) with hitting a big shot, and noted that Whitney Roberts was no stranger to the big-play scene.
“We weren’t perfect, by no means,” he said, “but we had several players really step up and make some plays.”
Post player Pattie Taylor made a favorable impression for Cherokee, pouring in 22 points. Samantha Marlow contributed 16 and the Chiefs made a game of it by getting to the charity stripe — they hit 23 of 35 attempts — with considerable regularity.
Elizabethton took 19 foul shots, converting 11.
“We’re not as crisp as we want to be,” Dugger said. “We’ll try to continue to improve on decision-making. I think we could be really good club by February.”