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Releford burns nets for 28, Tribe clinches region berth

JOHNNY WILSON, Sports Correspondent • Feb 12, 2020 at 1:46 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Abiah Releford is well into the fourth quarter of his high school basketball career, and the sweet-shooting Dobyns-Bennett senior is making sure he’s all in for the good times down the stretch of his final season.

Seven days after scoring 25 points in an impressive double-digit triumph at Daniel Boone, Releford went off with eight 3-pointers and 28 points on Tuesday night, pushing the Indians to an 82-54 runaway victory over host Cherokee.

The Big 7 Conference win clinches second place in the league for D-B and also qualifies the Indians (15-11, 9-3) for Region 1-AAA play in a couple weeks.

First, the Tribe will play as the No.2 seed in next week’s District 1-AAA tournament back at Cherokee, getting a bye to the semifinals along with regular- season champion Science Hill, the top seed.

As long as Releford can keep shooting like he did against the Chiefs (9-19, 1-10), D-B will have a shot at beating a lot of teams.

The 6-foot-1 guard buried four 3s in the first quarter to help D-B storm to a 27-9 advantage after eight minutes. He also buried 3s on three straight possessions late in the third quarter, fueling D-B to close the period with a 65-39 edge.

“I’ve been doing a lot of extra shooting in practice and in our walkthroughs, trying to find my shot,” Releford said. “As one of just two seniors on the team, I just want to be a leader ... push these young guys to show them how it’s going to be for them when it’s their turn the next couple of years.”

The win was the fourth straight for the Indians, including an overtime verdict over Science Hill this past Friday.

“If we keep playing like this, we can make a postseason run,” Releford said. “Like I said, I just want to step up and be a leader. These young guys have gotten their chance and competed hard for playing time, and it’s made us better, deeper. We are coming together at a good time.”

Brady Stump, a freshman, hit three of D-B’s 14 makes from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points to support Releford. In addition, the trio of McKinley Tincher, Jahson Dennis and Jonavan Gillespie equally combined for 24 points.

The Chiefs, who made one strong run by getting to within 43-32 late in the second quarter, got a 17-point game from Carter Metz, who hit four 3-pointers.

LADY INDIANS GET IT DONE

D-B broke free from a tight game at halftime to claim a needed win.

The 46-29 victory left the Lady Indians (21-9, 9-3) tied with Daniel Boone for second place in the Big 7, forcing a coin flip on Wednesday at Cherokee to determine the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds for next week’s District 1-AAA tournament.

Cherokee (7-21, 0-11) made D-B sweat for this decision, trailing by just 18-17 at halftime before being held to a single field goal in the third quarter.

The Tribe outscored the Lady Chiefs 15-2 in the third period to gain control, then finished strong to win going away.

Caitlyn Wallace and Jabrea Johnson each scored 11 points to pace D-B, which got two 3-point jumpers each from Elle Francis and Jaden Potts.

Destiny Jarnigan’s 13-point game paced Cherokee.

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