CUMMING — Cherokee defeated Sequoyah 52-38 on Monday night to advance to the Raider Classic Championship at North Forsyth.
The Lady Warriors (3-1) advanced to face either Marist and North Forsyth on Tuesday.
Playing its usual brand of up-tempo basketball, Cherokee jumped out to a 22-9 lead in the second quarter. The Lady Warriors ran in transition at every turn, materializing some easy scoring opportunities against Sequoyah (1-1).
“That is just the way we play,” Cherokee coach Matt Cates said. “Every time we can push the ball, we do. Plain and simple. We are not going to walk it up the floor.”
Cherokee stumbled out of the gate, trailing 7-2 midway through the first quarter, but the Lady Warriors recovered and led 17-7 by the end of the period. They maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the game.
“We are notorious for it, and we have been starting slow all year,” Cates said. “That is just what we have been doing. We have not been starting fast. We are trying to get out of that habit.”
Cherokee held a comfortable 32-17 lead at halftime, but Sequoyah battled back to keep it interesting over the final two quarters. The Lady Chiefs outscored the Lady Warriors 21-20 in the second half after opening the second half with a 5-0 run.
Sequoyah was in striking distance for much of the second half, but every time it cut the lead to 10, Cherokee used its proficient transition game to keep the Lady Chiefs at a double-digit deficit.
The Lady Warriors fought off the constant pressure from Sequoyah’s defense. They were aided by a strong rebounding effort that led to second-chance points near the basket.
Cates praised his team’s effort as it fought off the rally.
“We just have tough kids,” he said. “We bend, but do not break.”
Toni Warren had a game-high 15 points for Cherokee as she was all over the floor on offense. Warren scored eight of her 15 points in the third quarter, providing a nice boost coming out of the break.
Keimarya Rivera and Presli Clark also turned in solid scoring outings for Cherokee with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Susanna Rogers paced Sequoyah, scoring 12 points and tying for the game-high in 3-pointers with two. The Lady Chiefs’ next-highest scorer was Aryn Jackson with eight points and two 3-pointers.
Monday marked Cherokee’s third game with a double-digit win margin. The Lady Warriors are averaging 53 points per game in their three wins, compared to the 30 they have given up.