After a hot start, the Swain County High School varsity boys basketball team experienced a hiccup last week, dropping consecutive games for the first time this season to bring its record to 5-3. The Devils fell on Tuesday, Jan. 26 to Hayesville by a score of 68-58 and to Cherokee on Friday by a final of 74-55.
The Cherokee game was a bout of runs. Swain fell behind by 13 points early on, only to rally back to tie the game. Cherokee then extended out another 11-point lead, which Swain again erased to tie the game and take a lead of their own. But in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Braves enjoyed another offensive burst and pulled away for good. Despite having blown out Cherokee in the season opener, Coach Scotty McMahan was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I was really proud of how hard we played,” he said. “After we got down 13, we could have just quit or laid down, but we didn’t. We kept battling the whole night. If a couple shots fall here or there, a couple bounces go here or there, it’s a different game.”
He said that Cherokee’s defensive game plan gave Swain trouble.
“We’re usually scoring 30, 40 points in the paint and we lived off the three most of the night because they zoned us,” he said. “Anytime the ball goes inside out, we usually shoot the ball pretty well, but when we live on the perimeter and don’t attack or work it from the inside out, sometimes we struggle. We got plenty of good looks the other night, it wasn’t like we didn’t get good looks, we just missed some shots and didn’t get stops when we needed them.”
Judaiah Littlejohn led the scoring charge for Swain against Cherokee with 26 points. Cooper Hyatt added 16 and Carter Kirkland 11 for the Devils. Swain traveled to Andrews on Tuesday before returning home to host Rosman on Friday.