It’s always difficult to put your finger on the play that wins the game, and in fact there were several twists in Cheatham’s direction in the fourth quarter of their win over Westview in the State Championship. Here’s a play-by-play review of what happened to give Cheatham the victory.
Because this team is made up of three Douglases, two Nelsons, and two Bumpuses, among others, I used first names in the story after their first/last names were used at least one time. (Which goes totally against all journalism rules!)
The quarter started with Westview ahead 31-29, and things did not start very good for Cheatham. First Abbi Douglas turned the ball over, and Alli Douglas committed a foul trying to steal the ball back. To make matters worse, Westview sharp-shooter Zanasha Galden went back down the floor and hit a three-pointer, putting the Lady Chargers up 34-29 with 7:23 left in the game.
That however would be the last field goal Westview would score this season.
After the teams exchanged turnovers, Cheatham had an offensive possession that would exemplify their tenacity down the stretch. After Alli blocked a shot, Macy Douglas grabbed a rebound and headed up the court. Carlie Hogan took a jump shot that missed, Alli got the rebound, got the ball back to Carlie, who unfortunately missed again, but Alli got the putback, cutting the lead to 34-31.
On the next Westview possession, Alli blocked yet another shot by Westview’s Raegan Johnson, Macy grabbed the ball and Coach Jim Gibbs called timeout with 5:34 left.
On the next possession, Abbi got fouled going for a layup, and made the first of two shots, cutting the lead to 34-32 at 5:28. Westview rebounded the ball and Alli committed two fouls in seven seconds (her third and fourth), sending Westview’s Tiara Yancey to the line for two, and she made both of them, making the score 36-32.
On Cheatham’s next possession, Abbi hit a three–one of only three treys Cheatham made in the game, and the first of two big ones in the fourth quarter. The Lady Cubs trailed 36-35 at 5:05.
An Eryn Nelson foul at 4:44 sent Johnson to the line for one-and-one, and she made both, extending the lead to 38-35.
In the next 66 seconds, Westview turned the ball over twice, and the second–a steal by Emmy Nelson–resulted in a layup by Abbi with 3:38, cutting the deficit to 38-37.
It would be another 66 seconds before another shot was made, and it was one of the biggest of the season, when Jordan Bumpus nailed a three-pointer, giving Cheatham the lead for the first time since the fourth quarter, 40-38, with 2:22 left in the game.
Westview would make two free throws by Gadlen on the next trip down, tying the game 40-40 at 1:52–the last points by Westview in the game.
Cheatham took the ball down and patiently worked for a good shot, and that came from Eryn at 1:39, a jumper from the left baseline, making it 42-40 Cheatham. Little did we know that was the game-winning shot, because the last 1:39 was wild.
First Jorden blocked a shot by Yancey, and Cheatham headed up the floor, only to have the ball stolen back by Westview. At :50 Westview’s Alexis Callins missed a three-point attempt, Emmy rebounded the ball but Cheatham turned the ball over again with :42 left.
At :26 Jorden took a charge, which took away a Westview basket that would have tied the game, and Cheatham called timeout.
After the timeout, Westview immediately fouled Abbi, who unfortunately missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Westview brought the ball down and called timeout, hoping to set up a final play at :15.
On the inbounds pass, Alli intercepted it, and was immediately fouled at :13. She missed the foul shot, but Abbi got the rebound, and was immediately fouled again at :06. She missed from the line, but Alli got the rebound, and was immediately fouled at :05, going to the line with a double bonus. She missed the first, but made the second, and with 3.6 seconds left, Westview called timeout to set up a final shot, which we know was a three-point attempt after the final buzzer.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a game where neither team played their best game, but neither team gave up, scratching and clawing to the end. Both teams showed the frayed nerves that having everything on the line can produce. Ultimately the ball bounced in the direction of the Lady Cubs, and they made enough plays down the stretch to win the game.
The biggest plays in my opinion were delivered by two unsung heros: Jorden Bumpus, who hit the three at 2:22 to put Cheatham on top, and took a charge at :26 that took away what would have been the game-tying basket; and the jumper by Eryn Douglas at 1:39 that put the Lady Cubs up for good.