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A slow start: Strong first quarter gives Patriots winning edge

CCHS Fighting Cocks senior Dylan Dockery goes up for a shot over a Jefferson County High School defender in the first half of Friday night’s District 2-AAA showdown. Dockery scored 27 points, but the Patriots proved victorious by a 68-56 margin.
Published: 5:50 PM, 12/08/2013 Last updated: 5:54 PM, 12/08/2013

Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

DANDRIDGE—The Jefferson County Patriots never trailed in their 68-56 win over Cocke County on Friday evening in District 2-AAA play.

The Fighting Cocks (6-3, 1-1 District 2-AAA) tried their best to claw back into it late in the fourth, chipping the lead to just six with 3:53 left, but the Patriots (8-2, 2-0) hit some key free throws down the stretch to hang on for the close victory.

Dylan Dockery led the Fighting Cocks with 27 points. Jake Lindsay added 10 in the defeat.
The Patriots were paced by John Bryant who tallied 22 points. Brice Cusick added 16, while Danny Bates added 12. Noah Carter was also in double figures with 10 points.

"It was just too little, too late," Cocke County head coach Ray Evans said. "We talked about getting off to a start where we didn't get ourselves in a hole because when you have to battle back, it just takes so much energy. We came out a little flat and they jumped out on us.

"They rode (the momentum) for the first three quarters and then we finally started playing a little aggressive and got ourselves back in it."

Jefferson County jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first before holding on to an 18-7 advantage at the end of the quarter.

The Patriots pushed their lead to 37-20 by halftime and still led 51-34 at the end of the third quarter.

"We have a veteran group, but the first adversity we faced, we didn't handle it very well," Evans said.

"After that, we kind of played even with them halfway through the second quarter and all the way to
the end of the fourth quarter. And then we actually won the second half, so that's a big positive you can take from it. We have to handle adversity a little bit better at the beginning."

Cocke County cut the lead to six in the fourth, before the Patriots made another run to stretch things back out at the end.

Evans was pleased the way his team fought back in the final quarter, however.

"We could've laid down in the fourth quarter," Evans said. "We got down 20 or 21 and we took a timeout and talked about just getting in the passing lanes and being aggressive. We told them to keep their eyes off the scoreboard and just play hard. It doesn't matter if you foul them or not, just play. I was proud of them. They didn't lay down. They showed heart and showed they could play with this group. Hopefully when they come to our place, we'll start in the first quarter instead of waiting until the fourth.

"(Jefferson County) is a very good team. They're one of the better teams in East Tennessee and in the state. It's going to be a big game when they come to our place. I hope our crowd is as loud and as energetic as theirs was."

The Fighting Cocks are back in action Tuesday night as they travel up the road to Cherokee in a matchup slated for 8 p.m.

JEFFERSON COUNTY (68): John Bryant 22, Brice Cusick 16, Danny Bates 12, Noah Carter 10, Kyle Briggs 8.

COCKE COUNTY (56): Dylan Dockery 27, Jake Lindsay 10, Christopher Huff 7, Kordell Stewart 5, Jerick Varner 4, Ben Conard 3.

3-point FG: CC (5): Dockery, Lindsay, Huff, Stewart, Conard. JC (3): Carter 2, Bates. 

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