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Onward: Fighting Cocks advance to tonight's District 2-AAA semifinals with win over S-D

©2014 NPT PHOTO BY SETH BUTLER
Cocke County High School senior Jerick Varner slashes his way to the basket in Friday’s District 2-AAA quarterfinal tilt with South Doyle. Varner finished the night with 12 points and seven rebounds. The Fighting Cocks face Sevier County in a 5 p.m. semifinal on Saturday night at Jefferson County High School.
Published: 2:32 PM, 02/15/2014 Last updated: 2:34 PM, 02/15/2014
 

Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

DANDRIDGE—The Cocke County Fighting Cocks advanced to the semifinals of the District 2-AAA tournament after their 80-63 victory over South Doyle on Friday evening at Jefferson County High School.

The Big Red face off with Sevier County today at 5 p.m. for a chance to play in the district title game.
With the win over South Doyle Friday, Cocke County also earned a Region 1-AAA tournament berth. A semifinal victory over Sevier County will give the Fighting Cocks an opportunity to host a region quarterfinal contest, while a loss will send them on the road for the opener.

The Fighting Cocks (17-11) were very balanced in the scoring column on Friday, and they had three players in double figures. Dylan Dockery led with 16 points and Jerick Varner finished with 12. Jake Lindsay also tallied 11.

"We got rolling in the second quarter and that carried over into the second half," Cocke County head coach Ray Evans said. "I'm proud of the guys. I just hope we can keep that engine going.

"Sevier County has whipped us two times, and we have to be prepared or they'll whip us a third time. Hopefully we'll show up ready, take care of the basketball, and defend them a little better. If we do, I think we can make a game of it. It's going to be a good one."

The Fighting Cocks actually trailed to South Doyle (7-20) early by a 12-4 deficit, but an 8-3 run to end the period chipped the lead to 15-12 after the first quarter.

Seth Lovell gave Cocke County a big lift in the first half, tallying seven points and four rebounds. He helped the Fighting Cocks regain the lead at the half by a 32-26 score.

It wasn't just Lovell's effort that Evans was pleased with, though. Rather, it was the entire team's performance.

"Seth really came in the game and rebounded well and put some offensive boards back in," Evans said. "That gave us a big lift off the bench. Ben (Conard) played well off the bench. Jake played well. I kind of reversed their roles just to see if I could get a little more production in the three spot, and we got it. I thought they both played well. Ben got into a little foul trouble, but overall I thought he did well.

"Hunter (Suggs) made a couple shots here and there to get us going. They all pitched in. That was a good team win."

Cocke County led by as much 17 in the third quarter, as they continued to get out in transition. South Doyle's lack of depth really hurt them, especially in the second half, and the Big Red made sure to take advantage.

Off of missed shots throughout most of the game, Cocke County was off and running to the other end, and they capitalized on their fast break opportunities for the most part, from the second quarter on.

"They don't play a whole lot of players, so they don't like to play too fast," Evans said. "Our best game is getting up and down the floor, and when we don't do that, we do struggle. Finally when we started getting it out and pushing it a little bit, we had some good, easy buckets in transition. That got us going a little bit."

The Fighting Cocks maintained a double digit lead throughout the entire fourth quarter, and they were able to get several reserves into the game for some key minutes.

"I wanted to get some of those younger guys that don't get much playing time some experience and I was just seeing if we could hold the lead,"ť Evans said. "They went in when we were up 17 and we finished the game up 17, so they did a great job and held their own against them."

COCKE COUNTY (80): Dylan Dockery 16, Jerick Varner 12, Jake Lindsay 11, Seth Lovell 9, Hunter Suggs 6, Ben Conard 6, Stephen Brown 5, Sam Gunn 4, Kimbel Thornton 3, Kordell Stewart 2, Christopher Huff 2, John Epperson 2, Santana Haney 2

SOUTH DOYLE (63): Jarquese Goins 12, Brody Rollins 12, Miles Thomas 12, Sam Moss 11, Malik Lundy 5, Austin Thomas 4, Cody Cummings 4, Dalton Wilson 3

3-Point FG: CC (6) Suggs 2, Lindsay, Thornton, Brown, Conard. SD (5) Rollins, Lundy, Moss, Cummings, Wilson.

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