The Cumberland County Jets jumped out to an early lead Tuesday night against Rhea County, but couldn’t hold on as they watched the Eagles fight their way back to claim a 65-44 victory in Crossville.
“The boys came out ready to play,” said Cumberland County coach Taylor Denney.
“We had the right mindset and we were able to get some stops. Rhea County was able to bully us pretty well earlier in the year in the game at Rhea County. So, I thought we did a pretty good job of holding them to one shot.
“That allowed us to get out in transition and that created some open looks. Andrew Dennis got his first start tonight and he responded well, making four 3s in the first period.”
The loss drops Cumberland County to 1-6 on the season. Rhea County improves to 11-1 overall.
Cumberland County rode Dennis’ hot hand early as the freshman helped the Jets rush out to a 23-15 lead after the first period.
Houston Torres and Sol Sitton contributed to the Cumberland County scoring surge.
But Rhea County started coming back off the shooting of James Coker and Tom Dupree.
The Eagles tied the score midway through the period and were able to take a 37-31 advantage into the intermission.
“Rhea County is really good, so we knew they would make a
run,” Denney said. “The only thing I was really disappointed with in the first half was we had some mental errors where we would lose the ball, lose our man. We
trapped randomly a couple of times and they hurt us on that.”
The game got lopsided in the second half as the Jets could manage only five points in the third period.
Cumberland County trailed 56-36 going into the final eight minutes.
Dennis led Cumberland County in scoring with 17 points. Torres had nine points and Ethan Dixon scored six. Sol Sitton contributed six points. Nolen Carter tallied four points, while Isaac Scarbrough chipped in two.
Coker led Rhea County in scoring with 19 points. Gerald Akin had 17 points, while Dupree scored 15.
“We thought we had a pretty good game plan against Rhea County,” Denney said. “We like to mix some zone in at times, but they all shoot it so well. Defensively, I
thought we were fine. Offensively, we kind of sputtered out in the second half.
“Some of that I think was fatigue got to us. I think we rushed a little bit. Also, I don’t think I put the guys in good positions when they switched to that zone in the second half. It was something they hadn’t played all year.”
Up next, Cumberland County hits the road to visit Clarkrange on Dec. 15. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“I think our older guys are starting to settle into their roles a little
bit,” Denney said. “The younger guys have played well, and last night I think was the game where I think our bench came out and really contributed. I definitely think we’re improving.” .