By MICHAEL HUGHES
CHERRYVILLE –– In an earlier get-together between Southern Piedmont 1A rivals, state-ranked Cherryville had a rough time on the basketball court with Lincoln Charter, eking out a five-point win in Denver.
The situation was different in the Ironmen’s 82-51 home win on Friday.
Junior point guard Rhyer Davis led four Cherryville players in double figures, scoring 19 and directing traffic in a back-and-forth battle that never let up until the last seconds ticked away.
“Our defensive effort was a lot better (Friday night),” said Cherryville coach Scott Harrill. “We forced turnovers, and that’s the way we like to play –– and then we get out and run our break. We got a lot of scoring opportunities like that.”
The Eagles (7-12, 2-5) held an 11-10 first-quarter lead before the Ironmen went on a 20-8 tear for a 30-19 lead at halftime. The run prompted two timeouts by Lincoln Charter coach Brad Gabriel, but Cherryville continued to outpace its opponent in transition.
The Ironmen scored the first 15 points in the second half and poured in 35 third-quarter points to move in front 65-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
In its narrow win from January 3, Cherryville (16-2, 6-1) had trouble contesting the perimeter shooting of Lincoln Charter senior Christian Hilty and the penetration of freshman Trey Johnsen.
Hilty and Johnsen combined for seven points in Friday’s loss and only one point through the first three quarters.
“We really tried to put conscious of effort on (them),” Harrill said.
On the other side, Davis stepped up for the Ironmen on the defensive end and kept getting his teammates involved, and feeding them for open shots.
“He’s our point guard, and as he goes, we go,” said Harrill. “I thought Rhyer Davis played great. And when they’re having fun and they’re running (like that), it’s kind of contagious.
“It’s good to see them have fun. That’s the way I like kids to play — play loose and have fun on the court. I was proud of them.”
The pace and the scoring slowed down in the fourth quarter, which turned into a foul fest as both teams combined for 31 free throws, the Eagles getting 16 trips to the line and the Ironmen 15.
Cherryville seniors Kenny Poston (16 points) and D.J. Cunningham (14) scored most of their tallies in the second half, as did sophomore Christian Jones (12).
Senior Jordan Miller scored 14 to lead Lincoln Charter, nine of those coming in the final eight minutes. Junior lead guard Amir Davis chipped in with 13.
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Ashley Baich scored 11 points and helped the Eagles bounce back from their only loss of the season.
Madi Neesmith added seven points and Eboni Tinsley scored six for Lincoln Charter (15-1, 7-0), which outscored the Lady Ironmen (1-13, 0-7) 32-8 in the second half to break a close game open.