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Behind a furious second-quarter run, the Cheifland High School boys basketball team ran away from Wildwood 54-42 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
The Indian’s win in the regional semi-finals advances the team to the regional finals at Union County on Feb. 25. Two of Chiefland’s three losses this season have come to the Tigers.
“This is the one chance we get to give them a run for their money,” said Chiefland’s Josh Smith.
A win in Lake Butler will put the Indians in the 1A Final Four tournament in Lakeland.
“They’re ecstatic,” said head coach Adam Boyd. “I told them that after the season you’ll be able to cherish what you’ve accomplished because you’re one step away from Lakeland.”
A well-rounded effort by the Indians easily put away the home team. Increased pressure in the second quarter from Kyle Weeks, Issac Smith and G.G. McClendon off the bench allowed the Indians to take control of the game. Hot three-point shooting from Weeks and Josh Smith capped off an impressive all-around effort by Chiefland.
The first quarter wasn’t as sharp for the Indians. A back-and-forth opening period saw the Wildcats take a 10-9 lead. Boyd said the long trip for the game, like in slow starts at Taylor County and Baldwin in the regular season, was a factor in the team’s sluggish beginning.
Wildwood then built the lead to seven after two quick three-pointers at the start of the second quarter. Boyd called timeout immediately after and his team settled into a full-court press. The Indians then went on a 26-4 run.
The big run effectively ended the game at half time. The demoralized Wildcats never threatened the lead again. Wildwood scored the game’s final eight points but it was too little too late.