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Indians’ long ball sinks Sharks in overtime

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By Sean Arnold

In a game filled with ups and downs from both teams, Chiefland, fortunately, finished high in its Nov. 30 overtime bout with Cedar Key.

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Behind a quartet of 3s from sophomore Ty Corbin, the Indians went on an 18-7 run to finish the game and notch a 68-62 win.

CMHS went into its Dec. 5 game at Dixie County at 1-2 overall and 1-1 in District 1A-7 play. The Sharks were 0-4 at the same point, with two of those losses coming by six points.

The Sharks overcame an eight-point deficit in seizing a 55-50 lead with a minute to play in the fourth quarter, on the heels of a Michele Dibari layup.

Offensive rebounds by sophomore Jarrett Jerrels led a Corbin 3 and a Jarrels put-back, which combined to erase the CKS lead and force overtime.

Corbin wasn’t finished with his long-range work, as he drained a couple more 3s, including one approaching 30 feet, in the extra minutes. Fellow sophomore guard Jalen Rutledge, meanwhile, went 5 for 6 from the foul line in overtime to help matters for Chiefland.

Corbin, who was 6 for 11 on 3s, finished with 21 points and Rutledge added 15. Austin Adams knocked down four 3s in the first half for the Indians to finish with 14 points. Junior Kirk Williams, bolstered by a strong third quarter, finished with nine points for CMHS.

As his young team continues to develop and figure itself out, CMHS coach Adam Boyd is emphasizing the roles each of his players offer. Where the Indians lack in experience, with just one returning starter currently healthy, they offer a potentially deep roster of contributors.

“Guys have certain strengths, so you find certain spots to put them in to do well,” he said. “It’s a building process – we’ll be better in february than we are now. The hardest thing is to manage the playing time. We are competing for these minutes, and that’s what none of them are used to. Those 14 sophomores and juniors are not used to competing with each other. They’re learning about varsity basketball.”

While the shots were falling for Chiefland, Cedar Key’s top shooter, Kris Burns, was fighting cramps in the late minutes. The speedy southpaw tallied 17 points in the game despite being held scoreless in the opening quarter and in overtime.

“I would have preferred the tempo to be a little slower, but it seemed like we were in here for a slugfest and that’s what we did, we ran it up and down the floor,” said John Miller, the Sharks’ first-year head coach. “We’re looking to keep teams below 60, because we think that once the game gets into the 60 range we might be out of it.

“We’re really focusing on the defensive effort, and tonight it was tremendous,” Miller added.

Sophomore Michael Smith was formidable down low for his Sharks, finishing with 22 points, including 14 after the third quarter.

A Smith layup before the break gave Cedar Key a 27-26 edge heading into halftime. A 3 by Corbin and additional buckets from Williams, Jerrels, Rutledge and Sedrik Moultrie helped Chiefland climb from the deficit. Smith’s eight points in the fourth, along with six more from Burns, were good enough to get the Sharks back ahead late in the fourth.

“Cedar Key fought, they fought as hard as they could possibly fight and it just didn’t happen tonight,” Miller said. “We really performed at a high level. We have to congratulate Chiefland because they played a great game as well. But we’re proud of the effort that we put forth.”

Chiefland won the rebounding and takeaway battles, but struggled to convert on second-chance shots, preventing the squad from getting any level of comfort. It missed at least seven shots on one particular sequence of back-to-back possessions.

“If we could convert anything on some putbacks, we would have had double-digit leads in each half,” Boyd said.

Indians fall to Red Devils in opener

Williston, led by Calvin Strange (14 points) and Josiah Jones (12 points), overcame a sluggish start to defeat Chiefland 58-36 in non-district action in the teams’ season opener Nov. 25 in the CMHS gym. Jalen Rutledge issued a team-high nine points for the Indians, while CMHS junior Kirk Williams added eight points.