The Creek Wood Red Hawks and Lady Red Hawks opened the 2016-17 season with a doubleheader Friday night in Ashland City, as the Navy and Red started off with a non-district clash against Cheatham County Central. The short-handed Red Hawk boys hammered Cheatham County in a dominant nightcap, but the Lady Red Hawks couldn’t overcome a cold start despite a hot finish, and opened the season with a loss.
Former Houston County Head Coach Sam Young made his debut as the skipper for Creek Wood, but the Lady Cubs made sure the visitors didn’t get him a fast start. Emmy and Eryn Nelson went off for 4 points each in the first quarter while Tiffany Smith was dominant around the basket with 6 first-quarter points, and Cheatham County owned the first quarter 18-5. Anna Edmondson hit 2 free throws for Creek Wood, and the Lady Red Hawks were almost held without a field goal until Raegan Hohl bombed a late 3.
The second quarter was a much different affair, as defense was key for both sides. The Lady Cubs won the frame 8-7, but a 1-point edge is a marked improvement over a 13-point cushion. Elayna Gass nailed a 3, while reserve post Madison Hayes made a basket and Taylor Moore had her first hoop of the game, as Coach Young’s gameplan became clearer to his young team. For Cheatham County, Smith was kept off the scoreboard, but Josie Bumpus had 5 points and Abbi Douglas chipped in a basket.
Up 26-12 at the half, Central managed another big frame in the third. The Lady Cub defense again held CWHS to single figures in a 14-8 quarter, as Eryn Nelson and Josie Bumpus each had 4 points, while Smith, Emmy Nelson, and Abbi Douglas each had 2. For Creek Wood, they were able to keep the game from getting out of hand, as Gass and Anna Edmondson each had a pair of free throws while Moore and Lydia Edmondson each had baskets.
The fourth quarter showed Lady Red Hawk fans what they could look forward to this season, as everything falls into place for the young squad and its new coach. Creek Wood trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half, and trailed 40-20 at the start of the fourth; the surging Lady Red Hawks cut the lead down to 11 in a furious rally, but couldn’t quite find enough. Creek Wood won the fourth 18-11 and scored in double figures for the only quarter all night, but Cheatham County Central held on for a 51-38 win. Hohl bombed a 3 in a 5-point quarter, while Moore canned a pair of treys. Julie Nunnemaker, playing in her first extensive action in a young career marked with injuries, had 6 points of her own. However, Abbi Douglas took the game on her shoulders, scoring 9 of the Lady Cubs’ 11 fourth quarter points herself including 5 made free throws, as they held on for the win.
Douglas finished with a game-high 16 points, while Bumpus added 11, Eryn Nelson 9, Emmy Nelson 7, and Smith 8 for the home side. For Creek Wood, Moore earned MVP honors with a team-high 10 points including 2 threes. Hohl had a pair of treys and 8 points, while Gass added 6. A total of 7 players scored in the loss for the Lady Red Hawks.
For the Red Hawks, the excuses would have been plenty–the loss of 4 multi-year starters to graduation, football players being injured, a varsity squad with only 10 players dressed out. Fortunately for Coach Charles Taylor, excuses would not be needed, as Creek Wood did not trail in a blowout win, 63-26 on the road. Coulter Dotson, the experienced leader for the Red Hawk side, started off on fire; he hit a three, then a foot-on-the-line basket-and-one, and added an assist and a bucket as he had 8 points in the first quarter. Creek Wood torched the home side 15-8 despite a pair of longballs from Sterlin Jenkins. The Cub senior, one of 5 on the experienced staff, would nail another three in the second, but the Red Hawks owned the frame 23-8 for a 38-16 halftime edge. Dotson had a 10 point quarter including 2 threes, while Micah Westerman added a pair of treys of his own. Dallas Hall had 5 points including a three.
Dotson and the Red Hawks locked down defensively in the second half, drubbing Cheatham County 12-6 in the third and 13-4 in the fourth. Dotson added a three and a basket in each of the last 2 quarters, while Hall had a trey in the third, plus a longball and 2 made free throws in the fourth as the visitors blasted their former district rivals. For Cheatham County, Jonathan Mayberry hit a third quarter three, but landed hard after contact later in the second half; he would leave with a head injury and would not return. Jenkins added 3 points in the third but was shut out in the fourth; sophomore reserve Charlie Martin had all of the Cubs’ points in the final frame.
Jenkins was the only Cub in double figures on the night with 12 points and 3 threes, while Martin had 4 points, Mayberry had a three, and Briley Jones added a basket-and-one. For Creek Wood, Dotson earned MVP honors with a game-high 28 points, 5 threes, and a basket-and-one, while Hall added 16 points and a longball in each quarter. Westerman added 8 points and a pair of threes, while young point guard Drew “Scooter” Berry had 4 points. All 10 Red Hawks saw game action, and 7 of them scored.
The Lady Red Hawks next play on Wednesday, getting in 2 games at the Forrest Invitational in Chapel Hill, TN. The Red Hawk boys travel to the Huntsville, AL, area, facing tournament-host Bob Jones High School Monday at 2:15pm in Madison, AL. The Red Hawks will then play Tuesday evening at 8pm, and with a win in that game will also play Wednesday morning. The Monday and Tuesday games will be heard on WDKN 1260 AM and 101.5 The One FM.