Sunday, April 20, 2014 · 9:19 a.m.
Chattanooga Christian's Ryan Rhodes (20) is pursued by Sequatchie County's Bryson Turner (20) and Tyler Grant (12). (Photo: Michael Murphy)

Chattanooga Christian hasn’t been the greatest second-half team this season, especially in the third quarter, and that was no different on Monday against District 7-AA foe Sequatchie County. Unlike in last Friday's loss at Signal Mountain, though, the Chargers turned it around in time to salvage a win. 

It wasn’t a complete letdown, but it came close to being one, especially for a brief stretch in the third quarter, when the visiting Indians whittled their deficit all the way down from double-digits to just three points.

“We had [Signal Mountain] down 21-14 and they came back and beat us," CCS coach Jim Arnold said. "It was kind of a repeat third quarter. It was a tough one. I thought Sequatchie did a nice job of stepping up.”

Chattanooga Christian’s misfortunes continued into the fourth quarter, too, with Sequatchie County eventually tying things up at 34 on Barrett Lawson’s jumper with 6:50 left. 

That’s about when CCS turned it on, though.

Senior Paul Fikkert knocked down a shot from the low post, which was followed by a three-pointer from teammate Nic Matthews. Fikkert, who scored a game-high 18 points for the Chargers (6-4, 2-1), added another basket to complete the squad’s 7-0 spurt and CCS seemed to seize control of the game.

The Indians (4-6, 1-2) didn’t lie down, though—they managed to reduce their deficit to three late, but Chattanooga Christian made enough free-throws down the stretch to preserve the hard-fought 45-39 victory.

“I thought our guys made plays when they had to,” Arnold said. “It wasn’t our best performance, but it was good for us to gut out a district win at home.”

Fikkert played big early, but others were forced to step up as the Indians began keying on the 6-foot-8, 285-pounder. 

“To me the key to the game was Nic Matthews knocking some of those threes down," Arnold said. "He doesn’t shoot a lot of them, but he’s such a smart kid that he knew he had to. If they’re not going to guard you, you have to make them adjust.”

And Matthews, along with the rest of CCS’ backcourt, were afforded plenty of great looks in the second half, as Sequatchie was too busy trying to corral Fikkert on the low block.

“I got out to a pretty fast start,” said Fikkert, who shot 8 of 12 from the field and brought down six rebounds. “They started to key off on me, but that left a lot of other guys open like Ryan Rhodes and Nic Matthews. That got us up and got us through.”

Matthews, who finished with 12 points, knocked down 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, while teammate Ryan Rhodes added a pair of treys in the win. 

“This year, I think a lot more than last year, other guys are stepping up and hitting shot,” Fikkert added. “Last year Clark Marshall and I just kind of fed the ball to each other on the inside, and teams played a lot of zone. This year we’re able to battle through that and we’re a lot more complete as a team."

Austin McGowan scored a team-high 14 points for Sequatchie County, Tyler Grant finished with eight and Bradley Harmon chipped in six. 

Sequatchie County girls 60, Chattanooga Christian 56

The Lady Indians held on for a narrow victory over the Lady Chargers in Monday’s first game.

Kaylee Smith scored a game-high 23 points for Sequatchie County (9-3, 3-0), while Kelly Frederick added 18. Joanna Smith finished with 15 points for CCS (6-4, 1-2), Clara Dirkse contributed 12 and Hannah Henky added 11. 

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