Posted On: 02/25/19 10:21 PM
It still doesn’t feel real. One of the top favorites to win the Class AA State Championship Raleigh-Egypt High (other was Wooddale) suffered complete destruction at the hot hands of a courageous Fayette-Ware Wildcat team, 70-50. Tre Yates scored 17 points to give FWHS their tenth win on the season and the first Regional Tournament game victory in two years.
“Tre Yates had a monster third and fourth quarter for us tonight,” shared Fayette-Ware High Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis afterwards. “He was getting points within the offense. He only took three three’s the whole game and he made two. Everything else was two-dribble pull-ups. Any time he gets those we are very confident in him taking that shot.”
More than two hours after the game CoachT.com still had Raleigh-Egypt as the winner. Not the predicted winner. The winner. Fayette-Ware is accustomed to be disrespected and overlooked.
“Coach (Marcus) Stokes and I have just been pushing all year, ‘Stay together. Stay together,'” said Assistant Coach Chearis. “We came in Sunday during shootaround they were together. Today during walk-through they were still together. We were very excited during the win, but even more excited to see them come together. We read things that we were going to get beat by 25. We just wanted to stay together and we preached family.”
“Heading into the game we wanted to limited their drive,” Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “They had a lot of guys that can drive and kick the ball. Faceup on their shooters and try to take as many charges as we could against #0.
Number 0 was Deovaunta Williams (PrepHoopsTN #9 in Class of 2019), the best unsigned point guard in Tennessee. Williams put up a staggering 45 points in the District Championship a week ago against Woodddale.
Williams was a priority along with Quintavious Bailey (@PrepHoopsTN 2020 #31).
“We wanted to limit his touches as much as possible,” said Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “Deny him all over the floor. We have some very aggressive guys on defense. We started Taki Walker on him. Then we put Contreal Cleaves on him. We let those two guys kind of switch. So he wouldn’t get used to one type of defender.”
The battle between Raleigh-Egypt and Fayette-Ware began Saturday, but suffered a postponement due to weather.
“We limited him to maybe three points in the first half (mostly Saturday),” recalled Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “He finished up with 15-16, I am not sure. Most of those came in the fourth quarter when we were up 15.”
Monday night a 30-win team in Goodpasture, a 28 win team in Fairview, and Fayette-Ware’s victim REHS (24 wins) all fell. How did Fayette-Ware accomplish the feat?
Three Tennessee high school teams spanning four games (Wooddale twice) scored 70 or more points against Raleigh-Egypt. Just three teams…until Monday night. The Wildcats put up 70 points in a do or die game on the Raleigh-Egypt home floor!
“Offensively, when they were in man we wanted lots of ball movement and cuts to the basket, said Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “If you make them play a long span of time on possessions they would make mistakes and leave gaps.”
— Fayette-Ware Wildcat (@FW_Wildcats) February 26, 2019
The hosting Pharaohs swapped out of man defense.
“They were in man and when they switched to a zone, [then] that is when we made that run,” stated Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “We typically love it when a team plays zone. We feel like we have one of the best offenses in zone. By the time we switched back to man the guys had momentum.”
A relatively close game ballooned out of control. Raleigh-Egypt’s players and fans couldn’t believe it.
“Once it got to be late in the game the crowd was stunned,” Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “You could only hear Wildcat fans in the gym. They didn’t leave, but there was no sound.”
On the other hand, the Wildcat fans expressed their approval loudly.
“You could just see our fans,” said Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “Oh man. We loved the way our fans showed up and supported us. Our bench guys were communicating with the guys on the floor. We finally hit that switch where the guys were bought in. We had to calm the guys down because we still have a game tomorrow.”
Beyond Yates’ 17 points and Jaylon Taylor’s 16 points one player intensified his contribution.
“We expect a lot out of Elijah Cox on the defensive end,” emphasized Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “Tonight he made three straight baskets. We usually don’t look to him on the offense. We got good defensive stops and he scored six points in a row. He went on a 6-0 run by himself. That is a shocker for us. That is what lit the fire in our guys to step up even more.”
— Fayette-Ware Wildcat (@FW_Wildcats) February 26, 2019
Imagine the scene tomorrow at Fayette-Ware High School in Somerville, Tennessee.
“I think it is going to be a lot of excitement because we were counted out,” said Assistant Coach Demarius Chearis. “We had a lot of students at the game very excited. I know the boys are excited to come to school tomorrow so they can get the ‘Great job!’ from the teachers and the students.”
Despite the wild raucous joy, Coach Stokes and Coach Chearis preached focus, focus for what is to come. According to Coach Chearis, Head Coach Stokes was elated and very, very proud of his guys.
“He was excited, but he was trying to stay mellow for them to understand we have a game tomorrow,” said Coach Chearis. “What I like about Coach Stokes is he is a one game at a time person.
By time it was time to get into the locker room he celebrated a little bit. He told all the guys to go home and get some sleep. Don’t be up late playing video games.”
Fayette-Ware faces Mitchell, who eliminated the Wildcats then 22-7 team last February. After a whimsical, deserved win, the Wildcat turnaround is immediate.
“Just rest and get ready for the next game.”