Raven Parks

Raven Parks drives through two defenders Thursday (Nov. 18) in Commerce's loss to Cherokee Bluff.

COMMERCE – The Commerce girls’ basketball team played Cherokee Bluff close for three quarters Thursday (Nov. 18), but it ran out of gas in the fourth quarter as the Bears pulled away to win.

The Tigers lost 49-38 in their season opener against a Class AAA school. Lauren Massey led the squad with 12 points. Carson Hobbs added 10 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 at the free-throw line. Raven Parks scored nine points.

Unfortunately for Commerce, Hobbs was the only player with a good night at the line. As a team, Commerce shot 7-of-15 on free throws. Meanwhile, Cherokee Bluff shot a whopping 27 free throws and converted 14 of them for points.

“I think we lost the battle of conditioning,” said head coach Brad Puckett. “We’ve been conditioning, but I think we were tired in the fourth quarter and that can’t ever be an excuse. We’ve got to get in better shape.

“I also think the seniors, playing their last, first game on this court, when they got down in the fourth quarter, I think they dropped their heads. They never dropped their heads last year, and that won’t happen again. These girls are smart enough to learn from that. We’ll overcome that because last year we came from behind all year long.”

Commerce (0-1, 0-0 Region 8-A Public) trailed Cherokee Bluff for most of three quarters. The Bears held a 9-6 lead after the first quarter, but both teams amped up their offenses in the second quarter. The Tigers’ offense was a bit sharper in the second quarter as they outscored Cherokee Bluff enough to tie the game 22-22 at halftime.

They finally took a 33-32 lead from Cherokee Bluff (1-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA) late in the third quarter, but that was the closest the Tigers would get to winning. The Bears outscored Commerce 17-5 the rest of the way to win 49-38.

Commerce’s competition doesn’t get any easier as it hosts Madison County from Class AAAA on Tuesday (Nov. 23). In fact, four of Commerce’s next five opponents are from higher classes. That span includes two games against rival banks County from Class AA.

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