Creek Wood head coach Charles Taylor describes his basketball team as deep, competitive, flexible and a little lucky.
It’s a combination of all these things that have given the Red Hawks eight consecutive wins and victories in 17 of their last 18 games, including a Tuesday, Feb. 2 win over hosting Stewart County. Despite seeing two separate 16-point leads diminish throughout the contest, Creek Wood was able to pull it out by a final score of 76-67.
“We have some parts that we can mix and match,” Taylor said. “We shoot well (and) have two or three guys that can drive to the hole. Then, obviously, we have Rex (Edmonson) and Braden (Dawson) on the inside, posting. So, when they take away something, you just try to go attack them at a different spot.”
The Red Hawks utilized all three components of their offense throughout the victory, beginning the game with incredible point production. CWHS nailed four triples in the first period and quickly put up 27 points in the first nine minutes of action. Senior Raekwonn Nesbitt was lights out from the tip, scoring 12 at the end of one and finishing with 27 on the night.
Stewart County was able to hold off their opposition’s fast start from an unlikely source, however. Junior Tucker Story, in his first year with the program, put up 13 of his 15 points before halftime to bring the game within two possessions. Story had not scored in a varsity game since Dec. 28 but was forced into action due to foul trouble for the Rebels. The junior was Stewart County’s second leading scorer on the evening behind Landon Dennis’ game-high 29.
Nevertheless, Creek Wood rebuilt their largest lead of the game midway through the third period. The Red Hawks dominated on the glass after intermission and held a 58-43 advantage when entering the fourth. Although their edge would be brought down to as little as five points late, CWHS held on via a 12-for-16 showing from the free throw line.
“We kept punching, but they shot the ball really well tonight,” said Stewart County head coach Nick Wallace. “When they shoot it like that, they’re hard to beat. I don’t think we played that poorly. We caught them on a wrong night a little bit tonight. The kids fought, the kids played hard and just came up a few possessions short.
“They’re really tough at home. They have a lot of guys that can score and they have some matchup problems with us in terms of the way they can spread the floor and drive. We talk about (how) we’ve got to withstand a run, and they had a couple of them. I’m proud that we were able to fight through it.”
Creek Wood remains unblemished in D11-AA and aims to maintain their perfect district record when battling Fairview and Lewis County, respectively. The Red Hawks have yet to break through into the Associated Press’ statewide AA rankings, but Taylor is more concerned with their final three games before the postseason. With a two-game lead for the district’s No. 1 seed, CWHS vies for their first tournament title since 2016.
Stewart County and Creek Wood return to the hardwood later in the week. The Red Hawks travel to Dickson County on Feb. 4, while SCHS plays at Lewis County on Saturday.
Creek Wood (76): Raekownn Nesbitt 27, Jace Herrell 12, Cole Adams 9, Kayden Austin 9, Jamison Ford 9, Rex Edmonson 6, Braden Dawson 4.
Stewart County (67): Landon Dennis 29, Tucker Story 15, Aden Houston 6, Will Page 5, Eli Bogard 4, Jayce Powell 4, Sawyer Wallace 2, Weston Wallace 2.