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Redskins capture county championship

It probably should be no surprise that one of the most competitive and balanced middle school basketball seasons in history ended with a championship game that went down to the wire.

Cumberland held off a valiant comeback attempt by Evarts to capture the seventh- and eighth-grade county championship with a 40-39 win Friday at James A. Cawood Elementary School.

“Everybody was pretty evenly matched this year. We were real steady all year and did a good job of keeping our composure in tight games, including tonight,” Cumberland coach Jerry Edwards said. “We’ve had good balance all year. They like to share the ball. This is the same group that won in the sixth grade two years ago. These kids knew their roles, even the ones on the bench. They came to practice every day and supported each other.

“Evarts was tough. We had split four games during the season. We knew it was going to be a tough, competitive game.”

Jonah Swanner, a seventh-grade guard, scored 24 points to lead the 15-2 Redskins, including six of nine Cumberland points during a fourth quarter when the Redskins were outscored 16-9.

Austin Tindell led the Wildcats with 14 points, including six in the final period. Jayden Ward and John Long each had two baskets each during the fourth quarter comeback.

Brayden Blakley hit two free throws in the fourth quarter and Jaedyn Gist added one to help the Redskins hang on for the win.

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Cameron Lester, another standout seventh grader, scored 19 points to lead James A. Cawood past Cawood 35-30 in the third-place game.

Braden Cox led Cawood with 10 points.

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Cumberland (40) — Jaedyn Gist 4, Johann Gist 4, Jonah Swanner 24, Justin Moyers 4, Brayden Blakley 2, Nathan Shepherd 2,

Evarts (39) — Tristan Cochran 4, Austin Tindell 14, Jayden Ward 7, Zack Potter 6, John Long 6, Chase Sizemore 2.

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James A. Cawood (35) — Cameron Lester 19, Nathan Daniels 9, Tristan Cooper 4, Gavin Spurlock 3.

Cawood (30) — Adam Boggs 6, Braden Cox 10, Jeremiah Clem 2, Dylan Hicks 3, Braxton Bolin 5, Michael Long 4.