published Monday, December 17th, 2012

Birchfield has big week for Dade County

  • photo
    Dade County's Cole Birchfield heads past North Murray's Austen Horn at Dade County High School.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Dade County coach Glen Hicks allows others to tell his players how good they are, but warns them not to believe it until the day he says it to them.

"If I tell them they're great, I'm lying," he said.

Senior Cole Birchfield might not be a great player, but he definitely had a great week.

Birchfield averaged 34 points in a pair of Region 7-AA victories, earning himself Times Free Press Player of the Week honors. The Wolverines improved to 8-1 on the season with wins over region opponents Model and Armuchee last week.

The guard had his second-best scoring performance of the season against Model, with the 44-point output only being topped by a 57-point performance against Howard Thanksgiving week. He hit seven 3s in the game despite being 1-for-11 in the first half of the contest.

"I told the team that was as bad of a first half as they'd played and we were just down three at the half," Hicks said. "We were able to wear them down a little bit and make a little run in the third quarter."

Birchfield equaled his 3-point shooting output against an Armuchee team that has typically given the Wolverines problems on the road, finishing with 24 points.

Hicks was very complimentary of both Birchfield and junior Clynt Bell for their recent contributions, as the two have split reps at the point guard positions in the absence of starter Nick Gaddis, who was hurt in the Marion County game.

"We've now grown to expect their contributions," Hicks said. "I see it everyday because they put so much time in the gym. It's really sweet when you have two guards that can handle it.

"Cole's put the hours in since he was a freshman, and we ask the players to put a lot of ownership into the program. We want our guys to still feel like they're a part of it."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

Please send nominations for Player of the Week to Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com by 2 p.m. Sunday.

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