Mavs break nine-year losing streak to OR
Historically, for Anderson County High School Basketball, the Oak Ridge Wildcats have been the Mavs’ Achilles’ heel. The cross-county rivals have met on the hardwood on 34 occasions. Out of those 34 contests, Anderson County has only defeated Oak Ridge twice — the Mavs won both games during the 2009-2010 season.
However, last Friday, the 2018-2019 Anderson County Basketball Mavericks broke a nine-year, 18-game losing streak in dramatic, comeback fashion.
Anderson County Senior Stanton Martin would — somehow — make a heavily contested layup, from a ridiculously acute angle, which put Anderson County up by one point with 1.2 seconds left in the ballgame.
The ensuing Wildcats’ attempt at a full-court inbounds play and desperation heave was unsuccessful. Anderson County (7-4, 4-2) captured a huge 65-64 District 3AAA road win over Oak Ridge (9-3, 3-1).
“That was awesome! Oak Ridge has always been dominant. To come to their place and get a win like that, it is a great feeling,” said Stanton Martin on the win.
“That was really sweet. I received over 100 text messages from former Anderson County players and coaches sending their congratulations—that shows how big a win that was,” said Anderson County Head Coach Derek Wallace about the win.
The last three minutes of the fourth quarter was all the time the Mavs needed to turn this past Friday night at Oak Ridge into a historic night for Anderson County hoops—a night that will be remembered for a long time.
Oak Ridge opened the ballgame with a 14-6 lead over Anderson County. Oak Ridge’s Marcus Smith and Jeremy Miller both had seven points each. Defensively, the Wildcats’ full-court press took Anderson County’s offense out of rhythm. Because of the press, most of the Wildcats’ first quarter points came easily off of turnovers.
When the Mavs could get the ball across the timeline, their half-court offense was efficient. Anderson County’s go-to-guy early on was senior post Tanner Davis, who had the Mavs first six points. However, with just over two minutes left in the quarter, senior guard Harrison Ogburn would hit a triple from the corner. Ogburn’s trey sparked an Anderson County 10-0 run to end the quarter, and the Mavs led 16-14 heading into the second quarter.
Oak Ridge’s full-court press continued to hinder Mavs’ possessions, and momentum started to swing to the Wildcats early in the second quarter. Anderson County Head Coach Derek Wallace looked to Logan Berry and Carter Jett to attack Oak Ridge’s press out of the backcourt. However, the Mavs struggled to turn possessions into points — putting up only nine on the board in the second quarter.
For Oak Ridge, Herbert Booker is an offensive weapon that can heat up quickly. Booker would put up nine of the Wildcats’ 14 second quarter points. Heading into the break, Oak Ridge had the momentum, and a 28-25 lead.
The third quarter of play was much like the second quarter. The Wildcats continued to press Anderson County, and it was evident that the Mavs were struggling to break it.
Anderson County’s offensive woes resulted in another low scoring quarter — ten points — senior Grant Hayes had five of them.
Oak Ridge continued to create easy buckets off of turnovers and stretched their lead to ten, 45-35, heading into the fourth quarter. The Wildcats received a productive quarter from Javonte Thomas, who had eight points in the third.
With a 12-point, 58-46 lead with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge looked to have the game under control.
However, the turning point of the ballgame was when the Wildcats fell back into a stretched out half-court defense. When Oak Ridge abandoned their full-court press, the game changed within the next few Anderson County possessions. The Mavs’ had struggled for two quarters, all of the sudden came to life.
Again, Ogburn would spark the Anderson County run with a triple, right in front of the Mavs’ bench. Hayes would hit a two-point bucket on the next Mavs’ possession.
Oak Ridge would inbound and attempt to advance the ball into the frontcourt, but senior Marquis Gallaher would come up with a steal, drive 50 feet, and finish with a left handed finger-roll. Oak Ridge would answer, and the Mavs gained possession trailing 60-53.
Ogburn would nail a huge contested corner triple, and made the contest a two-possession ballgame. Anderson County trailed 60-56 with 1:41 left in regulation. After a timeout and an Oak Ridge bucket, Anderson County’s Gallaher would be fouled going to the rim. Quis hit one-of-two, and the Mavs would immediately foul on the Wildcats’ inbound.
With 54.7 seconds left, and a 62-57 lead, Oak Ridge’s Jeremy Miller stepped up to the charity stripe for a one-and-one.
However, Miller would miss the front end, and the Mavs would push into the frontcourt. The ball would end up in the hands of Grant Hayes, who drove hard into the paint and was fouled on his shot attempt. Hayes stepped up to the line and hit both free throws, cutting Oak Ridge’s lead down to one possession—62-59.
The Wildcats would inbound and push the ball into the frontcourt. Oak Ridge attempted to drive into the paint but Gallaher was able to come up with another huge steal for Anderson County.
Gallaher looked up and hit Hayes on the outlet pass. Hayes rifled the rock up the left side of the floor to Logan Berry. Berry immediately drove straight to the rim and was fouled. Berry stepped up to the charity stripe, knocked down both free throws, and the Mavs’ trailed by only one — 62-61. Oak Ridge would inbound, and call a timeout.
With only 31.6 seconds left in regulation, Anderson County was forced to foul. Oak Ridge’s Marcus Smith stepped up to the line, but missed the front end of the one-and-one. Anderson County’s Stanton Martin hauled in the rebound and was fouled on the play.
The teams walked from one free throw line to the other, where Martin would attempt a one-and-one. Martin sunk both free throws, and Anderson County took a 63-62 lead with 25.4 seconds left.
Anderson County left their four other players back on defense, so Oak Ridge inbounded to Marcus Smith. The senior guard drove 90 feet to the rim and hit a contested left-handed bank off the glass from just outside of the paint. Oak Ridge immediately called a timeout to organize its defense. Anderson County, trailing 64-63 with 15.3 seconds left, was forced to go 94 feet to win the game—they did.
Logan Berry received the inbound pass and crossed the timeline with 10 seconds left in the game. Berry gave a bounce pass to Davis at the free throw line.
With his back to the basket, Davis took a few dribbles to his left, across the top of the paint. From the near baseline corner, Martin moved up around the arc, over the top of Davis — who handed the ball off.
From just beyond the free throw line, Martin drove hard to hit right, down the left side of the paint, and in between two Oak Ridge defenders. Both Wildcats got hands on the ball, but Martin outmuscled both. Taking one of the defenders to the rim, Martin adjusted in midair to somehow put up a right handed layup, on the left side of the glass, from almost underneath the backboard — and it went off the glass and in.
How? That is a great question. When asked about his game-winner, Stanton Martin said, “I have not hit a layup all season and I hit that one. To hit that last-second shot after I have not hit a layup all season—It feels good. It is exhilarating! ”
“That was really sweet. I received over 100 text messages from former Anderson County players and coaches sending their congratulations — that shows how big a win that was,” said Anderson County Head Coach Derek Wallace about the win. Wallace said, “This is one of those things that these guys will never forget,” and the head ball coach is right.
The Mavs were led in scoring by Senior Harrison Ogburn, who had 13 of his 16 total points in the fourth quarter. Seniors Grant Hayes and Tanner Davis contributed ten points each. Free throw shooting made a difference in this ballgame, and Anderson County went 14-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Out of those 18 attempts, 15 came in the fourth quarter, and the Mavs made 12 of those attempts. Anderson County will return to the hardwood this Thursday, at Norris Middle School, against First Baptist Academy, in the first round of their annual Christmas tournament. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 4:15.