Mavs win in dramatic fashion

Karns, Campbell looked for upsets is 3AAA

  • Anderson County swept Kerns last Tuesday. Anthony White (22) goes isnide against the Beavers - Conner McCarty

  • Lady Mav Macie Houser cruises to the hoop in an easy win for ACHS. - Conner McCarty

  • Anderson County’s Logan Berry sets up the Anderson County offense against Karns. - Conner McCarty

  • Mav guard Harrison Ogburn looks for a team mate inside to feed a pass during play last week. - Conner McCarty

The Anderson County Mavericks (16-9, 8-4) have won four out of their last five games and are playing well as January comes to a close.

The Mavs earned their last four victories in dramatic fashion — by a combined eight points. Additionally, eight of Anderson County’s 16 wins this season have come by five points or less.

Last week, the Mavs picked up two big District-3AAA away wins at Karns and Campbell County.

Against Karns, Anderson County trailed the Beavers for most of the game but would use a strong second half to come back to win, 60-56. Against Campbell County, it would be the former Cougars — Tanner Davis and Logan Berry — who would lead the Mavs to stun Campbell County 64-62, on Davis’ game-winning buzzer-beater. Anderson County’s ability to find a way to win in close games underlines this team’s grit, and because of those close victories, the Mavs head into this week ranked third in District-3AAA.

Against Karns (10-14, 6-7), on Tuesday, Anderson County’s strong second half the visiting Mavs lead 6-3 early in the first quarter. However, the Beavers would quickly regain the lead, 8-6. Karns did not trail again until the fourth quarter.

Senior post Tanner Davis would score four first quarter points, but Anderson County trailed at the end of one, 11-10. Both teams failed to find a rhythm during the slower-paced first half, but Karns knocked down more shots and held a 24-19 advantage at the break.

After shooting just 31-percent from the floor in the first half, Anderson County — led by their seniors — would lock on offensively, in the second half. “Coach (Wallace) told us at halftime that we needed to take better shots in the second half, and if we did that, we would win the game,” said Anderson County’s senior point guard Logan Berry.

The Mavs opened the third quarter on a 5-2 run, cutting the Beavers lead down to two, 26-24. Yet, Karns answered and extended their lead to 39-31 with about two minutes left in the quarter.

It was at this point that the game changed — Anderson County would catch fire from beyond the arc. Marquis Gallaher would counter by hitting three straight triples to pull the Mavs within one possession. Karns led 39-37 heading into the fourth quarter of play, but the Mavs had the momentum. After trading blows for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, Anderson County would finally regain the lead. Down 47-43, Stanton Martin would find Grant Hayes in the corner, who rose and knocked down the corner trey. Trailing by one and needing a stop, Logan Berry would come up with a steal, push in transition, and deliver a bounce pass ahead to Harrison Ogburn. Ogburn went to the rim and made a contested layup, which game Anderson County a 48-47 lead with 3:49 remaining in regulation. The Mavericks used extended possessions and free-throws to extend their lead to seven, 60-53. The Beavers would hit a three in the last few seconds, and Anderson County would leave with the win.

After hitting only one-of-nine three-point attempts in the first half, The Mavs hit seven-of-12 in the second half. “Grant and Quis got going in the second half, and knocked a few threes down to get us going,” said Anderson County’s senior post Tanner Davis. The fourth quarter treated Anderson County well—The Mavs shot six-of-ten from the floor, go seven-of-11 from the charity stripe, and bury four-of-five attempts from downtown. Grant Hayes led the Mavs with 20 points, 18 of which came in the second half, went 3-of-four from beyond the arc, and had eight boards. Marquis Gallaher finished the contest four-of-nine from downtown and put up 16 points.

On Friday, at Campbell County (2-22, 1-10), Anderson County faced a hostile environment, and an opponent with one goal—ruin the Mavs’ season. This was not just a normal District-3AAA game—Campbell County’s loud, rowdy, packed-out gym proved that. So, how did a two-win team draw a capacity crowd? Simple—Anderson County seniors Logan Berry and Tanner Davis. Both Berry and Davis are former Cougars and transferred to Anderson County. plus, to add fuel to the fire—it was not a peaceful breakup. With the boys’ program desperately fiending a victory, the Cougars’ faithful knew that a win over the Mavs would be their big statement win, for the 2018-2019 season. However, two Anderson County seniors had other ideas. “(Logan and I) have waited a long time to go back and play in that gym,” said Davis about going back to their former school.

On paper, this game appeared to be an easy Mavs’ win—but basketball is not played on paper. Both teams would come out of the gates aggressively. Defensively, Anderson County full-court pressed after made baskets. Because of this, the pace of the game was fast, end-to-end action. In fact, the first quarter was action-packed, and high scoring. Three-pointers, and-one-fouls, steals, blocks, good shooting, good defense—you name it. Defensively, for the Cougars, they tried to slow the game down, and force the Mavs into three-point shots by playing a 3-2 zone.

However, after a close, back-and-forth quarter, the Cougars led 20-18. Both Campbell County and Anderson County shot above 60-percent in the first quarter. The beginning of the second quarter—much of the same. Fast-paced, end-to-end action. The Mavs continued to press on made shots. However, neither team shot as well. The Mavs held a 31-29 lead in the last minute of the half, but the Cougars would hit the first buzzer-beater of the game, and knotted the contest up 31-31, at halftime.

Both teams refused to changer their game plan at the break and started the third quarter exactly like they had played in the first half. Because neither team held a lead by more than five points, the game seemed to lack big momentum swings. However, that would change with three minutes to play in the third quarter. Trailing 40-38, a technical foul on the Mavs would spark a Cougars’ 6-0 run, which peaked with a second technical foul on Anderson County. The Cougars would hit free-throws and have the largest lead of the game, 48-38. Also, Campbell County gained possession, as a result of the technical foul. With just under one-minute to play in the third quarter, the Cougars had an opportunity to extend their lead—but missed. Immediately, momentum shifted to Anderson County.

Stanton Martin grabbed the Mavs’ rebound, pushed up the floor, and kicked it out to Logan Berry. From the right wing, Berry drove straight to the rack, laid it up, and scored. A traveling violation on Campbell County would give the ball back to the Mavs, down 48-40, with 6.6 seconds remaining in the third. Logan Berry took the inbounds pass at midcourt, drove straight down the right side of the paint, and again went straight to the rim. Berry would be fouled, hit the layup, and go to the line with 3.1 remaining in the third quarter. Berry’s free-throw hit strong off the back iron—Stanton Martin hauled in the long rebound, landed, immediately rose up again, and knocked down the mid-range jumper. The second buzzer-beater of the game cut Campbell County’s ten-point lead down to four, 48-44, as the game headed into the fourth quarter.

The Mavs had the first possession of the quarter, and Martin would muscle in a Mavericks’ deuce—making it a one-possession ballgame. While Anderson County’s full court pressure made life difficult for the Cougars, the Mavs also had success with two-man traps in the half-court defense. Martin and Harrison Ogburn would pin a Cougar against the sideline and forced a loose ball. Grant Hayes gathered for Anderson County, and rifled a long pass to Ogburn. On the right side on the arc, Ogburn would bury an uncontested dagger from downtown to give Anderson County a 49-48 lead. An 11-0 Anderson County scoring run.

After three multiple lead changes, Campbell County would have a 60-58 lead before Grant Hayes’ reverse layup. Anderson County would call timeout with the game tied at 60-60, with 1:06 remaining in regulation. Campbell County would find an easy layup to go up by two. However, on the Mavs’ ensuing possession, Berry would bottom a mid-range baseline jumper to tie the game 62-62. Campbell County would advance the ball past midcourt and call a timeout, with 9.1 seconds to play.

The Cougars’ inbounds play would backfire when the inbounds pass was mishandled and lost out of bounds. Tied at 62-62, with 6.5 seconds left in regulation, 94 feet away from their basket—Anderson County would absolutely stun Campbell County. Logan Berry received Eli Varner’s inbounds pass and started up the right side of the backcourt. Berry crossed to his left, split two defenders crossing the midcourt logo, and pulled up from just beyond the top of the arc. Berry’s attempt would fall short, however, Tanner Davis boxed out on the shot, gathered the miss with a fully extended left arm, quickly rose up to kiss the game-winner off the glass, and called “ballgame” at the buzzer. Davis’ buzzer-beater, the third buzzer-beater of the game, the difference—as Anderson County shocked Campbell County 64-62.

“To be honest, I thought I knocked down that shot,” said Berry laughingly. “I watched the ball the whole way and, from where I was standing, it didn’t look like it was going to go close to the rim,” countered Davis, also laughingly. “I went right under the goal and (the ball) fell in my hands—as soon as I caught it, I knew I had to throw it back up,” said Davis about his buzzer-beating game-winner.

You can call it destiny, fate, karma—whatever. Call it what you want, that the ball would end up in the hands of both former Cougars, Berry and Davis, on the last play of the game. Additionally, for Tanner to hit the game-winning buzzer beater and for Logan to experience that kind of win, in that fashion, in that gymnasium—you could not write a better ending. The contest was one of which both Anderson County seniors will remember for a long time.

Those that came to see Berry and Davis struggle left the Campbell County gym disappointed. Both combined, scored 33 of the Mavs’ 64 total points. Logan Berry would finish a crazy night with 17 points on seven-of-17 attempts from the floor. Berry went two-for-four at the line, added a triple, three boards, two steals, and four assists. Tanner Davis would finish the contest with 16 points on six-of-nine attempts from the floor. Davis also snagged two boards, two steals, and turned Logan Berry’s airball into a buzzer-beating game-winner. Berry, Davis, and the rest of the Mavs look to carry the momentum into this week—where they will travel to Halls on Tuesday, before the big cross-town showdown at Clinton, on Friday.