Acts of charity boost Karns in upset over ACHS

  • Anderson County’s Marquis Gallaher gets past a Karns defender on his way to the basket during District Tournament play last week. - Conner McCarty

  • Grant Hayes (below) comes up with a lose ball during play. - Conner McCarty

The Anderson County High School Mavericks locked up the boys’ District 3-AAA Tournament third seed, with a 77-64 win over Halls last Monday.

The Mavs earned a first round bye and awaited the winner of the Campbell County/Karns game. The Beavers would get the win and advanced to a quarterfinal bout with Anderson County.

However, Karns would upset Anderson County and eliminate the Mavs, with a 66-63 win. The Mavs held advantages in almost every statistical category except one — free throws.

Anderson County shot only five free throws all night. While all five attempts were made, the Beavers went 19-of-24 from the charity stripe.

The Beavers’ ability to get to the line throughout the course of the game and hit free throws down the stretch to maintain a multiple possession lead, would propel Karns into the semifinals.

Karns (12-15), in front of their home crowd, opened the contest with an 8-2 run.

However, the Mavs would counter with an 8-2 run of their own, and both teams entered the second quarter deadlocked at 10-10. Yet, the Beavers would quickly reclaim the lead and build on it in the second quarter.

With just over a minute before halftime, Karns gained their largest lead of the game, 27-18. Defensively, Karns ran a three-two zone that the Mavs struggled to attack. Because Anderson County is undersized and lacks a true post player, the Karns’ zone was effective, and the Beavers would take a 27-20 advantage into the break.

The Mavs began the second half playing like a completely different team, and went on a 13-5 run to regain a 33-32 lead. Six different Mavs would contribute to Anderson County’s 20 third quarter points. Just when momentum seemed to be swinging to Anderson County, Karns would answer. The Beavers were able to regain the lead again before the final quarter, and the Mavs trailed 43-40 heading into the fourth quarter.

The first four minutes of the fourth quarter were back-and-forth, with multiple lead changes. Anderson County led 52-51 with around five minutes to play. Yet, Karns would go on a 9-0 run to regain the lead and created a multiple possession deficit for the Mavs. The damage of the Beavers’ run—Anderson County trailed 60-52, with under four minutes to play.

Anderson County needed a run to stay within reach of Karns, and the Mavs would do just that. The Mavs countered the Beavers’ run with an 8-2 run, which made it a two-point ballgame. Trailing by two, and with the clock against them, Anderson County was forced to foul. Karns hit 12-of-15 attempts from the line in the fourth quarter and would hit all four attempts within the final minute of play.

The Beavers’ free throws made it a two-possession game, with under 30 seconds to play. As the final seconds ticked away, Anderson County’s senior point guard Logan Berry would hit a desperation three, but the Karns High School Beavers would escape with a three-point win, eliminating the Mavs, 66-63.

Anderson County had a better shooting percentage than Karns, had more rebounds, had more points in the paint, and assists. However, it would be the charity stripe that made the difference at the end of the game. In their last games as Anderson County Mavericks, seniors Grant Hayes, Logan Berry, and Stanton Martin would all put up a team-high 13 points each, and senior Tanner Davis followed with 10 points.

The Anderson County Mavericks conclude the 2018-2019 campaign with a 19-5 overall record. The Mavs went 9-5 in District 3-AAA play, and finished the regular season in third place.