A big week looms on the hardwood for ACHS and Clinton

Games abound this week, with Anderson County basketball traveling to Campbell County Dec. 13 and Scott County Dec. 17.

The Dragons, meanwhile, travel to Oak Ridge Dec. 13 for their other long-running rivalry, and host Science Hill Dec. 17.

With the Mavericks coming off two heavy losses to Central and their old rival, Clinton, it will be interesting to see how their morale fares.

Head Coach Derek Wallace didn’t have much to say regarding how he thinks the team will approach the coming games.

“We’ll just have to see how we respond during practice.”

Clinton, meanwhile, has come off of two strong wins, carving out a victory against Karns in overtime to finish 58-57, and handily beating Anderson County 67-43 at home.

The Dragons will need that confidence moving forward, though, as they challenge two strong competitors. Clinton lost to Oak Ridge both times last year, and Oak Ridge has, for many years now, been ranked as one of the top teams in East Tennessee, last year going 26-7.

Science Hill, despite not being a regular opponent for Clinton, lost to Oak Ridge last year 53-51, coming much closer to toppling the Wildcats than the Dragons did in either game. The Wildcats are undefeated so far.

Head Coach Chris Lockard says the team is approaching both teams with the respect they deserve.

“They’re two of the toughest teams in our district,” he said. “For the last four or five years, Oak Ridge has always been one or two. It’s definitely going to be tough, but I’d like to be able to see us continue doing what we’re doing, and make our adjustments minimal so we can focus on just doing what we do and what we need to do to make our team successful. We have to make those adjustments, though. Both teams have good players, they’re both very well coached, and they’re both going to have things we haven’t seen.

“After Karns and Anderson County, I think some of our guys can play with a little more confidence. I think our confidence is building as a team. We still have things to improve on, and we’re really pushing to improve in those areas, but where we’re at right now, I’m very pleased with that. I’m very pleased with the overall attitudes and how they’re accepting roles, and with our young guys and the contributions they’re making off the bench.”

Lockard said one of the most difficult parts is keeping the team focused.

“We had two really tough games in the same week, and especially after a big emotional game, like Anderson County, you don’t want your kids to lose focus on what’s ahead, but that’s hard at the high school level. They get excited, and they’re either emotionally high or emotionally low, and it’s your job to get them ready for the next game however you can.”

Both teams play Dec. 13, with Anderson County traveling to Campbell County and Clinton to Oak Ridge. On Dec. 17, Clinton hosts Science Hill and Anderson County travels to Scott County. Tip off for all games is 6:30 for girls and 7:30 for guys. The only exception is Anderson County’s boys game against Scott County, which will tip off at 8:00 pm.