All teams hit the ground running this week after some time off for the holidays, with Clinton traveling to Halls before hosting Campbell County, while Anderson County hosts Powell before traveling to Oak Ridge.
Clinton has taken some hard losses across December, losing against Archbishop Spalding and Frederick.
Halls is 2-7 for the season so far, getting absolutely destroyed by Oak Ridge and Knoxville Central, as well as William Blount. Campbell County, meanwhile, sits at 7-10 for the season, with losses to Anderson County, Oak Ridge, Powell, and Central, among others.
Last year, Clinton came away with strong wins against both teams, finishing the night 91-71 against Halls and 77-68 against Campbell County. With Clinton’s strong showing this season, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they don’t dominate in both games.
Anderson County hosts Powell early this week before traveling to Oak Ridge on Thursday.
Last year, Anderson County lost to Powell 44-54, but was one of the only teams in the district to beat Oak Ridge, finishing the game 65-64 in nail-biter fashion.
Currently, Oak Ridge is 8-2 this season, with the only loss inside the state coming from Webb. Powell currently sits at 4-4.
One good indicator of how Anderson County will perform against Powell came during the Maryville Christmas Tournament, where Powell played against Unicoi County and was losing until the very final moments of the game. Anderson County went on to beat Unicoi County by double digits after a strong game by Connor Martin and Carter Jett.
Head Coach Derek Wallace wants to keep expectations in check, but he’s optimistic.
“We’re back in the gym,” he said. “We have four days of practice before Powell and Oak Ridge. You know, it’s time for us to grow up. I’ve been saying that we’re a young team, and now we’re 10 and 6, so we have to start showing some maturity. We’ve got half a season behind us.
“Powell has had more district games than we have. I think we’ve only had three district games this year, so it’s still wide open for everyone. January is going to be huge for everyone.”
When asked what he’s expecting against Oak Ridge, Wallace acknowledged he’s expecting it to be tough.
“They were 13-1 last year and we beat them over there at home.” he said. “They have an added incentive to beat us this year. I’ll definitely feel a lot better if we beat Powell. Still, I think someone has to give Oak Ridge a run, and I think we could be the ones to do it. ”
Anderson County travels to Oak Ridge on Friday, while Clinton hosts Campbell County. Girls play at 6 on both nights, and boys play at 7:30.