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High school hoops have a busy week pre-Christmas break

Anderson County’s Zeke Williams drives through the lane for a basket. (photo:Ricky Williams )
ACHS Mavericks

First-year Anderson County High School boys basketball Coach Jordan Jeffers has made no secret about his frustration this season.

The Mavericks have struggled to find their way, but on Friday night, they could celebrate, at least a little bit.

ACHS passed a stiff road test as the Mavericks notched a 69-64 District 4-AAA victory at Knoxville Halls. The win snapped the Mavs’ eight-game regular-season losing streak, which dates back to last season.

Anderson County (3-7 overall, 1-2 in the district), which also dropped a pair of district tournament tilts last season, won its first District 4-AAA game since TSAA realignment two years ago, and Jeffers certainly wasn’t about to give the win against the Red Devils (6-5, 2-1) back.

“The gig’s up,” Jeffers said after ACHS erased a 33-27 halftime deficit in North Knox County in a hostile environment. “We played 10 players and we had a great group effort tonight and the energy was great.

“It’s about the best that it’s been all year. We came in here and got a win and this is a really tough place to play.”

The Mavericks, who trailed 48-44 heading into the final frame, exploded for 22 fourth-quarter points.

ACHS scrapped, and after trailing 33-27 at halftime, rallied to take a 51-50 lead when Ryan McGhee scored with 6 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the contest.

The Red Devils briefly recaptured the lead when Grayson Bishop converted a pair of free throws.

But the Mavs would take the lead for good when Cole Russell buried a 3-pointer to make it 54-52 at the 6:15 mark.

Russell’s long-range jumper keyed a run as Anderson County would go on to score the next six points, all by Brandon Dake, who had a key offensive rebound and putback along with two foul shots and another field goal to make the score 60-52 with 5:27 to go.

The Red Devils made one last run as they pulled to within 60-59 on a 3-pointer by Gabe Holmes with 2:59 to go. After Dake converted an old-fashion 3-point play after grabbing an offensive rebound to make it 63-59 before the Red Devils knotted the game, 63-63 on a 3-pointer by Caleb Shaffer with 1:33 left.

ACHS would bury clutch free throws down the stretch to find their way into the win column.

The game wasn’t, however, without some struggles for the Mavericks.

ACHS started fast, opening a 15-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, and the Mavericks also got the host Red Devils into foul trouble as Shaffer, Halls High’s sharpshooter, picked up a pair of early fouls and was rendered largely ineffective in the first half.

The Red Devils, however, started the second quarter with a 10-0 run and took an 18-15 lead when Shaffer came back off the bench to knock down a 3-pointer with 5:44 left in the first half.

Clinton High Dragons

A hot shooting night propelled the Clinton High School boys basketball team into the win column Friday night.

The Dragons shot a blistering 66.7 percent from the field as they notched a crucial District 4-AAA victory over the Scott Highlanders in Huntsville, winning 52-44.

Clinton (4-4 overall, 2-1 in the district) prevailed in a tough environment.

“It was really wild,” CHS Coach Chris Lockard said. “It’s a tough place to play and it was a good environment.

“It got a little wild up there with stuff going on away from the court. You had a fan argue with a referee and get ejected. It was just really intense.”

The Dragons, who went 14-for-21 from the field, opened a 23-10 lead by halftime.

The Highlanders outscored Clinton 34-29 after halftime, but the Dragons held on for a key district win.

“The Scott County win was big for us,” Lockard said. “It was an important win for us as far as the district is concerned.We kind of found ourselves in a situation similar to the one (in a loss) against Halls.

“But we were able to win this time. They got (the lead) down to three, but we were able to make free throws and win the game.”

Teegan Bolinger and Jeremiah Lee scored 21 points for the Dragons. Bolinger also dished out four assists in the contest.

Clinton defeated Oakdale 71-53 at home on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

The Dragons shot 59.6 percent from the floor as they opened a 45-27 lead in the first half.

Lee scored 19 points and had eight assists. Bryson Maddox led Clinton with 21 points. He also grabbed four rebounds.

Bolinger scored 12 points and pulled down five boards. Brent Reynolds had seven points and eight rebounds.

Clinton Lady Dragons

Clinton High School’s girls basketball team notched a key District 4-AAA victory in hostile territory Friday night as it left Scott High School with a 53-50 victory.

It was the second win of the week for the Lady Dragons (5-3 overall, 2-1 in the district). Clinton also routed Oakdale 75-36 on Tuesday, Dec. 13, in the friendly confines of the Don W. Lockard Gymnasium.

“Going into Scott County, that’s a really tough place to play and it was a really good environment,” CHS Coach Alicia Phillips said. “It was good to come out of there with a win. That was a big win for us, especially after we played Halls tough at home (in a 48-41 loss on Dec. 9).

“We really had three girls, Addi Gamble, Josie Moody and Allie York, really step up for us.”

York scored 13 for the Lady Dragons against the Lady Highlanders. Bailey Burroughs added 10 points. Moody had eight and Gamble finished with seven.

In Clinton’s win over Oakdale, freshman Laney Carmichael paced the Lady Dragons’ balanced and potent offensive attack as she scored 17 points. Gamble added 14. Burroughs had 12 and Moody finished with eight.

ACHS Lady Mavericks

A prolonged scoring slump spelled defeat for Anderson County’s girls basketball team Friday night in a District 4-AAA road tilt.

The Lady Mavericks were embroiled in a close game early at Halls, but cold shooting and turnovers doomed them on this night.

“Turnovers and offensive rebounding have been our Achille’s Heel all year,” ACHS Coach Mitch Cupples said after the Lady Devils toppled the Lady Mavs 57-29. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers and they turned them into points.”

ACHS (3-7 overall, 1-2 in the district) was competitive early as it trailed 11-10 after the first quarter. But the Lady Devils used a 21-10 run to open a double-digit lead by halftime.

And from there, things would only get worse for Anderson County. Miscues haunted the Lady Mavericks as they scored just nine points over the final 16 minutes. The Lady Devils (10-1, 3-0), meanwhile, had no problems getting the ball into the basket.

Halls High’s Kiera Everett scored 10 of her game-high 17 points after the break, and Sophie Tharrpe scored 10 points in the contest.

Lydia Meldrum led the Lady Mavericks with nine points, while Macy Basford, Emily Mustard and Bailey Newman scored five points each.

Despite seeing his team endure mighty struggles, Cupples said ACHS, which has been plagued by illness and riddled with injuries, would improve.

“We’ll get better,” he said. “We’ve had sickness and injuries, but we have a great bunch of kids.”