Anderson County High School’s girls basketball team notched a big early-season road victory just before the Thanksgiving holiday break last week.
“Powell is a tough place to win,” Lady Mavericks Coach Mitch Cupples said after his squad left Powell High School’s Jeff Hunter Gymnasium with a hard-fought 77-73 win over the Lady Panthers on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
“If you get a win over there, you don’t ever want to give it back,” he said.
“(Powell) Coach (John) Fisher does such a great job.”
It was an early-season shootout between the Lady Mavericks (3-2) and the young Lady Panthers, who are still in search of their first win of the new season.
Powell (0-3) started fast, opening a 9-4 lead midway through the first quarter — only to see Anderson County storm back to knot the game 14-14 by the end of the opening frame. That quarter saw the two squads combine to knock down 23 long-range jumpers from beyond the three-point arc. ACHS buried 14 three-pointers, while the Lady Panthers converted nine field goals from long range.
In the first half, the Lady Mavs made 11 field goals, including seven from beyond the arc. Macy Basford converted five three-pointers over the inaugural 16 minutes of the game, and scored 17 of her 22 points before halftime in a game that was in stark contrast with ACHS’s November trip to Northwest Knox County last season.
“If you remember what happened over here last year, we were 1-for-23 from the three-point line,” Cupples said.
Anderson County certainly didn’t struggle from outside last week. All of Basford’s successful shots came from beyond the arc.
Emily Mustard, who had 10 of her game-high 23 points before halftime, made two shots from long range before the break.
Anderson County was also 4-for-5 from the free-throw line in the first half.
Still, the team faced a 34-33 deficit at the half.
The Lady Mavericks, however took control of the shootout in the third stanza as they outscored the home team 27-18 in the frame and opened a 60-52 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Anderson County extended its advantage to 68-53 when Mustard converted from long range with 6 minutes, 35
But the Lady Panthers wouldn’t go away. They cut the Lady Mavericks’ lead to just two, at 68-66, when freshman Payton Richmond hit three free throws midway through the period.
Richmond, a post player for Powell, proved to be its most versatile weapon as she scored 20 points and made a pair of long-range shots.
“(Richmond) has a good shot; she’s really good and she has great footwork,” Cupples said.
But the Lady Mavericks, who also got 22 points from Bethany Lowe, would hold the Lady Panthers at bay.
Anderson County made six foul shots down the stretch to seal the win.
ACHS received offensive production from all areas of the floor. Point guard Jaylynn Bullock, who was saddled with early foul trouble after being whistled for two infractions in the first half, scored six points on a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter, and scored the Lady Mavericks’ final point from the foul line in the waning moments.
The offensive effort was just what Cupples wanted to see, but the coach noted that his team’s defense left plenty to be desired.
“I think this is the first time that we’ve scored more than 70 points in a game against a team where we were evenly matched,” he said. “Usually, that happens in a blowout, but this was also the first time that we’ve given up 70 points or more in a game like that.
“I wasn’t happy with our defense.”