Dragons heat up summer with camp performance

Bryson Maddox, a rising junior, had a strong showing for the Dragons hoopsters during last week’s camp at Johnson University in South Knox County. Maddox has continued to develop his versatility over the past two seasons and can play both for- ward and center. (photo:Tony Cox )
The foundation for basketball success is created during the warm days of late spring and early summer.

And Clinton High School’s boys basketball team began preparing for the 2024-25 season last week at a team camp at Johnson University in South Knox County.

The Dragons played five games at the team camp against some stiff competition and picked up four wins.

Clinton’s showing left long time Coach Chris Lockard with plenty to be excited about.

“It was very productive and we played well offensively,” he said. “We were 4-1 over there. Even in the game we lost, we played pretty well.

“We played Warren County and Rhea County, teams we usually don’t get to see,” Lockard said. “We played some other teams that I’ve never heard of. I guess they’re from out of state. In the game we lost, I used a different rotation and I got some younger guys, some freshmen and sophomores, a chance to play and get some experience, and they hung in there.”

Lockard, who will begin his 25th year as CHS’s head coach later this year, was particularly pleased with junior Bryson Maddox, a post player and two-sport athlete for the Dragons, who showed flashes of brilliance during his freshman and sophomore campaigns on the hardwood.

“Bryson Maddox played well for us,” Lockard said of the junior who can play both forward and center and is a wide receiver on the Clinton football team.

“We got a glimpse of that over the last two years when he was a freshman and sophomore,” Lockard said. “But he was more consistent and he was really explosive.”

The coach also noted that he was pleased with guards Teegan Bolinger and Carson Richardson, who are both returning seniors in the backcourt for CHS.

The Dragons, who featured one of the area’s youngest teams in both 2022-23 and 2023-24, after making a run to the state tournament in 2021-22, have endured a few growing pains.

Clinton, however, has reached consecutive district tournament championship games in three different leagues.

“We’ve played in five district championship games in a row and that’s just a testament to our kids,” Lockard said.

While the coach was pleased with his squad’s overall effort, particularly on offense, defense has always been, and will always be the Dragons’ calling card. And Lockard, as always, is concerned about Clinton’s defensive effort.

“I’m more concerned with how motivated we are and how we can improve defensively,” he said.

The Dragons will continue their summer season this week when

they return to Knoxville for a team camp at Karns High School.

“We go to Karns this week, so hopefully, we’ll keep this going,” Lockard said.