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Working to get the games in

COVID protocols playing havoc with schedules

Basketball games are a little off this week as schools continue trying to adjust their schedules after a month of quarantine.

The Clinton boys host two home games this week, including a rematch against Halls on Saturday night after a close loss to the Red Devils last week.

Clinton hosts Central Tuesday night, facing a school that has historically been a tough match for the Dragons.

The Lady Dragons travel to Oak Ridge on Thursday to face the Lady Wildcats after contact tracing forced them to reschedule their last meeting. The girls resume their regular schedule on Saturday in a rematch against Halls.

Chris Lockard, the head coach for the Dragons, said there’s a lot in the air, and spoke on what the team is emphasizing for the upcoming games.

“The Halls game, they just flat out outworked us and outplayed us,” he said

“They played harder than we did. We still should have won it, but we missed 17 free throws. They outrebounded us, got all the 50/50 balls. We still came back and took the lead. I mean, we were down by 20 and ended up taking the lead by five or six, but when you miss that many free throws, then, man, it’s tough to win.

“Moving forward to Central — they always scare you to death. They’re an extremely athletic team. They have one guy that can score from anywhere. He’s an incredible shooter. They have a couple of very physical post players inside that rebound well. They pose a serious snatch-up problem for us. We’re going to have to get on top of our defensive game and really score well if we’re going to get out with a win.”

Lockard said that with Covid and the team’s performance last week, he’s changing up practices this week to try and correct some of the team’s shortcomings.

“Right now, at this point in the season, typically we’d be more concerned about scouting our opponent and finding weaknesses and strengths. Right now, though, with the way we’re paying, I feel like it’s in my team’s best interest to concentrate on our weaknesses and get us fixed. It’s hard to adjust your game plan if you’re not playing at the level you should be, and I’m more concerned about how we’re playing and what we need to do to be successful as opposed to finding a way to defend or attack other teams.

“Of course, I’ll have them prepared with what we need to be doing, but in my mind right now, it’s more about getting us back to where I feel like we should be.”

Meanwhile, Anderson County also hosts two home games this week, hosting Karns on Tuesday, Jan. 12, followed by Powell on Friday and Jellico on Saturday.

Derek Wallace, head coach for the Mavericks, said that he thinks having Fulton and Oak Ridge was a great way to prepare them for the upcoming games.

“I think having Fulton and Oak Ridge the first week after a layover was a good way to come back. It was a state tournament week and those are state teams, so I think we’re prepared to move forward. I like that we have home games this week. Powell and Karns are both perennial, really good teams, so we’ll have to play well to beat them.”

Asking if there was anything particular the team is doing to prepare for those games, Wallace, similar to Lockard, said they’re mostly trying to work on themselves.

“We missed six games over Christmas, and lost all that practice time, so we’re just trying to work on ourselves. We’re a work in progress.”

Anderson County’s Saturday game starts with JV boys at 3 p.m., while Clinton’s home game against Halls on Saturday starts with JV at 4 p.m., with girls to follow at 5:30 p.m. and boys at 7 p.m..