Mavs still figuring out the game takes four quarters of play

Anderson County’s Eli Varner gets away from a defender for a drive to the hoop and two points. (photo:Ricky Williams )
Anderson County kept Powell on the ropes until the third quarter during the team’s basketball game on Friday, Jan. 15, but lost 66-61.

During the third quarter, the Mavs struggled to keep up, scoring only nine points, and allowing the Panthers to take the lead for the first time. The Mavs couldn’t take back control of the game and walked away with the narrow loss.

Despite the outcome of the game, Coach Derek Wallace said he felt good about the team’s early performance.

“I think we’re as good as anyone in our league for about two or three quarters,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure out that whole 32-minute concept, though. It’s been a chaotic year, and we haven’t found the ability to finish 32 minutes yet. That was really showcased during this game.”

Powell outshot the Mavs in the second half, finishing with a 64-percent effective field goal percentage to Anderson County’s 42-percent. Powell also finished with two more treys than AC. Anderson County finished with a much-higher free-throw rate of 73-percent, partially due to Powell’s much higher percentage of personal fouls that gave them more chances.

The Mavericks dominated inside the paint, scoring 38 of their points there. The Mavs also beat out Powell on rebounds, beating them 16-4 on offensive rebounds, and 18-16 on defensive. Luke Lowry was responsible for six of those rebounds (three on each end of the ball), while Connor Martin and Anthony White both came away with five apiece. Lowry also finished with two steals and the team’s only block, while White finished with three assists. Martin finished with five assists, the most on the team.

Meanwhile, Eli Varner and Carter Jett carried the Mavs on scoring, with the former ending the night with 16 points, while the latter ended with 15. Jett also scored two of the team’s four treys and finished with the team’s only deflection of the game.

“I felt like we executed the game plan well. We were incredibly physical, we dominated the rebounds – they just shot it extremely well, and we have to do a better job at defending that. We shot around 40-percent and they shot around 60-percent. When Connor isn’t shooting it well, we don’t always play well, and Connor had an off night. Powell has a six or eight-point run twice and that was the difference in the game,” Wallace said.

The Mavs also played a non-conference game against Jellico on Saturday that they won 94-73, where Carter Jett broke the school record for assists in a single game with 12 points.

“It was nice to have Jellico sandwiched in there,” said Wallace. “Just nice to be able to run and play without the pressure of a district game. We got the monkey off our back by getting a win.”

Wallace said even with the rough losses this week, he’s very happy with how his players are progressing, and he thinks they’ll find their footing soon enough.

“I’ve been really pleased with how Eli Varner has played. He’s guarded some of the biggest guys in our area as well as anyone could have. I’ve been pleased with Stone Hatmaker’s play too. His senior leadership has made a big difference. Despite the results right now, we’re trending in the right direction. I’m trying to keep that in my focus so I don’t get too frustrated. I’m attempting to live in the present, but look to the future.”