There are schedule changes this week as Anderson County plays makeup games and Clinton, because of a cancellation, gets a little breathing room.
First, Anderson County takes on Campbell County on Thursday, Jan. 29, a day earlier from the previous iteration of the schedule that had the game taking place on Friday.
That game will be at Campbell County and serve as the rematch from the two schools’ last encounter, which Anderson County won handily.
Anderson County is supposed to travel to Central High School on Saturday to face Knoxville Central. But Central, as of time of writing, is out of school due to COVID, meaning they will be unable to play that game unless the situation changes in the week. Following that, Anderson County host Halls on Tuesday, Feb. 2, for a rematch.
The head coach for the Mavericks, Derek Wallace, said they’re looking forward and trying to get things together.
“I’m trying to stay positive,” he said. “We really miss Luke Lowry right now, and we just need to put together four quarters. We got a good chance. It needs to happen. There’s not much of the season left. We’re getting close to February and close to tournament time. If we do that, what’s happened since Christmas won’t matter at all. It’s just a matter of finding our rhythm again and finding a little bit of passion.”
Speaking of the individual games, Wallace said the team is employing a similar strategy for all of them.
“All three of those teams are card-oriented,” he said. “We’ve got to keep them out of the paint. Halls has a kid really good inside, and they’re going to put four guards around him. We’ve got to keep those guards out of the paint, and if we can limit those guys on each team, we’ll be fine. Campbell County is a rivalry game so you never know how it’s going to be. We beat them at home last time, but they’re playing a lot better under that new coach up there.”
Clinton, meanwhile, had to reschedule the Central game this Tuesday due to COVID concerns, leaving the Dragons with only one game this week when they host Oak Ridge on Friday.
The last encounter between the two teams ended badly for Clinton with lead man Jackson Garner coming out of quarantine the day before, and the game taking place after the holiday quarantine when all teams were struggling to get back in the swing of things.
“Their team speed is so good and they’re so good at offensive transition,” said head coach Chris Lockard. “I thought we played pretty well the first two quarters last time. We struggled a little bit scoring since it was Garner’s first day back after a 10-day quarantine. I felt like we were able to hold our own for a couple quarters. Their depth and their speed got to us. They’re an outstanding team, with plenty of difficult match ups. Their team defense is really solid. For us to be successful, we’re going to have to shoot it well and find a way to compete on the boards.
“Then you talk about rebounding, you can scheme it to a point, but it’s more of an effort stat. You have to have a lot of effort on your box-outs. That’s something that has to come from within the team. We can stress it and teach it – but it’s an effort stat is what I call it. We have to be able to control our tempo, to speed up when we want and take our time when we want. Oak Ridge makes that difficult with their pressure.”
Lockard said that rescheduling the Central game might turn out to be a blessing, and allow the team some breathing room.
“We’re still trying to improve on what we do. We’re still a young team with no seniors, so we’re improving on what we do. It’s a good week of practice for us and it comes at a good time. We’re starting to solidify some things we do well, and we’ve played enough games to figure out some of our weaknesses. The Central game being pushed back could be a godsend for us in that we get to work on us for a couple days to prepare for Oak Ridge. It’ll be a strange game. To my knowledge, it’ll be the least crowded Clinton-Oak Ridge game I’ve ever seen.”