Another big rivalry game this week as Anderson County and Clinton face off on Friday, Feb. 5. Before that, though, Anderson County hosts Halls for a rematch on Tue, Feb 2, followed by a boys-only makeup game on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 6:30. Clinton travels to Powell on that same Tuesday. Both of those games will be rematches.
The Anderson County game against Halls comes only one week after Anderson County beat Halls 57-45 at Halls in a game where the Mavericks held the lead from the start of the game.
Derek Wallace, head coach for the Mavs, said that he’s expecting a busy week.
“Clinton has pretty much solidified the number two spot with how they’ve played. The only team that really beat them is Oak Ridge. For us to reach a goal being able to host a game – we’ve got to be able to take care of Halls on Tuesday, and then avenge the Central loss we took at home where we played three great quarters and then lost it.
“Clinton’s a rivalry game. Usually we split with them one way or another. Going back the last 20 years, it’s a fairly even series. That would be good to go in there and play well. Then we have Powell and Clinton a second time. We have five district games left and plenty of room to improve our seed or hurt our seed. We’re still missing Luke Lowry, and that’s hurting us, but we’re just happy we’re getting to play and hoping to get some W’s this week. I think we can.”
Meanwhile, Clinton faces off against Powell after beating the Panthers 63-58 two weeks ago in a game that saw Clinton’s Jeremiah Blauvelt have a breakaway night.
Clinton’s head coach Chris Lockard said he’s excited for both games, but he thinks they’re both going to come down to execution.
“I thought that the last Powell game could have gone either way. Powell is very similar to us where they play perimeter first. It’s a pretty even match-up where they don’t have a massive post player we have to worry about, so it’s a game of slowing down each other’s perimeter approach and seeing who can create the most creative approach. They’re strong in the areas that we’re strong in, with good team speed and good shooting. They move the ball well. It’s going to be who can do what we do the best. We’re concentrating on what we do and then trying to find a few things that can help us make the difference.
“As far as Anderson County – I think it’s also a similar type team. They are a little bigger than we are inside, so both of these games this week will carry a lot of similarities so we’ll have to be on top of what we do and try to make our adjustments from there.”
Lockard said that he thinks this game will be a big determiner for how the team will develop moving forward.
“In my coaching opinion, this week could define our team. If we bounce back and play the way we’re capable, it’ll show that everything is working. This is a huge week in my eyes. Without seniors on your team, you have to have some things happen to build your confidence, so this is the week. This needs to be a big week for us mentally after putting so much effort into that Oak Ridge game. We’re still trying to lock down second place, so two district wins should put us in a good place.”
Both coaches stressed how excited they are that students and parents can now purchase tickets online to the games after restrictions were eased this past week.
“We definitely feed off the energy of the crowd,” said Wallace, “and we’re looking forward to welcoming the students and cheerleaders back. Hopefully it’ll give us a bit of energy.”
“We’re opening up ticket sales with limited seating,” added Lockard. “Knox County is still under their regulations of family members only, so the Powell game will be limited, but the Anderson County game should be much closer to ‘normal’ so we hope people will buy tickets to come support us.”