Cross-county hoops rivalry night

Dragons sink seven treys in first quarter versus Mavs

  • Anderson County’s Brandon Webb jumps past Clinton’s Trace Thackerson to shoot the ball. - Ricky Williams

  • Jackson Garner gets fouled by Anderson County’s Stone Hatmaker during a drive into the paint. - Ricky Williams

Clinton High School’s Dragon hoops squad scored early against Anderson County High School on their home basketball court Friday (Feb. 8) night.

And often.

Clinton hosted cross-county rivals, Anderson County, on Friday, Feb. 8, in a game that the Dragons won handily at 69-46.

The game started off heavily in the Dragons favor, with Clinton sinking seven treys in the first quarter before they ever made a two-point shot, giving them 21 points early on and a big lead on the Mavs.

The game started into the second quarter with the Dragons up 23-9, and the Orange and Black only increased that lead in the second quarter with another 21 points, entering in the second half ahead 44-18. While the Mavs did narrow the lead slightly in the second half, it wasn’t nearly enough to put a substantial dent in the Dragon’s momentum, and that momentum carried them to the win.

Head Coach for the Dragons, Christ Lockard, said the game was a little strange, but overall, it was exciting.

“Obviously, we shot the ball really well. It was a little strange, the first quarter. There was only one two-point basket made by either team. I think there was a total of 10 threes in the first quarter – so that sets the tone for an exciting game. I tried to put our kids in a very good position to attack the rim, but we just shot the ball so well that we had to ride that.”

He said the team performed very well in most areas, without much for him to complain about besides perhaps rebounding.

Clinton relied heavily on treys throughout the game, taking 24 shots and making 12 to finish with a three-point percentage of 50-percent. Meanwhile the Mavericks relied much more on two-point shots and points in the paint, shooting thirty two-pointers to Clinton’s 19 and finishing with only 14 baskets.

Points in the paint was one of the few stats where Anderson County led the Dragons (24-22), with others including offensive rebounds (11-7), steals (7-3), and blocks (1-0).

The Dragons dominated in most other categories, including defensive rebounds (22-15), assists (15-8), and deflections (6-3). Finally, the Dragons gave up less free throws than Anderson County. The Mavs finished with 18 fouls, and gave up 18 free throws, while Clinton, through 13 fouls, only gave up ten.

Jackson Garner, who got his 50-points ball the night of the game, finished with 24 points for the evening, as well as three assists, a steal, and a deflection. He also finished with five treys and sank nine free throws out of 10. Behind Garner, Jeremiah Blauvelt came in a not-so-close second on points with 15, including three rebounds and going three-for-three on treys. Rishon Bright came third with 11 points, but an astounding seven assists, as well as two steals.

On the blue side of the ball, Stone Hatmaker and Anthony White both led the Mavs with 13 points each. Hatmaker finished with three treys, as well as two steals and two assists, while White lead the team on rebounds as well, finishing with six. Other notable stats for the Mavs included Carter Jett’s three assists and two steals, and Connor Martin’s six rebounds and two steals.

Lockard said, “I thought we did a very good job limiting Connor Martin and Carter Jett. It was our goal to keep those guys wrapped up and we limited them to three. Jackson Garner did a great job on Connor and Rishon did a great job holding up Carter Jett. Tyler Morgan did great keeping their post pushed out. Trace Thackerson did an outstanding job getting us into our offense. Lane Harrison shot the ball well.

“ It was a very well balanced game for us on both sides. We shot it good and played good defense. If anything was negative, it might be our rebounding inconsistency. We can’t have lulls in that. I thought AC played really well. It was just that we shot the ball really well and that happens. A lot of positives, but a lot of teaching points. Still, it’s a lot easier to take advantage of teachable moments when you’re still winning.”

Meanwhile, Anderson County’s head coach, Derek Wallace, said the game “didn’t go like we wanted.”

He was realistic about the opening of the contest.

“Anytime a team hits 10 threes in the first half, that’s not how you picture it going in,” said Wallace. “I’m not sure we really struggled with anything other than them hitting those shots and taking that kind of a lead. If we had scored like we usually do, it would have been a different game going into the second half, because they weren’t hitting those same shots in the second half.

“It’s tough when you’re playing against a team like that. Clinton has a great ability to work hard for Jackson (Garner), and the others are better for it. It’s special what they have, because you can tell those kids grew up playing together, and their chemistry was really good that night.

“All credit to those guys. They had a great night, and it happens,” he said. “There’s those nights where the bucket just looks really big.”