As the buzzer sounded Monday evening, Jared Ray’s left-handed layup hit the bottom of the net inside Jim and Linda Agee Gymnasium.
That score pushed Jacksboro to upset the district favorite in Jefferson, 37-36.
“Celebration, we all rushed the floor,” Jacksboro head coach Cody Parker said. “Our kids were jumping up and down. It was a phenomenal scene. Everybody in the stands was going crazy. That was the loudest I’ve ever heard that gym when we hit that shot. It was just an unbelievable finish to and unbelievable effort.”
That shot also propelled the Eagles to its first win of the season after tough losses to district foe, Clinton, and a top ranked Powell team.
On Monday night, the inbounds play had been run to Josh Lay most of the evening. Being on the left side of the goal, Ray got the call, as he’s left-handed.
“We thought we could get Jared that look,” Parker said. “We did, and he finished.
“Jared ended up with nine points. Those two on the end couldn’t have come at a better time.”
That rang especially true as Ray had left the game due to a rolled ankle in the second quarter.
However, after being taped up, he returned to knock down the “shot heard ‘round the district.”
“I think it’s a big statement around the district to let everybody know that it may take us a little longer to get where we want to be, but it just shows that when we bring our best effort, we can play with anybody,” Parker said. “That’s what we did (Monday) night.”
Landon Reese finished with a game high 17 points. Ray added his nine, while Jacob McGuire finished with six, Josh Lay with four, and Max Farris with one.
To Parker, however, the game was all because of the competition they faced on Friday evening.
“The Powell game, I felt like in the second half, that we really went toe-to-toe,” Parker said. “We started out in man-to-man (against Jefferson) because of the way we played the second half against Powell. I think that second half, we really found out our identity as a basketball team. That’s press, full court, and speed it up.”
As the game started Friday night, Reilly Hamilton knocked down a trey from the corner, which was quickly answered by Ray’s two free-throw attempts. From that point, however, it was all Powell.
The Panthers took a 26-4 run to go into the middle of the second half with their largest margin, 29-6.
At the half, Powell led 31-11.
“Offensively, we didn’t play very well in the first half,” Parker said. “We made some silly turnovers out front. I think Powell is one of the best teams in Knox County. We got a good test. I was really proud of the way we came out in the second half. I think we battled and cut it to 11 or 12 there in the third.”
A big second half by Reese, where he scored nine of his 10 points, propelled the Eagles in their comeback run.
Jacksboro pulled to within 15, but was unable to complete the task as key Hamilton scores, assisted by Amari Rodgers, sealed the game.
“We started out in a zone, and Powell was just moving the ball and knocking down shots,” Parker said. We said at the beginning of the year that we were going to be a man-to-man team. That’s really what we’ve got to stick to. We’ve got to quit fooling with the zones.”
Ray and McGuire both finished the game with 11 points, as Reese added 10. Josh Lay added four, as Max Farris grabbed two.
For Powell, Rodgers finished with a game high 16.
“We’re still knocking the rust off. We’re going to be a good basketball team. It’s just a matter of gelling and getting everything fixed to where we can compete night in and night out.”
Lady Eagles stumble after big win
The Lady Eagles also had their hands full with a tough Powell team.
Fresh off of a 44-8 victory on Thursday night to district foe, Clinton, Jacksboro couldn’t hang on to the Panthers who squeaked by, 20-15.
“We came off of a big win last night,” Jacskboro head coach Wanda Snodgrass said Friday. “It was a huge margin win, and sometimes that may hurt you. A little over confident, maybe, but we couldn’t find our shot today. The main thing that hurt us was that we were 30 percent from the free-throw line. That’s not normally what we do. That in itself was enough for us to win the game and turnovers.”
The Lady Eagles shot 4-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Following a 12-8 halftime deficit, Sarah Cain crisply dropped a three-point bucket off the assist from Megan Muggridge. However, it would be the only bucket in the quarter for Jacksboro, as they went to the fourth trailing 16-11.
“(Cain)’s a fantastic athlete,” Snodgrass said of the transfer student. “It was not a typical night for Sarah, Muggridge or Seiber. I had all three of those last night in double digits. That makes a difference. When you’ve got three out of your five starters scoring in double digits, you’ve got a better chance of culminating the scoreboard. It just wasn’t here for us today.”
However, Cain only managed five points to lead the Lady Eagles, while Seiber finished with three. McKenzie Charles finished with four, while Trinity Hood added two, and Sarah Wildman, one.
Jacksboro would cut it to one, 16-15, late in the fourth quarter. A late run by the Lady Panthers would seal the deal, however.
“We’re not going to get our heads down, at all,” Snodgrass said. “We’re going to take it for what it is. It was an opportunity to play in front of the school, and we had some awesome schools spirit going on here.”