Jellico's Mitchell nears basketball milestone

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By Dwane Wilder

Ben Mitchell inched closer to the 1,000-point mark Monday afternoon during the Pilot Food Mart Winter Classic.


The 6-foot-1 senior guard scored 19 points and hit five 3-pointers to lead the Jellico High boy’s basketball team to an 84-55 trouncing of Southeast Whitfield (Ga.) on opening day of the annual holiday tournament hosted by Knoxville Catholic.

Mitchell needs 24 points to reach 1,000 career points.

Three other Blue Devils scored in double figures during the tournament game. Dustin Smiddy chipped in 12 points, followed by Darius Marlow with 11 and Michael Smith 10.

Marlow also had a double-double with 10 assists. Junior center Matt Ayers stood out defensively.

Jellico took a 22-14 lead at the end of the first quarter on Mitchell’s three-pointer from the right corner. By halftime the Blue Devils led 42-28.

“We got up and down the floor,” said Jellico assistant coach Mike Reynolds.

“We’ve been working on our half-court trap and full-court press.”

The Blue Devils improved their record to 8-3.

Jellico’s girls opened tournament play Monday with a 54-12 loss to host Catholic.

Kayla Bolton led the Lady Blue Devils with eight points while Noel Tiller and Ashley Gulley had two each.