Cody Malicoat could be forgiven for sleeping in Saturday.
Instead, he dragged himself out of bed, got dressed and went to a local gym to work out the morning after he set a new Campbell County High School basketball scoring record during a 97-91 double-overtime district loss at Oak Ridge.
It’s a wonder the 6-foot-4, 198 lb. sophomore forward had any energy left after torching the Wildcats with 58 points and 15 rebounds in a rematch of last season’s district tournament championship game.
“I guess I was just determined to score. I felt like nobody could stop me,” said Malicoat.
“I just wish we could have gotten the win.”
Malicoat’s 58 points surpassed the previous CCHS record of 52 set by Billy Wayne Stiner against Powell Valley during the 1980-81 season.
During the heat of battle Friday night, Malicoat had no idea he was even close to the record. His best friend, Dylan Stanfield, called out to Malicoat during the first overtime and told him he had 49 points and to keep shooting the ball.
Malicoat finished with an unbelievable percentage (69.7) considering the amount of shots he took from the field (23-of-33). He was also 12-of-17 from the free throw line.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They got me the ball, and it just happened,” he said.
Malicoat was right. Four Campbell County players finished the game with at least five assists. Sean Chapman and Cory Poteet each dished out six assists, while Matt Miller and Ethan Simpson had five apiece.
Even with his new record, Malicoat had to share the spotlight with Oak Ridge point guard Lonnie McClanahan, who set a new Oak Ridge record with 51 points while leading the Wildcats to victory.
Campbell County coach Barry Jones said he has never before witnessed such an epic scoring battle as he did Friday night. That speaks volumes, considering that Jones faced current University of Tennessee stars Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism as well as former Mississippi State phenom Jamont Gordon during a previous coaching stint in Middle Tennessee.
“I’ve been around basketball a long time, and that’s the first time I’ve been in a game in which two players scored over 50 points,” said Jones.
“Basketball is a game of matchups. (Oak Ridge) is strong on the perimeter where we’re the weakest, and they’re weak in the post where we’re strong. Both teams’ game plans went out the window. It was a very strange game, because neither team was doing what they came in to do.”
McClanahan had a field day against the Cougars’ young and inexperienced backcourt rotation of one sophomore and three freshmen.
“I really felt like, halfway through the first quarter, they came about their strategy almost by accident,” said Jones.
“McClanahan was successful on three or four drives to the basket, and then he just put his head down and went one-on-one with our guards.”
Campbell County (1-2 district, 4-6 overall) threw every defense imaginable at McClanahan, but nothing seemed to slow him down.
Trailing by 15 points at intermission, the Cougars clawed back in the second half to tie the game 74-74 at the end of regulation play. Nothing was settled in the first overtime period, which ended in an 83-83 tie.
During the second overtime, Campbell County had a 91-90 lead but lost Chapman after he was tagged with a fifth foul. The Cougars hit the wall at 91 points and could go no further with their post ranks cut in half. Chapman finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots.
“I told our kids at halftime that we were going to learn our character,” said Jones.
“I’m very proud of the effort our kids gave in the second half and overtime.”
Between the two of them, Malicoat and Chapman accounted for 89 percent of Campbell County’s offensive output. Tyler Chapman chipped in four points, while Poteet had three, Simpson two and Miller one.
Even after Chapman fouled out, the Cougars thought they had a chance with Malicoat seemingly scoring at will.
“It seemed like something good was going to happen every time (Malicoat) touched the ball,” said Jones.
“He almost won us the game. He uses his body so well. He can screen people off, get people off his back and go get the ball. One of the knocks against Cody was his toughness. But he showed a lot of guts against Oak Ridge and played like a man possessed.”
The Cougars have an important district road game tomorrow (Fri.) night at league frontrunner Knoxville Central before taking a much-needed break for the Christmas holidays. Following a trip to Clinton on Jan. 5, Campbell County will play six of the next eight games at home
“From what I saw the other night, I believe in my heart that we can contend for a district championship this year. But it can only happen if we improve defensively,” said Jones.
Getting sophomore guard Chad Wagers, the team’s most experienced outside shooter, off the disabled list will go a long way toward improving Campbell County’s chances down the stretch.
Malicoat said he learned some valuable lessons during the loss to Oak Ridge.
“Don’t get down the way we did at halftime,” he said.
“If we get a lead, we need to be able to finish strong and limit our mistakes.”
And like Stanfield told him Friday night, “Keep shooting the ball.”