LaFOLLETTE—The last time, it was all Colby “Stretch” Bailey.
However, last Thursday night, the Eagles held the Owls’ inside threat to only four points, but it his teammates that stepped up around him in order to take the 42-34 win to sweep the Eagles in 2013-14.
“We sort of expected that a little bit,” LaFollette head coach Michael Cain said. “The rest of the team, when we played them the last time, they didn’t really get a lot of the credit that they deserved. The whole team rallied around him tonight, and everybody played a solid game.”
For Jacksboro, it was a hard pill to swallow. After managing to stop the inside attack, the treys started flying for the Owls.
“Those other guys, I think they hit six threes or something like that,” Jacksboro coach Cody Parker said. “Kudos to them for making the shots, but a lot of times, we weren’t fighting over the screens and contesting their shots. We made it easy on them out top tonight.”
One of the most prolific performances was that of Logan Berry.
The guard for the Owls used a major crossover at the top of the key on numerous occasions in order to open up free-range trey or drive to the basket.
“I just took advantage of who was guarding me,” Berry said. “It didn’t matter who it was. I was just working off my teammates, and they work hard for me. We were just hitting tonight. I was just a team effort.”
Berry finished the game with 13 points, including three treys.
“He’s worked his tail off,” Cain said. “I was very hard on him last year, and he comes back every practice wanting to get better. I can’t say enough about him.”
Once the Eagles found a way to stop Berry late in the fourth quarter, Tanner Davis soon took over.
As the Owls led only 32-30, Davis hit a huge trey off an assist from Berry to give the Owls a 35-30, their biggest of the night.
“It was great,” Davis said. “I felt it in me, and that’s what I had to do to make my team win. I was able to make it successful. We had the ball moving around, and we hit two or three. We got hot.”
Just over a minute later, Davis hit his second consecutive trey, again on the assist from Berry, in order to give LaFollette a 38-32 cushion they wouldn’t look back from.
“Tanner may be our most consistent player on the team,” Cain said. “He’s going to give you that every night. He gives you all he’s got from buzzer to buzzer. He makes it count when the game is on the line.”
Davis and Carter Wells each added 10 points to go along with Berry’s 13-point, six-assist effort. Justin Nelson added five points, while Colby Bailey had four points and seven rebounds.
Elijah Phillips finished with 16 of the 34 points for Jacksboro, while adding seven rebounds. Jordan Hembree and Evan Jackson each added seven points, while John Porter finished with four.
“Elijah Phillips, his motor is better than anybody in the district,” Parker said. “When he finishes, he can be one of the best post players in the district. We need help around him. We’ve got to be able to do other things around him to make him better.”
For Parker, however, he just hopes his team understands the weight of being swept by LaFollette.
“It kills me personally,” he said. “I don’t know about the kids, but it kills me personally. We’ve at least split with LaFollette every year I’ve been here, and to be swept by these guys, it really hurts. It hurts my pride.”
For the Lady Eagles and the Lady Owls, it was all LaFollette.
While the Lady Owls seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, the Eagles offense slowed.
“That’s probably one of the best defensive jobs that we’ve done as LaFollette Middle School girl’s basketball,” head coach Johnny Cox said.
LaFollette managed the season sweep with a 46-20 win over Jacksboro.
The Lady Owls used a potent inside-out attack, as both the post and the outside shooters got involved.
“We’ve been working on that all year long, but we really stressed in the last the practices that we had — with all the bad weather, we did put three practices together — we stressed inside out,” Cox said. “Kicking it back out and getting the ball to where it needs to be to open people was important. I told them, ‘I don’t care who shoots the ball. All of you have the green light. Relax, play and shoot it.’”
The players felt it a big factor, as well.
“It was important,” Skylar Boshears said. “Me and Bailey work good together. We’re good teammates. That’s basically how we work together. Our whole team worked together, and we just played a successful game tonight.”
Boshears finished with a game-high 17 points, as Rutherford chipped in 13 of her own. Carlie Baldwin and Jalah Nelson each added six points, as Briana Tiller contributed four.
For Jacksboro, Raelyn Mynatt finished the game with eight points, as Myra Sexton added six. Mallorie Overton had four, while Anna Cain had two.