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Taking charge of District 4-A

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By Chris Cannon

ccannon@lafollettepress.com

The Jellico Blue Devils took four charges, while having four players score in double figures as they rolled to yet another District 4-A victory Tuesday night.

Matt Bolton took three charges, as Austin Hunley, Justin Bowlin, and Drew Bruce each drew one, as Jellico rolled to a 59-50 victory.

“I try my best, even if it is to put my body on the line,” Bolton said. “It’s to give us that extra possession, put more points on the board and try to help my team out.”

Off the first two charges in the first half, one by Bolton and the other by Bruce, Bolton was able to knock down two shots from behind the arc to keep the Blue Devils in the contest.

“(Taking charges) is really good for our offense to pick the tempo up and get everybody pumped up,” Billy Rowe said. “Matt Bolton took the majority of them. He’s a really good defensive player.”

However, a second half surge propelled Jellico to the victory as they switched from their zone to a man-to-man look.

According to head coach Mike Reynolds, it was all about the boards.

“They whipped us on the boards in the first half,” he said. “We knew they’d be physical, and we talked about it…the second half, I told them we were going to go (man-to-man) and find out who wanted to rebound. That was the difference in the ball game. We were aggressive defensively and hustling defensively, but our rebounds in the second half changed the way we could play.”

The switch allowed Jellico to score 34 of their 59 points in the second half, as their man-to-man look forced seven turnovers.

Bolton led the team, knocking down 15 points, as 10 of them came in the fourth quarter. Bowlin and Rowe both finished with 14, as Brian Hicks contributed 10.

The four combined for 53 of the 59 points scored, as 32 of their points came in the second half.

 “That’s the way we need to play,” Reynolds said. “That’s what we’ve been striving for all year, and we’ve struggled with injuries, foul trouble and getting any kind of rhythm. We need that balance across the board. Our goal is to have five or six players between 14 and eight points. If we can do that, we can be successful.”

To Bolton, however, it was all about the way the team hyped each other.

“We really stepped up in the second half, and Justin really saw the floor better,” Bolton said. “I’m just proud of how we picked each other up during the second half. We picked it up, and we did a lot better.”

Hunley added four points, as Dillon Marlowe rounded out the Jellico scoring with two.

For Oliver Springs (3-7, 1-1 District 4-A), it was Taylor Murray with 15 points to match Bolton’s total. The only other member of the team to reach double digits was Matt Henley, who contributed 12.

The win moved the Blue Devils to 3-1 in District 4-A, as they currently hold first place, as they have a 4-5 mark overall. Wartburg holds second with a 2-0 mark, but defeated Jellico last Tuesday, 77-58.

“Our kids are resilient,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got some tough-minded kids that are resilient. They’re going to play until the end. They’re able to overcome some things.”

For Rowe, however, he knows his squad is the best in the district.

“We’re one of the better teams in the district,” he said. We’ve got to work hard and keep it that way.”

Jellico travels to Lynn Camp Thursday night, as they look to reach .500.