In the last game of 2019 the Hayesville Yellow Jackets (6-2, 4-0) took on Lumpkin Co Indians (6-9). The game was for third place in the annual Battle of the States christmas tournament hosted by Towns Co. The Yellow Jackets were coming off a tough defeat the night before by tournament host Towns Co.
Hayesville head Coach Mike Cottrell said this game could be a turning point for their season. He was wondering how his team would respond to being upset the night before and having to play again today. Cottrell said if they lost the game then it kinda takes them back to drawing board. Yet if they won it, it would show toughness and help them start to find their identity.
It did not take long to realize that the Hayesville Yellow Jackets had a buzz about them and were playing as hard as they had all season. They came out early in their patented 1-2-2 full court press which gave the Lumpkin Co. Indians fits early in the game. Hayesville did not quite have their offense humming yet in the first quarter. Yet their stifling defense and some fastbreak points gave them a first quarter lead 11-8.
The Hayesville Yellow Jackets did not come out of their press even when Lumpkin made a press break adjustment in the second quarter. Rather the Yellow Jackets stayed in their 1-2-2 but backed it up to more of a half court trap. Once again it caused turnover problems for the Indians which the Yellow Jackets capitalized on. To the tune of 15 third quarter points leading them to a 44-30 lead at the end of the third quarter. Junior Blake McClure led the Jackets in the third quarter with six points from two big momentum three pointers.
Coming into the fourth quarter it appeared Hayesville would cruise to an easy victory. Lumpkin Co. had something left in the tank though with a few big threes and all of a sudden the lead was down to single digits. Just when it appeared Hayesville may start to be slipping they pounded it down low to Sophomore Jake McTaggart. He responded with eight fourth quarter points on a variety of post moves. That and some good ball handling by the Yellow Jackets playing keep away sealed their victory. The Yellow Jackets won 57-45, placing third in the tournament.
The Hayesville Yellow Jackets got a great performance from Junior Brady Shook tonight. He had been in a sort of slump but responded big time with some timely rebounds, great defense and 13 points. Junior Blake McClure took several charges sacrificing for his team on the defensive end and had 11 points on the night. Sophomore Jake McTaggart earned an all tournament selection with sixteen points on the night and had a total of 74 points in the three day tournament.
In post game talks with Hayesville head coach Mike Cottrell, he was very pleased with his teams effort. He thought his team responded incredibly well after a tough defeat the night before. Coach Cottrell said his team is starting to develop an identity and is rounding into playing shape. He credited each of his assistant coaches saying they were invaluable. First after a tough defeat the night before he said his assistant coaches held the team together. Secondly playing three straight days is incredibly hard and his assistant coaches game prep was spot on each day.
Look towards the middle of the upcoming week for your weekly Yellow Jacket review and preview. As always remember to tune in to all the latest coverage of Yellow Jacket Basketball with FYN sports on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at https://claync.fetchyournews.com/category/teamfynsports