The McCallie Blue Tornado and a large contingent of their fans learned a painful truth Saturday: a Corn Elder-led Ensworth basketball team is very much like football.
To wit: Elder is unstoppable, even when he's working at making his teammates better. Elder scored 25 points, but even made like a point guard much of the time to hit the open man for a higher percentage shot. Combine that with McCallie being a step slow on defense much of the night, and you have Ensworth (13-6) remaining un beaten in Division II region play, 79-67.
“He makes everybody better,” McCallie coach Dan Wadley agreed. “I asked them tonight to double-check that he's a senior. He's so hard to guard, I don't care where he goes to college or what he does – I just want to make sure he's gone after this year.
“Ensworth is such a well-coached team, obviously,” Wadley added. “But it didn't help matters that we had such a lackadaisical approach on defense in the early going.”
The man behind most of that praiseworthy coach, Ricky Bowers, is just happy that Elder and several of his teammates are finally getting their basketball legs after the Elder-led parade through the state football playoffs.
“His biggest asset? He is a winner,” Bowers said. “He knows how to turn up the heat, and we did a good job of that tonight.”
“We weren't worried about what McCallie would do tonight. We did what we do?,” Bowers expained. “We might adjust some the second or third time we play someone, but right now it's doing what we do.”
Ensworth built up its lead to double digits in the first half, but did not put the game awa
That approach got Andrew Fleming 16 points and DeAndre Ferby 11 points. For McCallie (8-8), Jamaal Calvin and C.J. Fritz knocked down 16 points to lead 8-8 McCallie, which is taking on a formidable program from The Rock today in the East Hamilton tournament.
Ensworth 21 21 22 15 – 79
McCallie 16 15 14 22 – 67
ENSWORTH (79) – Bowers 3, Bone 2, DeAndre Ferby 11, Swett 4, Pope 7, Hazen 8, Andrew Fleming 16, Corn Elder 25, McGraw 2, Robinson.
McCALLIE (67) – C.J. Fritz 16, Jordan Williams 13, Moxey 2, Jacobs 4, Alford, Jamaal Calvin 16, Clark 2, Hobbs 4, Wolf 5, Couch, Thomas 3.
3-point goals: Ensworth 2 (Elder 2); McCallie 5 (Fritz 2, Calvin 2, Williams). Enswoth 13-6, 5-0; McCallie 8-8, 1-3.