Fast-Starting Howard Rolls To 3-AA Victory, 70-40

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - by David Jenkins
- photo by Greg Davick
    If only ...

    If only teams followed the game plan as well as the Howard Hustlin' Tigers followed Coach Walt McGary's directive Saturday, a coach's job would be, dare we say, a piece of cake?

    "It would make life a whole lot easier," McGary conceded after the Tigers pounced on visiting Polk County early and often en route to a 70-40 first-round win in the Region 3-AA tournament Saturday afternoon. The Tigers now move into the semifinals Tuesday against the winner of the Central-Meigs County battle in a game that will be contested at McMinn County High School.


    The Tigers' strategy, simple as it sounds, has been anything but a cinch this year. More than anything else that happened Saturday, the mere fact that his starters stuck with it tells him that they might be ready for the big push.

    "It was simple: feed the big man (Brandon Walters), pass it around, get everybody involved," McGary said. "That's pretty effective, as you saw. When we move the ball around from side to side, we're pretty hard to defend."

    Even though Polk's Evan Ball would put on quite a shooting exhibition, it only came after Howard scored the game's first 14 points. In went something like this: Xavier Harris fed Walters for a layup; Shailique Cameron dished to Walters for a layup; Chris Walton fired a bullet pass into Walters for a jam; Antonio Smith penetrated and dished off to Harris for a three-point play; and did likewise for his backcourt mate Cameron; and then Smith took it himself and capped the game-opening run.

    All five Howard starters scored in the first quarter, one in which the team hit 10-of-11 field goals (missing only a Walters dunk try). Add to that, all eight Tigers who played in the first half were in the scoring column.  While Walters had 12 of his team-best 27 points at the half, it wasn't his performance that most pleased McGary.

    "That today was Antonio's best game of the season, hands down," the coach praised. Smith had 11 points and five assists, but his lack of turnovers under pressure has been a developing asset as the season goes along.

    Walters, who has enjoyed several dominating performances lately, recorded 12 rebounds and three blocked shops to go with his points. But his presence on the floor as an active, mobile 6-foot-8 defender is best reflected in this stat: while Polk County hit 11 3-point field goals in the game, the Wildcats hit exactly two field goals from inside the arc.

    Ball put on much of this exhibition, hitting seven treys as part of his 27-point day to match Walters for game honors. But none of his teammates hit more than one 3-pointer or reached double figures as the Wildcats' season ends with a 7-24 record.

    Harris' nine was the next-best scoring total for the 24-5 Tigers this day, but more significantly, 11 of the 12 men who played, scored -- including key sixth man LoRenzo McCauley, back about 90 percent from a bad ankle sprain.

    Just the way McGary drew it up.

Region 3-AA at Howard
Polk County    11    10    8    11    --    40
Howard        23    12    17    18    --    70

    POLK CO. (40) -- Hutcheson, Evan Ball 27, Groomes 3, Richmond 4, Der. Weber 3, Locke, Coffey, Keith 3, Cross, Dev. Weber.

    HOWARD (70) -- Antonio Smith 11, Cameron 3, Walton 3, Harris 9, Brandon Walters 27, Young 2, Byrd 2, Brown 2, Norwood, Wynn 4, Lewis 4, McCauley 3.

    3-point goals: Polk Co. 11 (Ball 7, Groomes, Keith, Richmond, Weber); Howard 2 (McCauley, Walton).

Alex Smith Earns All-America Honors In AAU Volleyball

Alex Smith just graduated from Grace Academy in the spring after wrapping up an outstanding career with the Lady Golden Eagle volleyball team. The season didn’t go quite as well as they would have liked as Smith suffered an ankle injury and was sidelined toward the end at tournament time. However, all the news is not bad as Smith joined 10 other players who formed a team ... (click for more)

Mocs Offer July 4th Season Ticket Options

The UTC athletic office announced a July 4th season ticket offer for this week.   Coming off an unprecedented run of Southern Conference Championships in football and men's and women's basketball, the Mocs are offering ticket four packs for each sport as a part of July 4th week.  This is a great chance to lock in your tickets for any of these three championship programs.  ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

Bridge Repair Over 12th Street To Cause Temporary Lane Closure On US 27

While investigating a pothole in the bridge on U.S. 27 North over 12 th Street in the construction zone, crews discovered a potential weak spot in the bridge deck that could over time result in more damage to the bridge deck.  For the safety of the traveling public, the outside lane in this area was closed until the contractor made necessary repairs, TDOT officials said.  ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (4)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Story You Won’t See

In a puzzling time when the big daily newspapers have veered strongly away from “all the news that is fit to print,” allow me to share a story that you very likely will not see on CNN, ABC News, or in the big media conglomerates that influence the way you think, the way you react and – as a result – easily warp our common senses. This story is very true. Late last Sunday afternoon, ... (click for more)