Most high school basketball coaches look for great effort more than anything else because they know what the results will be most of the time when they get it.
Rhea County’s Daniel Curtis was happy with the effort his Golden Eagles put forth at Hixson Monday night while Wildcat coach Lawanza Crutcher was totally unhappy with what he got from his team.
As you can probably already guess, visiting Rhea County headed back to Evensville with the win, a 68-48 victory that evened their record at 2-2. Hixson is winless after two games.
“I’m just glad we played better as the effort was there,” Curtis said shortly after the game ended.
“We left a lot of skin on the floor diving for loose balls and you’ll get positive results when you play like that. We’re nowhere close to being a great team as we didn’t execute very well at times, but those are correctable mistakes as long as the effort is there.
“Our big man Ricky Guthrie can score a little bit, so if I can ever convince him to play defense, we’ll be fine. But I loved our effort and that’s something to build on,” the Rhea County leader added.
Hixson’s Crutcher spent a long time talking with his team following the game. It was real obvious that he wasn’t the least bit happy with the way his team played.
“It was a rough day at the office,” he began after the gym had cleared.
“They were more determined than we were and I didn’t think we played to win tonight. We didn’t play with any fire as we just weren’t focused. We have a young team, but that’s no excuse.
“We have to play better as a team and tonight we didn’t. But it’s still early and we can use this in our building process,” Crutcher nodded.
Guthrie is a scrappy center who isn’t afraid to drive when he has the ball in his hands. He played a major role in Rhea’s win as he finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds.
He scored the first four points for his team as the Golden Eagles never trailed.
T.J. Earls canned a 3 for Hixson with 5:11 left in the opening stanza to get the Wildcats within a point at 4-3, but Rhea scored five straight points for a 9-3 lead with 3:17 left and the difference was 19-11 when the first quarter ended.
Guthrie scored the first six points of the second quarter to extend Rhea’s lead to 25-11 before Hixson’s Reginald Hunter got hot and scored 10 of his team’s next 12 points to get the Wildcats within six at 29-23 with 1:48 left in the half.
Guthrie’s inside move in the waning seconds gave the visitors a 34-24 lead at intermission.
Kris Clay scored on a drive with 3:26 left in the third to get Hixson within 10 at 40-30, but the Golden Eagles scored 10 of the next 11 points and had built a comfortable 50-33 lead with one quarter remaining.
Hixson got within 14 points twice in the final stanza, the last time with six minutes to play after Earls sank two free throws for a 56-42 difference, but it never got any closer as Rhea slowly pulled away.
Guthrie’s 30 points was tops for both teams. Teammate Hunter Hill was also in double figures with 15 points.
Hunter finished with 14 points to lead Hixson while Justin Smith had 13 and Earls eight.
RHEA CO. GIRLS 71, HIXSON 31: The Lady Eagles had a 19-10 lead after the first quarter, but a 26-9 difference in the second stanza built the lead to 45-19 at halftime and the difference was 66-25 with eight minutes to play.
The Lady Eagles did most of their damage from long range as they finished with 11 buckets beyond the arc, including at least one from nine different players.
Mallory Hampton was the only Rhea County player in double figures as she finished with 20 points. Macy Welch followed with nine while Maddie Taylor added eight. Haley Cameron and Emma Gentry both finished with seven.
ZaRiya Hunter was tops for Hixson with 15 points. Kirby Brown finished with eight.
RHEA CO. 19 26 21 5 -- 71
HIXSON 10 9 6 6 -- 31
RHEA CO. (71) – Tran 3, Patton 2, Cameron 7, Smith 2, Taylor 8, Reeves, Conley 3, Taylor, Hampton 20, Mathis 3, Welch 9, Travis 4, Gentry 7, McClure 3, Tankersly.
HIXSON (31) – Nakota 6, Strickland, Hunter 15, Brown 8, Bellamy, Sullivan.
3-POINT GOALS: Rhea Co. 11 (Tran, Cameron, Taylor 2, Conley, Hampton 2, Mathis, Welch, Gentry, McClure); Hixson 4 (Nakota, Hunter 2, Brown).
RHEA CO. 19 15 16 18 -- 68
HIXSON 11 13 9 15 -- 48
RHEA CO. (68) – Allen, Roddy, Brackett, Dupree 4, Waldo 4, Vincent 4, Brady 6, Hill 15, Brooks, Rekoske 3, Hall, Keur 2, Jolley, R. Guthrie 30, P. Guthrie.
HIXSON (48) – Herman 1, Clay 2, Rogers, Smith 13, Brown, Burton 2, Hunter 14, Wesley 6, Earls 8, Delafaente 2.
3-POINT GOALS: Rhea Co. 5 (Vincent, Brady 2, Hill, Rekoske); Hixson 4 (Hunter 2, Earls 2).
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)