Sevier County offense struggles in district final loss
Solid defense wasn’t enough to overcome a lack of offensive production in Sevier County’s 51-36 loss to Jefferson County in the District 2-AAA championship game on Tuesday.
The Smoky Bears were out of sync early offensively, scoring only two points in the first quarter, and 10 in the first half.
“We didn’t execute anything,” Sevier County coach Ken Wright said. “We’re just not good enough not to execute. We don’t shoot the ball very good, and if we don’t execute we’re just not a very good team.”
Jefferson County pressured the ball all night, and forced several Sevier County turnovers. When the Bears managed to hold on to the ball, they struggled to get good looks and were not able to hit tough shots.
They pressured us a lot harder than we have ever been pressured before,” said Sevier County point guard Jacob Whaley. “They were playing tight on the ball, and it was just hard to get free and get an open look.”
The Bears never led in the game, and although they came close on several occasions, they never could get close enough to get back in the game.
Whaley, who was named to the all-tournament team, was a bright spot for Sevier County. He was the only Bear in double figures with 20 points, and he played nearly every minute of the game. No one else had more than five points for Sevier County.
Somebody has to score, and Jacob is just the warrior,” Wright said. “That’s the one kid we got who has that mental toughness, and that pride in him. That was just all pride.”
John Bryant led the Patriots in scoring with 16, and was named tournament MVP, while Bryce Cusick and Kyle Briggs were named to the all-tournament team. Cody Underwood was also named for Sevier County.
Outside of playing tough, physical defense, Jefferson County also took advantage of its size to control the glass. They converted several times off of offensive rebounds, and a second chance for Sevier County was almost unheard of.
Cusick had 15 points for the Patriots, and controlled the paint, on both sides of the ball, when he was in the game.
Our plan was to box out and crash the boards,” Whaley said. “We didn’t box out very well, and they got way too many offensive boards and putbacks. That was almost all of their points in the first half.”
Sevier County doesn’t have any time to think about the loss as it will host the first round of the region tournament on Saturday night. For the Bears, it’s just about playing with toughness, and being ready to play from the very beginning.
“They just have to understand that we’re not ready mentally or physically to play tournament ball,” Wright said. “And we have until Saturday to get that. We have to come out and we have to execute, and if we don’t execute we won’t beat anybody.”