By Joel Clinger for The Robertson County Connection and Main Street Preps
ANTIOCH – Ezell-Harding Christian took it to White House Monday afternoon, defeating the Blue Devils 63-43.
The Eagles led almost the whole way, forcing turnovers and converting good looks at the basket into points. Their lead fluctuated from 3 to 21 in the second half, but they held control of the game throughout.
Junior guard Cameron Hunt scored a game-high 18 points, despite missing a few shots early. EHCS head coach Michael Mays credited his play his growth since his freshman year.
“He’s a great shooter; that’s number one,” Mays said. “He’s been that for the last three years, but now he can make other plays as well, and he’s so much mentally tougher than what he was… As a junior, he’s got the mental toughness to play through (adversity).”
Ezell-Harding Christian is a Division II-A school, and Mays said while his team may not be at the top of the standings, he thinks they can stay on the floor with the other teams.
“I like our guys a lot,” Mays said. “They’re good guys, and they want to do what we ask (them) to do. You can do a lot with that kind of group, you know. We’re not the best team in our district. I think that’s pretty obvious, but we can play with everyone else. I think a big thing for us is learning how to win the close games and the winnable games.”
Both the Eagles and the Blue Devils came into the game off of an extended quarantine. EHCS has only had one real practice with most of their players since school was in session.
Mays said his team played hard but looked a little sloppy, but after such a long absence from the floor, that is to be expected.
“I think we looked like a team that has practiced three times together in the last two and a half weeks,” Mays said. “But we played hard, turned it over too much. We need to play a lot smarter, but I mean, I told them that we’d be shocked if we look crisp and clean.”
The Blue Devils last took the floor against another team on Dec. 10. Their first practice back was Saturday.
“It was rusty and ugly, but we’re just glad to be playing,” White House head coach Caleb Cook said.
White House was forced into a number of mistakes, which led to EHCS scoring runs. The largest of which was a 22-4 run to put the game away.
Cook said he wants his team to be more consistent.
“We’ve got to learn to face adversity a little bit better,” Cook said. “When things are going well, we’re good. Our spirits are good. Our body language is good, but (when) we give up a four or five, six-point run, our shoulders droop. Our demeanor changes. We let a four-point deficit turn into 10 pretty quick, and we’ve just got to learn to stay even-keeled.”https://13d1c95eebfccd1ae08e4f5d51515210.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
The Blue Devils are a young team, and Cook is trying to get his players more experience before the bulk of district games on the schedule.
“Most of our kids haven’t played varsity minutes, so every time we’re on the floor it’s another day for them to get better, another day for them to get reps,” Cook said. “We’re early in the season, and we’ve got a long way to go hopefully. We’ve got a lot of ball left, so we’re just trying to get better each day and just keep fighting.”
The Eagles will host Jackson Christian Tuesday, Dec. 29. The Blue Devils are scheduled to play Smith County Wednesday, Dec. 30.
Ezell-Harding (63) – Cameron Hunt 18, Jack Ellis 16, Jamari Liddell 9, Kian Sepehr 7, Blake Dean 4, Paul Nix 4, Braxton Coleman 3, K.J. Stockard 2
White House (43) – Zane Brown 12, Cooper Brinn 8, Wesley Deakins 6, Ethan Droz 6, Quad Lucas 5, Amarion Lucas 4, Rhys Blackburn 2.
Photos by Joel Clinger