By Carey Phillips
Mitch Wike scored 22 points leading Smoky Mountain to a 75-39 non-conference men’s basketball victory Dec. 20 at Robbinsville.
Michael Todd added 16 points for the Mustangs (3-4), who won back-to-back games for the first time this year.
Chris Wright had nine points for the Black Knights, who were playing their first game of the season. Several of the players were on the football team that won the state 1-A championship five days earlier.
“We played really well,” Coach Adam Phillips said. “We did a great job defensively. Everyone played well. Our kids were dialed in and focused. I’m very proud of them. We took four charges in the first half.
“It was probably our most complete game of the year,” he added. “We knew Robbinsville was running on adrenalin from the state championship, and we knew we had to come out swinging from the get-go.”
“We’re starting to come together as a team,” Conner Seagraves said. “We’re having a lot of fun in the locker room, on the floor and at practice. Even out of school we’re all meeting up and having a good time. I think we’re bonding and coming together, and that is a big key as to why we are winning.
“I felt we played really well,” he said. “We ran the floor well and kept our composure. They just came off a state championship win, and they were really physical. We didn’t let that get to us, and we kept our composure. We knocked down the shots when we needed to. We put pressure on them, and it got to them, which is what we wanted to do.”
After Wright scored the game’s first basket for his team’s only lead, SM scored 11 straight points, including seven by Todd, for an 11-2 lead with 4:27 on the clock.
The Mustangs scored the quarter’s last 11 points, including six by Wike, for a 22-4 advantage.
Lee Macaulay’s three--pointer capped an 8-2 run, for a 34-9 lead with 3:47 to go in the half.
The halftime margin was 40-17.
Five points from Wike and four from Seagraves keyed an 11-2 spurt for a 55-24 lead with 2:23 remaining in the third period.
The margin was 59-29 entering the fourth quarter.
Seagraves and Chris Wilburn both hit late three-pointers, and the final was the game’s largest lead.
Wike hit nine field goals, including two three-pointers and two foul shots. Todd made six field goals, including a trey, and three free throws.
Seagraves finished with nine points, Zeb Sink and Hunter Cabe both added six, Jameson Madden, Macaulay, Wilburn and Lawson Wike all scored three, and Ryan Waliezer and Trent Phillips both had two.
The Mustang JVs are 3-4 after a 59-45 win. Max Buchanan and Vaughn Ellis scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
SM led at quarter breaks by scores of 15-13, 25-20 and 39-31.
“It was a great team win,” Coach Tyler Mulligan said. “We’ve had problems all year finishing games after halftime, but in this one we were able to do so. We came out and played really well.”