By Carey Phillips
Dwight Canady scored all 33 of his points in the first half as undefeated Hendersonville blitzed Smoky Mountain 80-37 in Mountain Six Conference basketball action Feb. 3 at the SM gym.
Keenan Wilkins added 18 points for the Bearcats.
Jed West had nine points and eight rebounds for the Mustangs.
“They are a great basketball team,” said Zeb Capps, acting coach. “They are ranked second in the state for a reason. Their pressure caused us issues early. I think we got a little big-eyed at the beginning of the game. We had too many passes that we floated. They picked them off, and it was a layup.”
Hendersonville’s full-court pressure defense resulted in 18 steals.
“Once we settled in we were OK, but at the beginning we were doing things that were uncharacteristic,” Capps said.
The game was decided almost as soon as it started. Hendersonville ran off the first 13 points, including seven by Canady.
The lead reached 24-6 on Wilkins’ follow shot at the 1:34 mark, and it was 24-8 at the quarter break.
Canady scored seven and Wilkins had six in a 15-2 spurt for a 44-15 lead with four minutes left in the half.
Consecutive three-pointers by Canady built the lead to 59-23 with 1:01 on the clock, and Hendersonville led 59-25 at the half.
A driving layup by Wilkins at the 4:45 mark extended the lead to 71-30 and resulted in a running clock the rest of the game.
The Bearcats led 76-34 entering the fourth quarter.
Completing the Mustang scoring were Max Buchanan with eight, Ryan Waliezer with seven, Hunter Cabe with six, Lawson Wike with five and Matthew Brown with two.
Ethan Hooper had three assists.
Capps singled out Waliezer and Buchanan for their effort.
Hendersonville came from behind to win the JV game 49-37. The Mustangs led 11-9 after the first quarter and 28-18 at halftime. The Bearcats were up 34-33 entering the fourth period.
SM’s Antonio Lorenzo scored nine points.
“For three quarters I thought we were going to shock them,” Capps said. “This particular group has not lost in almost 40 games going back to middle school. We really got after them.”
He said Lorenzo, Tanner Gerrety and Zeke Sink played well.
“They pressed us, and we pressed them,” Capps said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the kids. That’s the second closest game Hendersonville has had. I was so proud of how hard we played against a team that was more talented than we were”
Doing double duty coaching the varsity and JVs while Coach Adam Phillips is out due to COVID-19 protocols, Capps said he appreciated the work of Stephen Parsons, his assistant coach.