By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s men’s basketball team went 1-2 in last week’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Invitational.
The Mustangs (5-7) defeated Robbinsville Dec. 20 before losing the next day to Brevard and last Thursday to Veritas Christian Academy.
Sawyer Snider scored 19 points leading the Mustangs to a 71-65 win over Robbinsville. He was joined in double figures by Da’Mare Williams with 16 and Matthew Brown with 12.
Xander Wachacha paced the Black Knights with 21 points. Brock Adams finished with 13, and Bryce Adams had 12.
“It was a great team effort,” Coach Jimmy Cleaveland said. “Over the holidays we got a chance to play at home. We had some out who have been sick and other things, but we had some kids step up and it was a great team win.”
Brown and Carson Seagraves both scored four points as SM jumped to a 10-3 lead in the first four minutes.
The Knights went on a 9-2 run to take a 17-16 edge on Brock Adams’ basket with 40 seconds on the clock.
Seagraves scored with 28 seconds to go giving the Mustangs an 18-17 edge at the quarter break.
They started the second period on a 9-2 spurt, including five by Jed West, upping the lead to 27-19 with 4:57 to play in the half.
The game’s largest margin was 37-24 after Snider’s two free throws with 1:54 on the clock.
Robbinsville ended the half on an 8-2 run, including four by Brock Adams, cutting the deficit to 41-35.
SM led 51-40 with 3:34 to go in the third period when Tanner Gerrety’s basket capped an 8-2 spurt.
The lead was 53-47 at the quarter break.
Wachacha’s three-pointer brought the Knights within 62-59 at the 3:15 mark.
Brown had a steal and layup, and Gerrety followed with a driving layup keeping the Mustangs on top.
Bryce Adams’ basket cut the gap to 66-63 with 1:21 on the clock, but Williams scored the next four points to help seal the win.
Snider hit seven field goals and was five of six from the line. Williams made seven field goals and two free throws. Brown had three field goals, including a three-pointer, and five foul shots.
West finished with nine points, Gerrety scored eight, Seagraves had six and Dev Hari made a foul shot.
Eli Griffin scored 19 points helping Brevard hold on for a 72-65 victory over the Mustangs. He was joined in double figures by Baker Buchanan with 15, Tre Crite with 14 and Jaylen Brown with 13.
Jed West led SM with 19 points. Brown added 11, and Snider had 10.
“We had too many missed opportunities and missed free throws,” Cleaveland said. “Too many turnovers and too many missed shots.”
The Mustangs’ only lead was 5-4 on West’s three-pointer with 6:27 to go in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils scored the next eight points to lead 12-5 on Crite’s basket with 5:29 on the clock.
The quarter ended with Brevard ahead 18-12.
Snider hit three of four free throws after a personal and technical foul were called cutting the gap to 27-25 with 3:22 remaining in the half.
Griffin scored five in a 10-1 spurt upping the margin to 39-28 on Buchanan’s free throws with 14.3 seconds to play.
The Devils led 39-31 at halftime.
SM trailed 41-39 with 3:28 left in the third quarter as Brown’s layup ended a run of eight straight points.
Brevard regained control with an 11-2 spurt, including five by Brown, with 52 seconds to go in the third quarter, which ended 52-46.
Snider’s basket cut the gap to 57-54 with 5:15 remaining, but Crite scored 10 of his team’s next 12 points keeping the Devils on top.
West hit seven field goals, including a trio of three-pointers, and two foul shots. Brown made three field goals and five free throws. Snider connected on two field gaols, including a trey, and five foul shots.
Williams totaled nine points, Gerrety followed with eight, Seagraves scored five and Lane Wike had three.
Ashton Dillon had 19 points powering Veritas to a 62-53 win over the Mustangs. He received support from Colt Drew with 14 and David Bloemsma with 13.
West topped SM with 19 points, and Brown had 12.
“We didn’t played hard,” Cleaveland said. “Our effort wasn’t there against Veritas. If we had played with the type of effort we did in the last four minutes we would have been better off. In our league we are going to have to bring it for 32 minutes.”
Wike’s basket put the Mustangs up 7-4 with 4:11 to play in the first period.
Dillon scored on an inbounds play as the Warriors took an 11-10 edge with 2:08 on the clock, and they were up 16-10 at the quarter break.
The Mustangs tied it 16-16 when Wike scored with 6:16 to go in the half.
Drew hit a pair of three-pointers in a 10-2 run as Veritas took a 26-18 lead on John Dieterly’s basket at the 2:46 mark.
The Warriors led 35-28 at halftime.
Veritas opened the second half on a 12-1 spurt, including five by Philip Guimaraes, for the game’s biggest lead, 47-29, on Dieterly’s basket with 3:26 to play in the third quarter.
Veritas was up 47-33 entering the final period.
SM tried to make a late run but could come no closer than 59-53 on Brown’s three-pointer with 48 seconds to go.
Four of West’s seven field goals were three-pointers to go with a free throw. Brown made four field goals, including two treys, and two foul shots.
Seagraves netted seven points, Gerrety, Wike and Jayce Stillwell all scored four, Williams had two and Talan Magestro hit a free throw.