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It might have been Anderson County's most impressive road performance of the season.
At least for three quarters, the Bearcats 77-72 win at Gallatin County last Wednesday was just that. Anderson had flexed its muscles to the tune of a 59-41 lead after 24 minutes, but had to hang on for dear life down the stretch.
“We played really well in the second and third quarters but were too inconsistent,” Anderson coach Glen Drury said. “We are still having trouble closing out games.”
The Bearcats ran their record to 15-2 but, as the case has often been this year, saw a rout turn into a close game in the final minutes.
Gallatin's Kristian Morgan scored 13 of his game-high 30 points in the final eight minutes as the host Wildcats outscored the Bearcats 31-18 in the final frame. “Morgan just took over late,” Drury said.
Anderson, however, had rallied from an early 11-4 deficit to take the commanding lead.
“I felt like we had a concerted effort through the whole team at times,” Drury said.
Anderson got a big lift from junior Lucas Mann, who scored 21 points in a reserve role to lead the Bearcats. Drury also noted that senior Kyle Sutherland might have had the best game of his career. Sutherland scored seven points with two rebounds and a pair of steals. “He hit a big three for us and had a couple of put-backs,” Drury said. “He guarded Morgan at times and did a good job. We needed a spark and Kyle came in to give us that.”
When the season started in November, the Gallatin game was one that most observers would have picked Anderson to struggle with or lose. The victory showed how far the Bearcats have come but also revealed, again, where they need to improve.
“I am pleasantly surprised to see us at 15-2,” Drury said, “but we have still got to find a way to close things out. The post-season is close enough to us now that we should have the consistency we want.”
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