The Clarksville Wildcats were unable to practice during Thanksgiving break due to several players having the flu.
They were without leading scorer JJ Wheat against Gallatin on Monday.
They trailed 27-18 at halftime.
So, naturally, they rallied back, scored 38 points in the second half, and beat the Green Wave 56-53 against those odds.
“We knew we were going to struggle a bit with rhythm and offensive flow and then our shooting touch,” said Clarksville coach Ted Young. “Thank goodness we didn’t let ourselves defensively get in a jam. We kept their point total pretty low (in) the first half, then we came out in the second.
“You can’t help sickness this time of year, they came out ready to play in the second half with a lot more intensity on the offensive end, instead of dribbling the ball James Harden style. We started to get the ball to open teammates, and they made things happen. Great contributions from the bench when we were a man short.”
Guard Jeremiah Mimms filled in admirably for the still-sick Wheat, scoring 20 points and getting the ball to his teammates, as six of the eight other guys who saw the floor made at least one field goal.
14 of Mimms’ points came in the second half and eight were in Clarksville’s 22-point third quarter.
“Coach got in our heads (at halftime), talked to us, opened us up a little bit,” Mimms said. “Confidence is the main thing in basketball, for real.”
As for the Green Wave, Monday was the first time this season they took a lead into halftime and lost the game. Despite that, coach Bobby Luna is not letting his team get too low on themselves and knows that the loss can be valuable experience early in the season.
“I thought we played better tonight than in a couple games that we’ve won,” Luna said. “I thought we handled the last couple minutes of the game trying to get ourselves to tie or win, so I’m pleased with that. We’re still six games into the season. We didn’t win a district championship tonight, and we didn’t lose one.”
Gallatin’s offense ran smoothly, scoring at least 10 points in each quarter along with a 16-point fourth. They shared the ball well, as Noah Ring (15 points), Cade Martin (14) and Ethan Rogers (12) all reached double-digit scoring.
Now with their second win in hand, Clarksville returns to district play to face Montgomery Central on Tuesday before sparring with rival Rossview on Friday. Both games are set to tip at 7:30. Meanwhile, the Green Wave will kick off their district schedule on Friday at Portland.
Clarksville (56): Jamarco Mimms 20, Jaheim McDonald 13, Nick Keenen 7, Arnett Hines 5, Wesley Booth 4, Mason Spurbeck 4, Michael Kennedy 3.
Gallatin (53): Noah Ring 15, Cade Martin 14, Ethan Rogers 12, Ty Martin 5, Jack Richardson 3, Jaden Williams 2, AJ Davis 2.