- Travis Dockery
HHS basketball hosts Robbinsville
As has become the custom, The Hive was full on Tuesday, January 3 as Jacket Nation came to cheer on their basketball teams. The premier matchup for the night was the game pitting the varsity Yellow Jackets against the Robbinsville Black Knights.
The Knights entered the game with an impressive 9-1 record with their only loss coming in a non-conference game against Smoky Mountain. As expected, the first quarter was high energy with quick ball movement from both teams. Each side of the gym erupted with each basket and foul. An action-packed opening stanza ended with the Jackets trailing 13-8.
Quarter two started with an exchange of 3-pointers. Hayesville then drove the lane for some great looks at the basket but shots rattled the rim, refusing to fall. A scoring blitz in the final moments of the half saw Hayesville close the gap and head into halftime down 22-20.
The second half got underway with a quick Yellow Jacket 3-pointer and a charge call which gave Hayesville their first lead since the opening seconds of the game. Emotions and physicality began to make appearances. Hard fouls and hotly contested loose ball pursuits showed how bad each team wanted it. Sweat poured from the players as jeers poured down from the fans who questioned calls from the officials. Robbinsville used offensive rebounds to mount a rally and ended the quarter with a 40-27 lead thanks to a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
With eight minutes to play and down by 13, the Jackets came out seemingly calm. As is their trademark, Hayesville moved the ball and waited for good looks at the basket. Robbinsville, meanwhile, were not content with playing keep away and running out the clock. The Knights pushed the issue and drove to the basket for baskets and fouls. Up by nine and with under five minutes to go, Robbinsville began to try to runout the clock and draw fouls. Hayesville showed patience and managed to engineer a steal.
The Jackets began to make a run with back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Robbinsville's lead to 46-43 with just over three minutes to play. The Knights were able to hit a jumper then get defensive rebound and a foul to create some breathing room and played into their strategy of forcing Hayesville to foul. The Jackets fought until the final buzzer, but ran out of time, losing 58-46.
Robbinsville's varsity Lady Knights entered The Hive favored on paper, but games aren't played on paper. The Lady Jackets started the game with the first bucket and used a swarming defense to limit Robbinsville's looks at the basket. Good ball movement helped Hayesville get good looks at the basket and kept the ball away from the Lady Knights' offensive attack. The visitors were still able to manufacture enough points for a 13-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Hayesville's offense continued to find open shots in the second quarter, but could not get them to fall. On the other end of the floor, the Lady Knights got hot from the arch and used 3 pointers to quickly grow their lead. When the 3 wouldn't fall, Robbinsville would use their height advantage down low for quick put backs. By halftime, the Jackets trailed 27-8.
The Lady Jackets came out in the third quarter with a renewed intensity. A quick bucket and forced turnovers gave Hayesville the momentum temporarily. However, shooting struggles continued and Robbinsville used offensive rebounds to get multiple looks at the basket. The Lady Knights used the third quarter to build up an insurmountable lead and cruised to a 54- 26 win over Hayesville.
The JV boys game was a fast-paced one. Hayesville got the first 2 points of the game, but the Knights quickly answered. Turnovers continued to plague the Jackets in the first quarter, putting them in a hole early on. By quarter's end, Hayesville had battled back to an 11-11 tie at the buzzer. Close play continued through the second quarter and as the teams hit the locker room at halftime tied 25-25.
Hayesville opened the second half with a 5-0 run to grab sole possession of the lead. The Knights kept bringing the fight and by quarter's end, the Jackets' lead had shrunk to 1 point, 33-32.
Quarter four started with a turnover from Hayesville and a quick bucket from the Knights. The Jackets answered and the final drive for a win was underway. The two teams exchanged buckets and as time ticked down, the intensity went up. With 45 seconds left to play, a steal and a bucket by the Knights gave the visitors a 44-42 lead. On the following possession, an errant pass ended up in the hands of a Robbinsville player, forcing Hayesville to foul in order to stop the clock. Robbinsville missed the foul shot, giving Hayesville another chance. Unfortunately, a last second layup wouldn't fall, giving Robbinsville the 44-42 win.
It was game number four of the season for the JV Lady Jackets who entered the contest with an 0-4 record. Robbinsville opened the game with a full court press, a tactic that was successful and resulted in the Lady Knights building a 10-0 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
That quarter set the tone for the rest of the game and the Lady Knights handed Hayesville a 39-18 loss.
Hayesville will travel to Hiwassee Dam on Friday, Jan. 6 to face the Eagles. Games will start at 5 p.m. with the JV boys.