It took until overtime, but the Clarksville Academy Cougars defeated the Jo Byrns Red Devils 49-41 on Monday in Cedar Hill.
The Cougars led for most of the game – including a seven-point lead near the end of the third – before the Red Devils made a late push to tie the game and eventually led 40-37. A Don Hardison three-pointer tied the game before Clarksville Academy thought it won on a Daniel Loos last-second layup, but he was called for a charge that fouled him out of the game.
Fouls and turnovers were main vices for the Cougars, as they rarely got clean looks and often found themselves victims of the whistle.
“We’ve got to give Jo Byrns all the credit,” said Clarksville Academy coach Matt Wallace. “They had hands in the passing lanes; they were very quick. We just didn’t do a good job handling their pressure outside of Don Hardison, and, well, that was about it. Don Hardison and Will Mabry at the guard position – we’ve got to find that third guard who can come in there and not be nervous, not be afraid to make a mistake but not make those mistakes.”
Loos especially was frustrated by the fouls. Jo Byrns coach Joseph Northington made it a point to attack Loos and force fouls, making the Cougars best player sit on the bench to avoid fouling out.
The plan worked, as Loos played 16 minutes and finished with 13 points and four rebounds before he accrued his fifth foul.
Overall, Northington was pleased with his team’s effort in what they felt was an important “prove-it” game against the Cougars.
“I feel good in the sense that we competed. Friday night, we got beat by 30 by one of our rival teams in our region,” Northington said. “We didn’t think we were 30 points [worse] than them. So tonight was a redemption night; that’s what we’ve been talking about this weekend, and we just wanted to show we can compete with bigger teams.”
Each team plays Tuesday before taking a short break over the holiday week. The Red Devils will play host to Red Boiling Springs, and Clarksville Academy will face Stewart County.
BOYS BOX SCORE
Clarksville Academy (49): Daniel Loos (13), Jeremiah Smith (13), Will Mabry (11), Donovan Hardison (5), Cornelius Stevens (3), Thomas Wilson (2), Nick Whitlow (2).
Jo Byrns (41): Jayden Caira (13), Boone Fletcher (9), Bobby Ogg (6), Bryce Cox (5), Logan Head (4), Joland Lafortunate (2), Collin Harper (2).