The York Institute Dragons are going to be a difficult match-up for any team they face during the 2020-21 high school basketball season, and they punctuated that fact against the defending Class A State Champions, Thursday night. Nic Smith went off for 31 points, and the Dragons crushed the visiting Clay County Bulldogs, 96-70. The win was the sixth straight for the Dragons (7-1), who host Cumberland County, Friday night. Grant Strong scored 30 points in the loss for Clay County (6-2).
Meanwhile, Hunter Wattenbarger knocked home 24 points, as the Pickett County Bobcats (7-2) rallied from nine points down at the half to beat Livingston Academy, 64-51. Freshman Jacob Amonett started in place of his injured brother, Will Amonett, and added 14. Hayden Ledbetter paced the Wildcats (4-5) with 13. Pickett County trailed, 33-24, at the half, but out-scored Livingston, 40-18, in the second half.
Upperman won their opener in the SAMCO Classic in Trenton, FL, over the host school, 58-55, in double-overtime, as A.J. Nash scored 14 points.
In girls’ action, senior Laci Patton scored 21 points, while Reese Beaty added 19 in York Institute’s thrilling, 56-53 overtime win over Clay County. Briley Burchett paced the Lady Bulldog attack with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Freshman Ellie Butler came off the bench and scored 22 points, as the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats completed a regular season sweep of Pickett County, 66-44. Livingston (9-1) used a stingy defense to hold the Lady Bobcats to three first-half field goals, none in the second quarter. Shayla Wood scored 13 points to lead Pickett County (9-3).
Brooklyn Crouch pumped in 17 points for Upperman, as they won their SAMCO Classic opener over Trenton, FL, 57-24.
Here’s Thursday night’s scoreboard:
York Institute 56
Clay Co. 53 (OT)
Livingston Academy 66
Pickett Co. 44
Trenton, FL 24
York Institute 96
Clay Co. 70
Pickett Co. 64
Livingston Academy 51
Trenton, FL 55 (2 OT)