The Swain County High School boys’ varsity basketball team appeared to be in good shape heading into the halftime at Tuesday’s home game against Murphy Feb. 9. The Devils posted 45 points in the opening frame and clung to a slight lead over a Bulldogs team that topped them by a score of 92-79 back on Jan. 15. But basketball is a game of runs, and the Bulldogs’ offense picked up in the second half on Tuesday to propel them to a rare conference road win.
“They kind of got hot, and they are one of those teams that when they get hot they can go on a run,” said Head Coach Scotty McMahan. “We just didn’t execute in the second half the way we need to. Their shots were falling and ours weren’t.”
Swain will play back-to-back road games to close out the week, traveling to Andrews on Thursday for a re-scheduled matchup moved from its original Feb. 6 date due to weather and Robbinsville on Friday. Swain bested Andrews in the teams’ first matchup on Jan. 9 by a score of 77-49. The Devils also got the best of Robbinsville the first time around, beating the Knights 83-60 on Jan. 19.
“It’ll be tough,” McMahan said of the two-game stretch. “We’ve only won one road game all year and if you look at home people are trending on road games, not many people are winning on the road. It could be a long evening for us if we’re not careful. At this point in the season it is more about mental preparation than physical preparation.”
Swain is now one of four teams in the Smoky Mountain Conference with four losses, the others being Robbinsville, Murphy and Cherokee. The four teams are in a gridlock for second place in the conference behind undefeated Hayesville, who the Devils will host for the regular season finale on Thursday, Feb. 18.