Prior to Saturday, the Swain County boys basketball team last defeated Andrews in January of 2018. The Maroon Devils topped the Wildcats over the weekend to end the skid, but more impressive than what was how, as the Devils grouped skated to a 77-49 blowout victory.
“Andrews is always well-coached, and they’re always going to play hard,” said Devils head coach Scotty McMahan. “We try to make each game as big as possible, and when we hadn’t beat them in a few years. We laid that out there on the line for them saying: ‘If you want to get to where you are trying to be, they are kind of the next step.’”
While the global pandemic has had a net-negative effect on high school sports, McMahan noted that the delayed season allowed him to better adapt his playbook to suit this year’s crop of players.
“I think one of the strengths we’ve had over the last few years is that our teams play really hard, but I think right now, we’ve probably had a little bit more time to prepare and get adjusted to our personnel than maybe in years before,” he said. “Last year it took us about four or five games to figure out what our identity was and what we were going to kind of hang our hat on.”
The win bumps Swain’s record to 2-0 with a cumulative 55-point scoring differential. Junior Cooper Hyatt led the way for Swain with 15 points and five steals. Judaiah Littlejohn added 14 points and six rebounds. Isaiah Collins chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. It was another balanced attack for Swain, with eight players scoring six points or more. With the postponement of this week’s Rosman game, the team’s next game will be against Murphy on Friday.
“They’re just always very athletic,” McMahan said of Murphy. “They do stuff to hive us trouble. They gave us trouble last year with some of their defensive stuff with their three-quarter trap and half-court trap. It’s one of those where if we don’t get to dictate the pace and it turns into their style of game, it can hurt us if we’re not careful.”