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Highlanders battle back from 16 down to complete season sweep of Anderson County

HUNTSVILLE  |  “I just want some wins.”

Those were the words of Scott High senior on The Round Table Thursday, as he and teammate discussed the Highlanders’ disheartening loss to region foe Gibbs two days earlier.

On Friday, Strunk played like a player who wanted wins and was determined to get them, scoring a career-high 23 points and pulling down a career-high 16 rebounds in a 69-58 win over Anderson County.

Strunk was the spark in a complete turnaround during Friday’s game. Anderson County led by as much as 16 points in the first half before the Highlanders rallied.

Anderson County, the hottest team in District 4-3A, with a seven-game win streak, jumped all over the Highlanders early. Up 25-9, it looked like Jordan Jeffers was well on his way to his first win over his alma mater and former team.

It was still a 16-point game late in the first half, at 31-15. And the Mavs were up 12 with 90 seconds remaining in the first half.

But a putback at the buzzer allowed Scott High to trim the deficit to just six points going into the locker room at halftime, and the Highlanders picked right up where they left off in the third quarter. 

By the time hit a 3-point shot late in the third, the Highlanders had completed a 28-point swing, going from 16 points down to 12 points ahead.

Anderson County regained its footing after that and even trimmed the lead down to five points, but was never able to catch completely back up.

There were two keys to the swing. One was Strunk. The other was Scott High’s switch to a man defense.

AC torched Scott’s zone early, with six 3-pointers in a quarter and a half of work. Highlander coach Rusty Yaden switched to a man defense in a desperate attempt to shut down AC’s perimeter game, and the Highlanders came alive defensively. 

And while Strunk was scoring 23 points and pulling down every rebound in sight, junior wasn’t exactly a slouch. He scored 24 points to lead all scorers, and went six of six from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. He also had a big 3-pointer in the final period, finishing with nine points in the fourth.

Ryan McGhee scored 18 points to lead Anderson County.

The win evened Scott High’s district record at 2-2, bumping the Highlanders to third place in the district standings.

SCOTT (69): Babb 24, Strunk 23, Todd 10, Jeffers 6, Garrett 4, Woodward 2.ANDERSON COUNTY (58): McGhee 18, Nelson 11, Craig 8, Dake 8, C. Russell 7, T. Russell 3, West 2, Cole 1.

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