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Anderson steps up play in second half as Devils down Vikes

John Moorehouse • Jan 31, 2009 at 12:00 AM

GATE CITY — With several family members in attendance Saturday night for Gate City’s basketball homecoming, Tihlee Anderson wanted to put on a show.

The senior Blue Devil was fairly quiet in the first half. Once he got going after intermission, Powell Valley had no answer.

Anderson scored 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter, and Gate City pulled away late for a comfortable 68-55 win over the Vikings.

“He’s a good player. You can only hold good players down for so long, and he made good shots and made some nice passes,” Powell Valley coach Zack Moore said. “He’s a good high school basketball player.”

Anderson’s big third quarter included two old-fashioned three-point plays. He also was credited with two points when a Powell Valley player accidentally tipped Anderson’s missed shot into the basket.

The conclusion of the first half foreshadowed that Anderson was beginning to heat up. After Powell Valley (11-6) used a 7-0 run to cut Gate City’s lead to 21-20, Anderson scored four of his team’s six points in the final two minutes, helping the Blue Devils (12-6) take a six-point cushion into the locker room.

“He’s been good for us for a long time. We’re fortunate to have him,” Gate City coach Scott Vermillion said. “He’s got some good teammates, too.”

Two of those teammates, Jordan Potts and Trevor Smith, finished with 10 points apiece. Smith and Austin Arwood were the most active rebounders for Gate City.

Vermillion shuffled his roster before the game, bringing Joseph Vaughn and Derrick Miller up from the junior varsity squad. While three injured varsity players watched in street clothes, Vermillion substituted the newcomers in the first quarter.

“Go ahead and baptize them early,” the coach said. “If we’re going to bring them up, we’re going to try to play them some.”

Powell Valley has played plenty of basketball this week. Saturday’s game marked the Vikings’ third in four nights.

“When we went to the huddle they looked tired, but on the floor they didn’t look tired,” Moore said. “I think we played really hard the whole game.”

Though Powell Valley’s only lead was at 2-0, the Vikings stayed close in the first half and remained within three possessions entering the fourth frame. That’s when the bottom fell out; Powell Valley went without a field goal for the first 5:20 of the final stanza.

“There ain’t no team out here that’s going to roll over,” Anderson said. “You’ve just got to come and play your hardest and that’s what we did tonight. The second half, when we got the lead, that’s when we pushed it and ran.”

Powell Valley’s Jordan Martin led all scorers with 24 points. He also did the brunt of his damage after halftime, collecting 18 points after intermission. Tyler Garrison added 22.

Gate City crowned Tia Vermillion homecoming queen prior to tipoff. Vermillion is on the Lady Devils’ basketball squad, which had Saturday night off.

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