SPENCER, Tenn.–Two weeks ago, the Eagles were as far down as a title contender can get with half of their famous one-two punch out injured while suffering a loss to bitter rival and underdog Bledsoe County.
“Bledsoe County did a good job of putting his big guys in spots and attacked us a little differently than other teams attack us,” Van Buren County head coach Dustin Sullivan said. “In the postseason, we might see that, but we’ll have a little more time to prepare as well. Other than talking about it, we didn’t have a day to game-plan it. We’ll be better prepared for it in the postseason if we do see it.”
After dropping a close game to Bledsoe County in Pikeville, one might think that Eagles would come out with guns blazing, but until late in the fourth quarter, the game remained fairly close never getting outside of a 12-point margin.
“We were content tonight with letting Mills get his usual tonight and limiting everybody else,” Warriors head coach Lucas Nunley said. “We were just worn down in the fourth. We’re missing a player tonight and got into our depth, playing a couple of freshmen that maybe weren’t ready for a game like this.”
The Eagles took a commanding 20-9 lead at the end of the 1st quarter with a lot of help from Mills who sunk two three-pointers in the process. Bledsoe County only trailed by eight going into the locker room.
In the 3rd quarter, the Warriors were able slow down Caden inside before Van Buren County picked up momentum.
“If you’re going to foul Caden, you’ve got to foul him,” Nunley said. “You can’t let him get the and-ones. I thought the little and-ones started them on their little runs. We wanted to run him off the line…and make him finish at the rim.”
The Warriors eventually tied up the game at 46 before the Eagles picked up and coasted off of their wildly successful home crowd Friday night for the 71-53 win. Thursday night, though, gave that crowd another reason to celebrate as Mills scored his 2,000th point as a junior.
“It’s really special,” Sullivan said. “We enjoy seeing all his accomplishments, and he appreciates the team. He’d be the first to tell you that he couldn’t do that without his teammates’ help. I think anything like that, as proud as we are of him, we view it as a team accomplishment.”
Van Buren County hosts Sequatchie County Tuesday night but not before the Warriors head down to Dunlap for the infamous Battle for the Stump.
VBHS — 20 | 15 | 11 | 25 || 71
BCHS — 9 | 18 | 17 | 9 || 53
VBHS (71) — Caden Mills (27), Bo Walker (19), Austin Miller (9)
BCHS (53) — Riley Meloncon (20), Cole Angel (16), Trail Hyatte (6),