When Will Raby was a player he knew what he wanted to do.
He wanted to pull up and hit a three. Now, in his first season as Tellico Plains boys’ basketball head coach, things are a little different.
Raby wants to drive, attack the paint and get to the line. That paid off for his team with a monster fourth quarter performance to top Loudon 50-40 in District 3-2A action on Jan. 11.
“I was opposite as a player — I wanted to shoot three pointers all the time. As a coach, it is kind of opposite of what everybody does nowadays because all the pro players are shooting threes,” Raby said.
The Bears (6-8, 0-1) went on a 17-5 run in the fourth quarter that featured shooting 75% at the line (8-12), a triple and four total baskets from the floor.
“We attacked the paint, got to the free throw line and we defended well. That fourth quarter we did everything right and made free throws down the stretch,” Raby said. “That is our style, that is the way I coach. I like to be aggressive and attack the paint. That is how I coached at my last job as well.”
Jace Lynn, Logan Cox and Major Carter all finished in double figures for the Bears — Lynn leading the way with 13, followed by Cox (12) and Carter (10). Lynn is the only Bear that is averaging double digits on the season (11.07) — he has reached the mark in nine of his 12 games.
The win also serves as Tellico’s first league victory since moving up to Class 2A in the TSSAA’s expansion of basketball into four Division I classifications.
“It feels really good (to get our first district win),” Raby said. “We are finally getting healthy. You can tell we turned a corner and starting to play with a lot of energy. Our intensity was really high. We were playing a little more like I thought we could play.”
The Bears were short handed through their Christmas tournament and winter practices. They have been down in roster numbers for nearly half of their games this season.
The re-emergence of player availability served the squad. Eight players saw the court, six of them scoring, and the Bears were able to keep consistency in their tempo.
“That was one of the first games where we had four full quarters of tempo we wanted. We were able to dictate the tempo, speed it up and slow it down when we wanted to. We were able to execute the way we wanted to play,” Raby said.
Loudon only finished with one shot from the floor during the decisive fourth quarter. Keaton Harig led them with 13 points.
Tellico continues their District 3-2A campaign on Friday, hosting Sweetwater (7-4, 2-0). Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.