YANTIS – The Yantis Owls play the No. 4 state-ranked Avery Bulldogs today at 6:30 p.m. in Prairiland in Patroit Gymnasium. Their game will be the first of a doubleheader with Pleasant Grove playing Nevada Community following. The winner will face the winner of the Hawkins vs. Bland game.
It was early in the season during the Saltillo tournament that Yantis saw their Friday night challenger for the first time. It was the 75-60 outcome in Avery’s favor that has Yantis preparing for tip off time. “We need to stop their sets (plays), keep Avery Bulldog 6-1 senior Shawn Hall off the glass and really execute well on ‘O’,” said Yantis Owls head basketball coach Jack Bowles. He admits this sounds much easier than it really is.
Avery’s weak side is that in each of their four losses, all to playoff teams (Martin's Mill, Chapel Hill, Rivercrest, and Frankston), their point guard (senior Jordan Varley) got into serious foul trouble. Their loss to Frankston was a buzzer shot hit in overtime.
Yantis has their own advantage as their starters average 44 of their 58 points per game. This may be Bowles first go round at Yantis but he brings 17 years of head coaching experience to the floor and four as athletic director.
“We have emphasized ‘eyes up’ and running our ‘O’ for 30 passes without a turnover,” Bowles added. “Avery is very well coached. Their coach (Bill Giles) has been head coach at Lake Dallas, and Quinlan Ford before going to Avery. They have great transition ‘O’. Their point guard (Varley) is the best we will see all season, and one of the best I’ve ever coached against.”
According to Bowles, Varley’s father ran track at Baylor and his son can really run and jump along with great court vision. Yantis will be watching out for a ’Dog man-to-man defense. “It will be a tough game to win, to say the least,” Bowles added.
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