On Friday night, when Bradley Dean poured in a whopping 50 points to lead Gate City to an 89-77 win over John Battle, the defending state champion Blue Devils finished their fourth straight season with a perfect Mountain 7 District record.
Gate City (19-3, 12-0) has now beaten district foes — including tournament play — some 60 straight times since its last league defeat, a 66-64 decision against Lebanon on Jan. 24, 2015.
“We’ve got the best kids anywhere, and I really believe that,” said longtime Gate City coach Scott Vermillion. “And it’s because of their parents, who deeply care about this school and this place and, of course, these kids.
“I get to teach them a little basketball and hopefully give them a piece of my heart, but it’s just this place. This environment is what keeps it all going.”
HALF A ‘HUN’
Dean, who watched former Gate City star Mac McClung score 64 points one night in 2017, saw injured senior teammate Zac Ervin get 49 on two occasions this season. And twice this winter the 6-foot-2 guard had bagged 40 himself.
But 50? Dean, with his 30-foot range, seemed almost embarrassed afterward.
“Maybe a little bit,” said the junior, who hit 18 of 29 floor attempts — 5 of 11 from 3-point range — and 9 of 13 free throws. “The atmosphere here and the crowd contributes a lot to it, and I want to thank my teammates for making all things possible by getting me the ball and screening away from the ball.
“When I was younger and I watched the NBA, my dad was always telling me to scoot in, scoot in so I could get the proper form, but whenever he wasn’t around I was always moving back and moving farther out to work on my range.”
Drew Vermillion, a senior who has never lost a home game, knows the tune.
“Brad’s an extraordinary player,” the coach’s son said. “He’s awfully quick, and nobody can guard him in practice so nobody can guard him in a game.”
The Trojans (13-9, 5-7) trailed 20-9 after one quarter but got back to within 42-37 by halftime.
With Cayden McConley doing his best to match Dean, Battle trailed 48-46 when Dean collected five points on one trip down the floor, making it 53-46 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
McConley totaled 33 points. Issac Deel had 16 and Doug Logan a dozen.
GC GIRLS WIN AGAIN
Jaden Fullen had a night to remember during the Lady Blue Devils’ nice 62-43 Mountain 7 win over the Lady Trojans.
A senior transfer from Dobyns-Bennett, the 6-foot-2 Fullen made two 3-point jumpers and finished with a career-high 30 points to lead Gate City (15-6, 8-4). Teammate Sarah Thompson, with three 3s, added 17 points of support.
John Battle (4-18, 1-11) received a 15-point game from Haylee Dye.
Gate City finished tied for third place in the Mountain 7.