Sayre's boys played so well in the first half of their game against Wolfe County in the Dunkin' Donuts National Shootout at Lexington Catholic on Saturday that Spartans Coach Ted Hall didn't want to mess with their mojo.
Sayre led 41-18 at halftime, but Hall wasn't comfortable. His 1-9 Spartans had given up more than 20 points in the third quarter in their previous four games.
So with Sayre up 23 at halftime against Wolfe County, Hall didn't risk jinxing it. Instead of going to the locker room, the Spartans stayed courtside for the 10-minute break.
"Sometimes you've got to change things around," Hall said of the psychological ploy.
Sayre led by as many as 25 points in the second half, and its lead didn't dip below 20 until the final minutes before notching a 71-58 victory.
Reid Freeman hit three of four three-pointers and had 19 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Spartans.
Ray Brewer, who missed Sayre's games during the Christmas break because he was on a baseball trip to Florida, had 17 points and 15 rebounds. Justin Sanders had 13 points and four assists, and Phillip O'Rourke added 12 points and five rebounds.
Sayre shot 54 percent from the field. "When guys start making shots, it makes a lot of difference," Hall said.
How big a victory was it for Sayre?
"Whew, I can't even explain it," Hall said. "I'm just glad the game wasn't five minutes longer. I never felt like our lead was safe the way Wolfe County shoots the ball."
But this wasn't the Wolves' day. They shot 38 percent, including 4-for-19 (21 percent) on three-pointers.
Sawyer Denniston led Wolfe County with 19 points, including 11 of 12 free throws. He came into the game averaging almost 30 points.
WOLFE CO. (6-7) — S. Denniston 19, Lawson 4, Conway 5, Graham 2, Haddix 4, Dunn 6, Stone 8, Gilbert 8, B. Denniston 2.
SAYRE (2-9) — Brewer 15, Freeman 19, Sanders 13, O'Rourke 12, Courtney 7, McCullouch 4, Pergaande 1.
Wolfe Co. 10 8 18 22—58
Sayre 25 16 16 14—71