The Hayesville Yellow Jackets took the long trip up to Rosman to compete in the conference tournament semifinals last night. They took on the Swain Co. Maroon Devils who they had previously beaten twice this year. The Devils came to play though and gave the Yellow Jackets all they could handle in the first half. Yet behind star sophomore Jake McTaggarts monster night the Yellow Jackets ran away with it in the second half winning it 79-63.
In the first quarter Hayesville and Swain traded punches, neither team having a noticeable edge. Hayesville had trouble getting good post touches in their last matchup with Swain, that was not the case on this night. McTaggart had 8 first quarter points pacing the Jackets early helping them to a first quarter lead of 13 to 9.
In the second quarter Hayesville stopped forcing as many three points shots and really started to spread the ball around. This led to better offensive output in the quarter with 6 different Yellow Jackets scoring. Yet as the Jackets offensive improved so did the Devils who give them credit hit some very tough contested shots in the contest. Yet Hayesville outscored them by two in the second quarter giving them 33 to 27 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Hayesville continued their hot scoring and blitzed the Maroon Devils for 26 third quarter points. It wasn’t that the Devils were not doing their part to try and play right with Hayesville but the Yellow Jackets offense couldn’t be stopped. The third quarter ended with Hayesville in complete control leading 59-44. It has been said all year that when this Hayesville team shoots well, combined with their typically good defense their ceiling is as high as any team in the state.
The Yellow Jackets got scoring from seven different players in the quarter making them that much harder to stop. Hayesville fans have grown accustomed to watching Kolbe Ashe and McTaggart have regular 20 plus points nights. Yet there have been many nights when that second or third scorer can be either Juniors Blake or Hayden McClure, Paul White, Brady Shook or senior Mark Cothren. Each of the previously mentioned players have all had at least one game of over 13 points this year. When Hayesville gets good output from a third scorer they become a pick your poison team of who to guard on defense.
The fourth quarter saw each team’s role players getting time and the game ending in casual fashion as Hayesvilles lead was too much to overcome. That isn’t to say they left any doubt scoring another 20 points in the fourth quarter. Junior Paul White led the way in the fourth quarter with 5 points as six different Yellow Jackets scored in the quarter.
What set the tone on this night was sophomore Jake McTaggart having a career night with 26 points 25 rebounds and 6 blocks. After struggling against Swain in their last matchup McTaggart left no doubt that more often than not he can’t be stopped. Swain has good size with a player as tall and thicker than McTaggart, but McTaggart showed as he has all year he is not just a big post player. He is very skilled with great post moves, strong ball handling, a very underrated shooter and a determined rebounder.
Hayesville leaders for the night:
Jake McTaggart 26 points 25 rebounds and 6 blocks
Kolbe Ashe 15 points
Paul White 8 points
Brady Shook 8 points
Hayesville will next play in the conference tournament final on Friday against the winner of 2 seed Cherokee and 3 seed Andrews who play tonight.
To get updates or see how the Yellow Jackets have done tune in to all the latest coverage FYN sports on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at https://claync.fetchyournews.com/category/teamfynsports