Considering that Whitwell's Justin Havis performs best when the stakes are a little higher, head coach Heath Thacker expected nothing less than the best from the junior guard this week with a couple of tough contests. He wasn't disappointed.
Havis scored 61 points as the Tigers went 1-1 on the week. That included a 37-point effort against Class AA foe Chattanooga Christian with five 3 and four 3-pointers and 24 points against Red Boiling Springs, and earned him Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.
The 6-foot-2 guard had 31 points earlier in the season against Class AA's Bledsoe County and against county rival South Pittsburg, so big contests aren't uncommon for him.
"I know that the bigger the team, the bigger he's going to play," Thacker said.
The Whitwell coach said that Havis looked good from the first shot he took against CCS. He added eight rebounds and five assists in the game.
"You could just tell he was in one of those zones," Thacker said. "The thing about Justin is that, even when he's hitting shots, he's not afraid to make his teammates better."
He followed that performance up with a more balanced game against Red Boiling Springs, adding six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Scoring is more of his specialty, though, and he's already past the 800-point mark, and Thacker feels that Havis has a realistic shot of breaking 2011 graduate Cole Tucker's school record of 1,876 points before he leaves. That is, of course, unless teams sell out to stop his scoring ability.
"Against Red Boiling Springs, Justin was a lot more balanced and had a better overall night," Thacker said. "He rebounded well and distributed well, but he also scored 14 points in the first quarter. Coming out in the second quarter, they decided to shut down his ability to score and he was more than willing to distribute the ball to his teammates, which he was been all season."
Currently, Havis averages 22 points, six rebounds and four assists as the Tigers are off to a 5-7 start -- 1-2 in District 6-A.
"It is a great luxury to have him on the court," Thacker said. "When we need a big shot, he's who we go to. He's not afraid to drive to the hoop, or step back and hit a shot. We know he's going to be there to step up in big moments."