From four years of dealing with Justin Havis, Whitwell coach Heath Thacker knows when to expect a good game from the senior guard. A conversation prior to Friday's game against rival South Pittsburg had the coach confident good things were on the horizon, and Havis made sure not to disappoint.
Havis finished with 29 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals in the Tigers' 80-75 of the Pirates, who were previously unbeaten in District 6-A. He also added 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in six minutes of playing time when Whitwell defeated Richard Hardy on Thursday.
The averages of 22.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals were enough to garner him Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.
"It was a huge win Friday," Thacker said. "I knew from the shootaround Friday afternoon, to the way he prepared for the game that it was going to be a good game for him. It showed from the way he played from beginning to end."
Thacker said a conversation prior to Friday's game gave him a good feeling about what was to come.
"I told him that he was a senior; that it was the last time he was going to play South Pittsburg unless we played in the district tournament," he said. "He'd only beat them once while he was in school, and that was last year. It had been way too long and he needed to correct that."
And "correct that" he did, connecting on four 3s in the game.
"You could just look at his eyes and his demeanor and tell he was ready to play ball," Thacker said. "This is a small community, and these guys have played against each other in all sports since they were four, five and six years old. They know each other."
In his senior season, Havis has started to improve and continue creating his game. The change has been beneficial not only to him, but also his teammates.
"He's starting to realize that he has to play well for us to win, but he's not the only player we have," Thacker said. "He's improved in that he can make others step up. He knows that if we can get either Logan Daniel or Hunter Patton going, we're pretty good.
"That was very evident Friday."