Gallatin County achieved a personal mission Saturday night and for that fact, so did Andrew Drone.
Gallatin County, the EHT’s No. 2 seed outlasted Anna-Jonesboro 70-36 and will now meet Meridian in Monday’s semifinal matchup, starting at 1:30 at Duff-Kingston Gym.
As for Drone, the 6-foot-11 Rice University signee and Hawk senior center compiled 2,000 points for his career with 58.6 seconds left in the first half when he made a free throw.
How the point total came from Drone wasn’t a concern, but knowing that he lived out a childhood dream was all that mattered.
It feels awesome. I’ve been dreaming of breaking that record since I started playing. It feels really good. I’m shooting for the all-time record now and I think I need like 120-something to go.”
As fate would have it, Drone air-balled the ensuing free throw, after he was honored in front a large contingent of Gallatin County supporters. The big man ensured it was not part of his plan.
“I was so amped, ready and pumped up that as soon as I let go of it, I thought, ‘oh man, this is not going to be good. I know I didn’t hit net, I didn’t hit anything. That always happens!”
Sharing the laughs, Gallatin County head coach Robert Patton added he did not direct Drone to fire the air-ball either.
“No, no, I didn’t,” Patton said. “I think the emotions got the best of him, but if anybody deserves it, he does.”
Drone exited in the fourth quarter with a game-high 25 points to go along with 15 rebounds, while shooting 11-of-12 from the field and 3-of-5 from the foul stripe to keep the Hawks alive in the championship bracket.
It’s been a good two days for Gallatin County, racking up sizeable wins.
“This is one of our goals, to play on the last day and play at night and it looks like we’re going to do that whether we play for the championship or the third place game,“ head coach Robert Patton said. “That was one of our goals all year. We wanted to play in the final night at Eldorado and we’re going to get to do that.”
Considering Gallatin County hasn’t played since December the 19th, Patton had thoughts that his team might show some rust in the early going. So far that hasn’t been the case.
“I thought we would be a little rusty in some area’s, but so far, I haven’t really seen any of that. We’ve done some things right, played hard and all I want is for them to improve every game.”
Page 2 of 2 - Against Anna-Jonesboro, Gallatin County jumped out to a 20-7 first quarter lead and didn’t look back taking a 38-15 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Daine Hish heated up for the Hawks as he poured gasoline on the already engulfed fire, torching the nets for four 3-pointers and finishing with 20 points.
No other player scored in double figures for Gallatin County, but a big part of the Hawks’ success Saturday came via the glass, where they outrebounded Anna-Jonesboro 42-14.
The Wildcats were led in scoring by Noah Fullers 12 points.
Anna-Jonesboro will now play Herrin at 10 a.m. Monday in the Fifth Place bracket matchup.