The Evarts Wildcats learned Thursday that looks can be deceiving.
Wright, ranked fifth in the state in rebounding, pulled down 25 to go with his 28 points as the Jackets defeated Evarts 82-63. It was Wright's 21st double-double in 23 games this season.
"He positions himself, he's very aggressive and works hard," Whitesburg coach Rick Adams said of Wright, one of five new starters this year for the rebuilding Jackets, who lost their top eight players from last season to graduation.
Rebounding proved to be the stat of the night as Wright outrebounded the entire Evarts roster. The Jackets owned a whopping 46-16 advantage on the boards.
"We got killed on the boards. They shot till they made it," Evarts coach Jerry Ford. "We'd make a run, then they'd come down and miss it and get it back.
"I really thought we were better in the post, but you have to give them credit."
The extra rebounds led to additional opportunities at the free throw line for the Jackets. Evarts had only one less field goal in the game, but shot only 14 free throws, compared to 32 for Whitesburg.
"Rebounding was the big difference tonight. That really helped," Adams said.
Sophomore guard Schyler Sexton added 21 points for the Jackets, who improved to 7-16. Freshman forward Kenny Miles and senior guard Matt Frazier each scored 14.
Senior guard Frank Middleton and senior center Jared Bryant paced Evarts (4-18) with 21 and 19 points, respectively. Junior guard Dustin Mefford added 10.
The Wildcats played without junior forward Jamie Combs, who Ford said was out due to illness.
Miles and Sexton each had 3-pointers early as the Jackets raced to a 14-4 lead. Baskets by Mefford and Middleton cut the deficit to six before Whitesbuurg closed with a 4-1 run to lead 18-9 after one period.
Wright pulled down eight rebounds in the second quarter as Whitesburg's domination on the boards led to numerous putbacks and trips to the free throw line. Whitesburg hit 11 of 14 at the line in the quarter while Evarts missed its only two attempts as the Jackets built a 42-23 lead at halftime.
Bryant was the only offensive threat for the Wildcats in the second period, hitting five straight shots to open the quarter.
Evarts turned up the pressure defensively in the third quarter and forced Whitesburg into nine turnovers. The Wildcats cut the deficit to 57-42 by the end of the period as Middleton had eight points and Bryant added six.
"Their press really bothered us," Adams said. "I questioned why they came out of it, because I'm playing with freshmen and sophomores. It really bothered them."
The two teams spent much of the fourth quarter trading baskets. The Wildcats got as close as 14 on a 3-pointer by Middleton with 2:30 left but couldn't sustain their comeback due to their inability to keep the Jackets off the boards. Whitesburg owned a 13-2 rebounding advantage in the quarter as Wright hit seven of nine shots, most coming on putbacks.
Evarts returns to action Monday at home against Red Bird before closing its regular season schedule Tuesday at Bell County.
Josh Nichols scored 21 points and Dustin Adams added 12 as Whitesburg (14-5) won 48-38 in the junior varsity game.
James Ledford paced Evarts (1-10) with 14 points. Michael Smith scored nine. Trevor Smith added six. Johnny Wynn scored five. Jimmy Langley contributed four.
Shawn Hoskins 1-7 2-2 4, Frank Middleton 8-22 4-8 23, Dustin Mefford 5-8 0-0 10, John Holbrook 0-1 1-2 1, Jared Bryant 9-18 1-2 19, James Ledford 3-5 0-0 6, Alex Bush 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-61 8-14 63.
Matt Frazier 6-7 1-2 14, Mike Hogg 0-2 3-6 3, Schyler Sexton 6-13 6-6 21, Kenny Miles 5-8 3-6 14, Cam Wright 9-15 10-12 28, Travis Yonts 1-2 0-0 2, Josh Tyree 0-2 0-0 0, Josh Nichols 0-1 0-0 0, Dustin Adams 0-1 0-0 0, Devin Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Aaron Banks 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-52 23-32 82.
Evarts 9 14 19 21 63
Whitesburg 18 24 15 25 82
3-point goals: Evarts 3-18 (Middleton 3-13, Hoskins 0-2, Bryant 0-3), Whitesburg 5-12 (Sexton 3-7, Frazier 1-1, Miles 1-2, Hogg 0-1, Adams 0-1). Rebounds: Evarts 16 (Bryant 6), Whitesburg 46 (Wright 25). Turnovers: Evarts 11, Whitesburg 21. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Evarts (bench).