Anthony Vaughn the ultimate leader for surging County Line basketball

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

MULBERRY — Anthony Vaughn is the ultimate leader for County Line.

He runs the clock during junior high practices. 

During pregame warmups, he runs the team through drills.

And sometimes, County Line coach Joe Brunson brings in Vaughn — a senior two-way starter on the high school team — to run plays against the junior high squad.

"He's the first guy to come in before the start of practice," Brunson said. "If we need someone else on the floor, he'll come out so they can run plays. It's been good for (the junior squads) to see his willingness to contribute to the program."

County Line's Anthony Vaughn (20) is ready to defend in the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at "Cotton" Havener Gymnasium in Mulberry. County Line defeated Mulberry 63-40. As the only returning starter for County Line, Vaughn has been instrumental in helping his teammates prepare this season.

Vaughn commands respect among his peers on and off the court at County Line, which serves students in Grades 7-12. He'll set up the practices each day for the high school team and makes sure his teammates are socially distancing when they can.

The team came onto the court with everyone wearing a mask for warmups for Tuesday's game against Mulberry and the starters didn't remove theirs until after their name called by the announcer.

"I feel like encouraging my teammates and others, and just being a role model really helps me as a leader," Vaughn said. "The administration and the coaches have been good about enforcing the rules and having us do our part. We've been excellent as a whole and didn't have too many (COVID-19) cases. We hope to keep it that way."

County Line (25-5, 12-1 1A-1W) has the lead in the 1A-1W, with its only league loss to New School. Teams could finish the regular seasonby Friday (weather permitting), with the district tournament starting next week. County Line has an automatic bid to regionals but will play at home in the district semifinals at 5:30 p.m. onFeb. 18.

Vaughn finished with 13 points and four players reached double figures for scoring as County Line won 63-40 against Mulberry. Drake Price led the game with 21 points.

"We built the team around him," Brunson said. "We found four to five guys, and some have a little high school experience and he's done a great job to be an example for them. The way he commands respect and how the other players look up to him in the key moments of the game has a lot to do with our success."

Vaughn is the only returning starter for County Line,  and he enjoys the rush of playing with his teammates and working with them.

"We really struggled through the summer trying to get practices and get our chemistry," said Vaughn. "We have a set of plays we work on and there are six to 10 other guys willing to help us get better.

Ian Price scored nine points in the first quarter to lead Mulberry but was shut down the rest of the game.

Lady Jackets win in OT

Payton King led with 20 points as Mulberry overcame a sluggish start and rallied in the fourth quarter to win 50-47 in overtime. Jayleigh Smith led County Line with 23 points.