Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High freshman Braydee Brooks dribbles along the baseline as Watertown’s RayQuan Verge defends. Brooks scored a career-high 22 points in the Tigers’ 76-63 loss.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High freshman Braydee Brooks dribbles along the baseline as Watertown’s RayQuan Verge defends. Brooks scored a career-high 22 points in the Tigers’ 76-63 loss.

There were several new variables when the Macon County and Watertown boys prep basketball teams faced off for the second time this season.

However, those variables played more in the favor of visiting Watertown as Macon County suffered a 76-63 loss on Jan. 22.

"Nobody could score over there (in the game at Watertown), and (Watertown senior forward Heath) Price wasn't there," Macon County head coach Jason Welch said, whose squad captured a 43-31 win at Watertown on Dec. 4. "He was at the football all-star game, the East/West (Shrine) Game, and we didn't have Trent (Cook, Macon County's starting forward)."

Macon County had difficulty slowing Watertown down in the rematch. Watertown shot 53 percent from the field, made 6 of 7 3-pointers and connected on 22 of 32 free-throw attempts.

Macon County was also outrebounded by a 33-25 margin.

"We struggled to rebound," Welch said. "We struggled to score … and tonight, we couldn't defend. Our defense was bad.

"Watertown doesn't shoot many threes. They shot seven threes and made six. In our zone (defense), we got bad angles, and they got to the paint."

Price was one of the biggest beneficiaries, finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds. He was one of four Watertown players to reach double figures, including Jared Tomson (19 points), RayQuan Verge (11) and Brandon Allison (10).

"He's so big, and he's so strong," Welch said of Price. "He's a little different version of Seth Carlisle (Macon County's leading scorer last season).

"I thought that Cameron (Welch) did a good job of guarding him, but he shoots it, clears us out, goes and gets it, and shoots it again. He big-boyed us as we call it."

Watertown raced out to a 13-3 lead, but two 3-pointers from freshman guard Braydee Brooks, another by Cameron Welch and a Clay West layin pulled Macon County back to within two points (16-14) early in the second stanza.

The two teams traded runs for the remainder of the half, with Watertown scoring the final 6 points to build a 32-22 lead at halftime.

"We had some crucial turnovers in the second quarter to allow the game to get gapped," Jason Welch said of Watertown's increasing lead.

The advantage swelled to as much as 13 points after Tomson made a 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining in the third period.

However, Macon County closed the period on a 7-1 run, which included two baskets from Cook and a 75-foot throw by freshman guard Braydee Brooks that found the net.

Then, Brooks came up with a steal early in the final period and turned that into a layin, pulling his squad back to within 5 points.

"It gave us a chance," Jason Welch said.

A technical foul assessed to Macon County head coach Jason Welch led to the first pair of four consecutive made free throws.

Macon County didn't get any closer than 6 points the rest of the way.

Brooks made six of the team's 11 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 22 points, connecting on 8 of 14 field-goal attempts. Cook scored 16 points, and Ballou provided 11.

"Braydee helped us on offense," Jason Welch said. "He shoots the ball extremely well. He has length. He has, at times, struggled to guard (opposing players), but tonight, he was great. We found him open."

The Tigers played their third consecutive game without junior forward Lake Reid, who remained sidelined due to an ankle injury.

"Lake's out, and there's 8 or 9 rebounds … and we lose rebounds by (almost) double digits," Jason Welch said.

Watertown pulled into a fourth-place tie with Macon County in the District 8-AA standings.

Watertown boys 76, Macon County 63

WATERTOWN (76) – Jared Tomson 19, Heath Price 18, JayQuan Verge 11, Brandon Allison 10, Griffin Creswell 7, Aidan Usher 6, Nathan Fish 5.

MACON COUNTY (63) – Braydee Brooks 22, Trent Cook 16, Kelton Ballou 11, Cameron Welch 8, Clay West 6.

Half: 32-22, Watertown. Three-point goals: Watertown 6 (Tomson 3, Allison 2, Fish 1), Macon County 11 (Brooks 6, Cook 3, Ballou 1, Welch 1). Records: Watertown 15-7 overall, 5-4 in District 8-AA; Macon County 9-14, 5-4.