Sometimes there has been a lot on the line. Sometimes it has been for nothing more than Washington County pride.
But Tuesday night at Science Hill’s gymnasium — quite fittingly a neutral site within the county — Boone and Crockett will meet in what could be described as the biggest basketball game in the history of this rivalry.
Tipoff is set for 7:45 p.m.
At stake is not only a berth in the regional finals, but the winner also earns a spot in Monday night’s sectional round — where a spot in the Class AAA state tournament is at stake.
Science Hill, riding an 11-game winning streak, is in the same boat as Boone and Crockett. The Hilltoppers will face Jefferson County with tipoff set for 6 p.m.
Daniel Boone hasn’t been in this spot since 2010. Crockett was here last year, and eventually earned a spot in the state tournament with a road win over Oak Ridge.
But it has been a long time — if ever — since these teams have faced each other with a sectional berth on the line.
Boone (18-13) has scrapped its way through an up-and-down season to get this far. The Trailblazers won two district games before losing to Science Hill in the finals. Then they defeated Morristown East in the region quarterfinals.
Head coach Chris Brown said his team is trying to focus on doing the things it needs to do to be successful.
“We understand the ramifications, but we’re trying not to make it more than that — just try and dial in on what we do,” said Brown. “We are obviously aware of the emotions of the game, and the team that handles the ebbs and flows of that will be successful.
“There is great excitement from the community to have both the boys and girls in this spot, so we welcome the support.”
Crockett (18-14) eliminated Tennessee High in the first round of the district before losing to Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett to finish fourth. However, the Pioneers regrouped with a 67-58 win over District 2 champion Cocke County.
Head coach John Good said it’s an exciting time at Crockett.
“The community and school continues to provide this program with so much support, it’s extremely humbling,” said Good. “These are games we had hoped to play in, and we will not take the opportunity for granted.
“Our kids understand they will be facing a quality opponent. Therefore, their focus will be on the task at hand.”
Crockett defeated Boone 53-52 in the Hardee’s Classic back in November. Then the Pioneers beat Boone 53-51 at home in a Big Seven Conference game on Jan. 3.
Boone got a win, 60-57, on its home court. So in three games, the total margin of victory has been six points.