The Dobyns-Bennett girls’ basketball advanced to the final round of the Johnson City Honda Invitational at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium after Daniel Boone’s deep bench threatened to sink their championship hopes.
With Boone head coach Travis Mains choosing to go 11 players deep, the Lady Indians (10-3) hung on for a 49-47 decision agianst the homestanding Lady ‘Blazers (8-7) in Friday’s night late semifinal.
Dobyns-Bennett head coach Roger France wasn’t worried about style points as much as the end result.
“It wasn’t beautiful, but we found a way to win,” France said. “We found out something about them. They’ve improved, but we did find a way to win.”
The win sets up a matchup in tonight’s championship which could be referred to as the Buck Van Huss Memorial.
Dobyns-Bennett, where the legendary boys’ coach won the majority of his state-record 1,021 wins, will face Hampton, the school where Van Huss won 484 games and a state championship in 1960.
The Lady Bulldogs rallied from 12 points down to beat Seymour 54-53 in the night’s first semifinal.
In the late game, Mains was able to take some positives from Boone’s loss which marked a 23-point turnaround from the teams’ first meeting.
“The young kids are stepping up and our older kids are being leaders,” Mains said. “We’re getting stronger and getting better. We’re wanting to build momentum and are starting to believe we can beat D-B, beat South and these other teams which beat us early.”
They might have done it Friday if D-B’s Sasha Morrisette hadn’t broke free for a layup attempt with 18 seconds left. Fouled on the shot, her free throw made it a two-possession lead.
Morrisette ended with 13 points, while big sister Cydnee led the Lady Indians with 17 points and eight rebounds. Alex Anderson also ended in double figures with 10 points.
Boone’s scoring was more spread out. While Jenny Snyder battled inside to score 15 points, Autumn Bradshaw was the next high scorer with eight points.
Leading 27-20 at the half, France urged his team to put the hammer down to start the third quarter. Instead, it was Boone which took the fight to the Lady Indians. The Lady ‘Blazers rallied to tie 38-38 on Allison Littleton’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
Down the stretch, it went back and forth until D-B pulled it out in those final seconds.
“Coming out for the third quarter, I told them we had to have a very good effort and it was just the opposite,” France said. “We missed three or four easy shots in a row and they got happy. Next thing you know, it’s a tough game. But to our kids’ credit, they stepped up in the last 45 seconds and found a way to win the game.”
After going scoreless the first seven minutes of the third quarter and falling behind by 12 points, the Lady Bulldogs rallied to overtake the Lady Eagles.
“If anything, we’re resilient,” Hampton head coach Leon Tolley said. “To their credit, they didn’t hang their heads when about everybody in the gym gave up on them.”
Without the deficit, Hampton (12-3) still faced an uphill climb against the bigger, stronger Lady Eagles. Senior guard Dorothy Dugger, who ended with a game-high 25 points, said the Lady Bulldogs had to envision themselves as the same size as their opponents.
“We just had to act like we were big, honestly,” Dugger said. “We had to have confidence in ourselves that we could play defense against them. Our defense held us in the game. On the press, Monica (Olvera) and Alexis (Bowers) were all over them. It pulled us through.”
The trio of guards combined for 12 steals -- five by Bowers, four by Olvera and three by Dugger.
Bowers also contributed 14 points as Hampton overcame Seymour’s 27-16 rebounding advantage.
“We knew going into the ballgame, their bread and butter was their post play,” Tolley said. “We struggled most of the game with that. But it seemed like the key situations in the second half, we came up with the big plays. They rose to the occasion.”
Kasey Norman scored 14 points and Victoria Nelson added 13 to lead Seymour. Alex Justus missed an off-balance, 3-point heave at the buzzer.
Smith County 57
Sevier County 41
Sophomore guard Callie Hackett racked up 41 points for the Lady Owls in their victory over the Lady Bears.
Casey Gregory had 10 points as Smith County pulled away in the second half.
Brittany Tarr scored 14 to pace Sevier County, which had nine points from Taylor Chapman.
Johnson County 36
With a focus of scoring in the paint, Pattie Taylor tallied 13 points to lead the Lady Chiefs (6-11) past the Lady Longhorns (3-11).
Savannah Marlow added nine for Cherokee, which held a slight lead for most of the second half.
Sarah Swift had a game-high 19 points to pace Johnson County, which led at the end of one quarter and trailed 18-14 at the half. Brandy Dugger battled her way to a team-best seven rebounds.
Unicoi County 57
Gate City, Va. 50
Unicoi County (8-6) built a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, then held off a furious Gate City rally to win the battle of the Lady Devils.
Gate City (4-7) closed within two points before Chelsea Harness and Emily Edwards had back-to-back scores to give Unicoi County a little breathing room.
Edwards led Unicoi County with 18 points and nine rebounds. Harness scored 11 points and Whitley True added 10 points. Destinie Hayes was a force on the boards with 14 rebounds.
Jordan Gose paced Gate City with 24 points and nine rebounds, while her sister Morgan added 14 points and five rebounds.
Sullivan East 47
Sullivan Central 38
Ashlee Minor’s 3-point goal kicked off the game’s first eight points for the Lady Patriots (13-5) who raced out to a 27-8 halftime lead against the Lady Cougars (2-14).
Central outscored the Lady Patriots 16-7 in the third quarter and stayed within a dozen points throughout the final period.
Savanna Summers led East with 10 points, followed by Tori James with nine. Central’s Heather Norris ended up as the game’s leading scorer with 12 points after making a shot at the buzzer.
David Crockett 55
The Lady Rangers (9-7) reeled off 17 straight points in the third quarter to take control of what previously had been a competitive game with four ties and six lead changes.
Crockett led 43-37 in the third quarter before Unaka’s big run.
Brandi Ensor led the way with 18 points and six rebounds. Kassie Winters came through with 16 points and Alicia Colbaugh ended with 12.
Heather Scalf had 16 points and Madison Grindstaff added nine for the Lady Pioneers (1-11).
Sullivan South 65
The Lady Rebels (11-4) bounced back from close losses to Hampton and Sullivan East in the first two rounds to defeat the Lady Cherokees.
Courtney McKenzie paced South with a 26-point effort. Kayla Tipton hit 15 on the scoreboard and Brayden Hutchins contributed 13.
Sarah Rhyne was Greenback’s leading scorer with 14 points, followed by Courtney Sheedy with 10.