Consolation games aren’t an easy sell, and Sullivan South had a boat motor help sink its spirits for Monday’s matchup with host Daniel Boone.
South starting guard Ryan Headrick severely cut and broke a finger on his shooting hand in a boat motor on Monday, and Daniel Boone sputtered past the short-handed Rebels, 56-49, in the District 1-AAA third-place game at Snyder Gym in Gray.
Coach Ryan Arnold’s Trailblazers (21-9) visit No. 2 seed Jefferson County in a Region 1-AAA opener on Saturday. South (14-17) must go to top-seeded Sevier County.
Both teams appeared to be battling a letdown after expending a lot of energy in semifinal losses on Saturday.
Boone, which was led by senior forward Jake Littleton’s 14 points, got a key lift from freshman guard Ryan Keever. He made two 3-pointers and scored eight of his 10 points while helping the Trailblazers scuffle to a 24-21 halftime lead.
Keever’s final basket, a 17-footer via an assist from Ryan Gaitor (11 points), was part of an 8-0 run that stretched Boone’s lead to 41-31 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Four different ‘Blazers scored the four the field goals during the decisive run, and four Boone players scored in double figures despite the 56-point output. Gaitor assisted Littleton’s interior basket that gave Boone a 52-43 lead with 2:04 left after Blake St. Clair’s three-point play had gotten South within seven points with 2:40 remaining.
“Ryan’s the ultimate team player,” Arnold said. “He’d just as soon pass as shoot it. I thought he did a tremendous job the other night (33 points in a 67-60 loss to Dobyns-Bennett) just putting the team on his back and trying to will us to a win. …
“Jake does all the little things. He gets rebounds, he defends, he runs around crazy and gets deflections.”
South coach Mark Pendleton knew what Boone’s seniors were capable of, but hadn’t anticipated the productivity from Keever.
“The freshman, Keever, came in and knocked the bottom out of it in the first half,” Pendleton said.
Keever’s aided a rotation that took a hit when Aaron Shelton tore an ACL last month. The tough Shelton appeared briefly in the first two games of the district last week.
“We really miss him,” Arnold said. “Ryan Keever’s come in as a freshman and gave us some really good minutes. He defends well, he shoots the ball well and he’s just a smart, good player. He’s helped us out tremendously.”
South got 23 points from aggressive-driving guard Michael Harr, who also made three 3-pointers.
“I thought Michael stepped up and played well, you know, really made some clutch buckets for us,” Pendleton said.
Point guard Evan Headrick scored all nine of his points in the second quarter for South.
“I thought Even Headrick really kept us in the game early with his play,” Pendleton said. “I wish he would’ve maintained that aggressiveness in the second half.”
Ryan Headrick’s return this season sounds unlikely.
“It’s just one of those things that happens,” Pendleton said, “and you’ve got to deal with it the best you can and go play a ballgame.”
Dillon Reppart made two treys and finished with 10 points for Boone. He made a pair of free throws with 38.9 seconds left to stretch Boone’s lead to 54-44.
Science Hill (33-2) and Dobyns-Bennett (20-7) play tonight at approximately 7:30 in the championship.
Daniel Boone (girls) 60
Sullivan South 52
Junior guard Katelyn Cox’s 5-0 run gave the Lady Trailblazers the lead for good with 2:56 remaining. Cox made a jumper from the left corner on an assist from Ali Littleton which tied the score at 48 and followed with a three-point play via a turnover and coast-to-coast drive to put Boone ahead 51-48.
Boone (17-12) will visit second-seeded Morristown West in a Region 1-AAA first-round game on Friday. Volunteer (18-15) travels to top-seeded Cocke County.
Cox’s late flurry trumped a slow start for her and the Lady ‘Blazers of passionate coach Travis Mains, who didn’t like the way some of his players, Cox included, were defending in the early going.
“Katelyn Cox and a rough game and then she turned it on at the end,” Mains said. “We were taking her in and out of the game. She wasn’t rotating and she wasn’t doing what we were asking her to do. And she can be a difference-maker. In practice she’s as good as anybody in this league. … Part of my job is giving her confidence.”
Seniors Jenny Snyder (eight rebounds) and Autumn Bradshaw (six assists) and sophomore Taylor Campbel l scored 10 points apiece for Daniel Boone. Campbell was made all three of her field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, and was 3 of 4 at the foul line.
Freshman Jaclyn Jenkins (six rebounds) scored nine points – all in the first half from 3-point range.
“A freshman and sophomore had 19 points for us tonight,” Mains said. “It’s been this way when we’ve been playing good, it’s been a different kid every night step up and play. And tonight it was just Taylor and Jaclyn.”
Junior guard Lindsey Overbey paced four double-figure scorers with 15 points for Volunteer, which was without key reserve guard Sydney Ross, who injured her knee in Friday’s loss to Tennessee High.
“It hurt a lot,” Volunteer coach Jerry Myers said. “She was our first perimeter player off the bench. She’s been playing, you know, two or two and a half quarters a game for us. But you know, you just have to play the hand your dealt.”
Junior Emily Armstrong and senior Deanna Way scored 14 and 10, respectively, for the Lady Falcons. Promising sophomore post Savannah Felgemacher scored nine of her 11 in the first quarter.
“She’s so long and athletic,” Mains said. “She’s got a bright future ahead of her. You’ve gotta stay on her and really be rough with her. I don’t know what we’ll do with her next year or the year after that, but we’ll try to figure it out.”
Science Hill (28-3) plays Tennessee High (24-4) tonight at 6 in the championship.