ERWIN — Unicoi County’s matchup zone gave David Crockett all kinds of matchup problems on Tuesday night at the Devils Den.
Doing their best Syracuse impression and playing in a 2-3 zone for the majority of the contest, the Blue Devils (3-0) held the Pioneers (3-1) to 19 points in the first half in a 66-49 boys’ basketball victory.
“We just tried to slow them down tonight,” Unicoi County head coach John English said. “They were hanging 80 on McMinn Central this past weekend and we wanted to slow that down, and didn’t want to let them get in a rhytym if we could keep that from happening. We knew they were going to get some shots, but we had to stay committed to it. We had to contain Patrick Good because he’s one of the best, if not the best player in the area.”
Earlier in the evening, the David Crockett girls scored a 48-44 win over the Lady Devils.
In the boys’ game, Ethan Rice had a triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Blue Devils to the win.
“I don’t get that triple-double without my teammates,” Rice said. “Everybody was cutting and working the ball around, making the right decisions. We just played real good as a team.”
Nic Chambers had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Connor Simpson ended with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lucas Hensley also reached double figures with 12 points.
“Connor and I both ended up with double-doubles because of Ethan’s assist total to us,” Chambers said. “It was ridiculous just the way he was able to get in the lane and dish it to us.”
Unicoi County scored the first seven points in a 15-3 opening-game run. The Blue Devils maintained the advantage throughout the first half, leading 18-12 at the end of one quarter and 30-19 at the break.
They stayed in control throughout the second half, up by 17 points (46-29) heading into the final quarter. The lead stayed in double digits throughout the final eight minutes.
Patrick Good led Crockett with 16 points, while Dustin Day added a 10-point effort. The focus, however, was stopping the Pioneers’ penetration. Once Crockett went cold from the outside, it played right into the Blue Devils’ hands.
“We couldn’t throw one in the ocean,” Crockett head coach John Good said. “Coach English did a good job taking away our strength and we couldn’t do anything to combat it.”
David Crockett (girls) 48
Unicoi County 44
The Lady Pioneers (1-2) rallied from a 12-point deficit at the end of one quarter to upset the Lady Devils (0-2).
Up by two with 2.9 seconds left, Emily Fagan raced past the Unicoi press to hit a layup as time expired for the final score.
“This is a program in this building, Unicoi, with a tradition,” Crockett head coach Will Conley said. “That’s saying something about your program when you come in this building and win. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls.”
Unicoi County jumped out to a 16-4 lead at the end of one quarter, only to see the Lady Pioneers rally with a 13-2 run, which closed the margin to 22-19 at the half.
Crockett continued to push forward in the second half, taking its first lead 28-27 in the third quarter on a basket by Fagan. The Lady Pioneers led 33-32 heading into the final quarter.
Heather Scalf led Crockett with 14 points, and Kasey Gordon finished with eight points. Conley had advice for his team when they fell behind early on.
“I told the girls to keep shooting and eventually they would falll,” Conley said. “I thought a couple of times about coming out of the press, but that’s who we are.”
The Lady Devils’ Hannah Rice led all scorers with 22 points. Haley Webb added nine points, while Destinie Hayes had five points and 12 rebounds