Washington County rivals Daniel Boone and David Crockett posted opening-round wins in the 24th Hardee’s Classic basketball tournament on Monday night.
Daniel Boone scored the first 17 points of the second half, leading to a 78-43 victory over Happy Valley.
The host Pioneers scored seven points in the last 15 seconds of the third quarter and pulled away for a 66-52 win over University High in the late game.
Sullivan East beat Unaka, and Unicoi County defeated Cherokee in other opening-round contests.
The Trailblazers (3-2) trailed early against Happy Valley, down 11-5 midway through the first quarter. It wasn’t long, however, until Boone battled back to tie the game.
The ’Blazers then scored 10 straight points and weren’t seriously challenged afterwards. The pushed the lead to 19 points by halftime and by the time Alex Percell hit a three-pointer with three minutes to go in the third quarter, Boone had a 36-point lead.
“Things got going our way. We made some shots and it turned from there,” Daniel Boone head coach Ryan Arnold said. “I challenged them at halftime. We had a great first half and I said, ‘Don’t make me call a timeout after they score the first six points. Let’s attack them.’ That’s what we did. We attacked them and it was a done deal.”
Freshman guard Holden Hensley led Boone with 15 points, including 3-for-3 behind the 3-point line. As a team, Boone finished 9-of-13 behind the arc.
“In warmups, I couldn’t hit anything,” said Hensley, who also dished out a game-high six assists. “The game came around and it didn’t feel good coming off my hands at all. But it was going in, and I was pretty happy about it.”
Tyler Marlowe paced the Warriors (1-6) with nine points.
Ty Jones scored 11 points, going 5-of-5 from the field. It included a breakaway slam off a steal in the third quarter.
“It’s Ty’s first year playing for us, but he’s trying to learn our system,” Arnold said. “He’s a superb athlete. You could see that where he was able to steal it and then go dunk it. He’s a special kid.”
Zach Rafalowski also contributed 11 points. In fact, all 14 of Boone’s players scored in the victory.
Happy Valley will face Cherokee in today’s opening game, while Boone advances to the quarterfinals against Sullivan South.
David Crockett 66
University High 52
The Pioneers (5-1) scored seven points in the last 15 seconds of the third quarter to pull away from the Junior Bucs (1-3) in the nightcap.
Before then, University High had cut a 14-point Crockett lead in half.
“That’s what you play for, those 6-0 to 8-0 runs,” Pioneers head coach John Good said. “If you can get one of those each quarter, at the end of the game, you’ve got a lead. The kids just really got it. It’s one of those things when you score, you play better defense.”
Sophomore guard Patrick Good led the way for the Pioneers with a 22-point performance, including six points in an 11-2 run to put the game away in the final quarter. Luke Hopson tallied 10 points and Isaac Barkley added nine in the Crockett victory.
“It was a grind,” Coach Good said. “I knew (UH) coach (Justin) Penley would have them prepared and they came out body blow after body blow. But, our kids just ground it out. We played hard and that’s what we’re going to be about, playing hard.”
Joseph Phillips was the leading scorer for the Junior Bucs with 18 points. Fellow senior Marcus Taylor finished with 17 for UH.
Crockett will face defending tournament champion Greeneville in today’s late quarterfinal. University High will meet Watauga Valley Conference rival Unaka in a losers’ bracket contest.
Sullivan East 59
Freshman guard Gavin Grubb scored the winning basket with five seconds left as the Patriots (4-1) emerged victorious after an ultra-competitive fourth quarter which featured three ties and10 lead changes.
Grubb had 16 points overall, and trailed only Anthony Vanhoy with 23 points for East. They scored all but one of the Patriots’ baskets in that decisive final quarter.
Alex Baltaji led the Rangers (3-4) with 22 points, including the final tying basket. Eli Rasnick added 19 points in the loss.
East head coach John Dyer said it was another big win for his young team coming off the heels of a 69-67 win over Sullivan Central just days earlier.
“Anytime you win a game like this, you build confidence,” Dyer said. “I told the guys that hopefully we’re going to play 20 games like this. That means we have a chance to win.”
Dyer also praised the efforts of Curt Lunceford whom he believed spurred a first-half run which saw the Patriots lead by 12 points before Unaka mounted a comeback to trail just 32-27 at the half.
“I thought Curt Lunceford cane in and just helped us tremendously,” Dyer said. “He was key in getting us going in the first half. He gave us that spark where we had that lead. He’s worked hard for years, and he does an outstanding job.”
Unicoi County 50
Lucas Hensley had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Blue Devils (5-0) over the Chiefs (1-4) in the opening game of the tournament.
Hensley stayed in the middle of the action throughout the game, earning praise from head coach John English for his all-around effort.
“I just always try to get involved and make plays,” said Hensley, a 6-foot-1 senior wing. “Whenever things aren’t going our way, I try to come in and do something to help the team. We weren’t playing great, but that’s what championship teams do, they find a way to win.”
Unicoi led about all of the contest, up 24-21 at halftime and 32-24 heading into the final eight minutes as both teams struggled to make shots.
Still, the Devils were able to get the lead to double digits halfway through the final quarter.
“You take the 4 o’clock game if you can win it and just move on,” English said. “It was lethargic where both sides couldn’t get anything going. We had a little push in the fourth (quarter) and got a little distance, but it was basically survival.”
Connor Simpson also hit double figures with 11 points, while Nic Chambers had nine and Austin Green finished with eight in a balanced attack.
Jacob Watson was the only Cherokee player to hit double figures with 11 points.