(Photos by Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Dustin Day scored 24 points and Patrick Good added 22 more to lead David Crockett over Greeneville in Tuesday’s late quarterfinal of the 24th annual Hardee’s Classic basketball tournament.
Day, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, made all 10 free-throw attempts as the Pioneers took a 67-57 victory over their old IMAC rivals.
“He showed up,” Crockett head coach John Good said about Day. “A lot of times coaches want to run plays, but it’s all about making plays. He made some plays tonight that obviously gave us a big lift. He was able to take care of business for us.”
Sullivan South rallied from 16 points down to beat Daniel Boone in Tuesday’s other quarterfinal, while Unaka defeated University High and Cherokee knocked off Happy Valley in earlier losers’ bracket games.
The victory in the late game gave Crockett (5-1) wins over both last year’s tournament runner-up University High and the defending champion Greeneville on back-to-back nights.
“Greeneville is unbelievable,” John Good said. “They just came off the football field, but they come at you. Our kids just found a way to win. We grind it out and try to play for the 6-0 runs. We hit a shot and it ignites us. The kids played so hard it was unbelievable.”
Trevor Wright led the Greene Devils (1-3) with 21 points, keeping them close throughout most of the fourth quarter.
Down 13-6 after one quarter, the Greene Devils battled back to pull within 29-28 at the half. They held a 43-41 lead after a Wright 3-pointer heading into the final quarter. Greeneville trailed just 59-57 before Crockett finished it off with the final eight points of the game.
Crockett will face four-time Hardee’s Classic champion Sullivan East in a Friday night semifinal.
Sullivan South 52
Daniel Boone 48
The Rebels (2-2) rallied from an 18-2 first-quarter deficit to defeat the Trailblazers (3-3) in the first of two quarterfinals.
“We started about as bad as you could start,” South head coach Mark Pendleton said. “Their game plan was working and things kind of snowballed from there. We had to have a serious talk at halftime about we’re not going to give them second-chance points, put them on the free-throw line or throw the ball all over. You take care of the ball, defend and rebound and you make life a lot easier for you.”
It still was a struggle for the Rebels as late as the third quarter. Boone led 35-23 before South embarked on a game-changing run.
Led by Colton Young’s hot hand, South outscored the ’Blazers 16-2 to take a 41-37 lead with three minutes left in the game.
“Momentum is a crazy thing,” Pendleton said. “Colton hitting those shots, one thing leads to another and you’re back in the ballgame.”
Young scored four of his five 3-point goals in the fourth quarter on his way to a game-high 19 points. Will Blair used his height advantage on the inside to finish with 14 points.
Dillon Reppart had 14 points to lead the ’Blazers, while Aaron Shelton finished with 10 points.
It was when the shots weren’t falling, however, that Boone head coach Ryan Arnold felt his team lost composure.
“We’ve got to learn when we’re not making shots how to survive,” Arnold said. “We talked about it at halftime, how we had to lock down on defense and get offensive put-backs. We can’t let them have offensive rebounds. Hopefully, we can move on and learn we’re not always going to shoot lights out. We have to learn how to play when we’re not making shots.”
South advanced to face Unicoi County in the first of two tournament semifinal games on Friday night.
University High 70
The Rangers (4-4) went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 64 seconds after the Junior Bucs (1-4) had erased a 17-point deficit.
Unaka held a 29-13 lead over University High 29-13 in the first quarter and 45-33 at halftime.
Logan Carrier led Unaka’s charge over its Watauga Valley Conference rival with 27 points. Alex Baltaji worked the interior for 25 points.
In the final minute, freshman point guard Joe Searfoss and senior forward Eli Rasnick were perfect from the free-throw line.
“I keep saying if these guys will stay together and be all in with what we want to get done, we will be pretty good,” Unaka head coach Aaron Dugger said. “We just have to keep getting better. The main thing right now is our shot selection when we have a big lead. If we clean that up, we’re going to be all right.”
Marcus Taylor tallied 27 points, including six shots behind the 3-point line, and Joseph Phillips came through with 15 for University High. Still trailing by a dozen heading into the final quarter, the Junior Bucs went on a 16-2 run to briefly take the lead.
“What it really boils down to is Unaka was ready to play tonight and we weren’t,” UH head coach Justin Penley said. “We went through the motions and weren’t sharp early. By the time we woke up and started doing good things, we had spotted them too much. Give Unaka credit, when we briefly took the lead, they made the plays down the stretch to get the win.”
Happy Valley 40
Knotted up at the half, the Chiefs (2-4) outscored the Warriors 35- 16 over the final two quarters to pick up the victory.
Down 16-9 early in the second quarter, Happy Valley (1-6) rallied to tie the Chiefs 24-24 on scores by Josh Hammonds, Zack Hyder and Nathan Kyte before the half.
However, Cherokee pulled away to a 40-31 lead heading into the final period and put the game away with an 11-2 run early in the fourth.
Tanner Trent paced the Chiefs with 25 points, which included going 11-for-13 at the free-throw line. Teagan Trent finished with a dozen points and Jacob Watson had 11 for the Chiefs.
Tyler Marlowe and Brandon Young each scored eight points to lead the Warriors.