South survives Boone rally; wins overtime thriller

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Nov 16, 2018 at 9:16 AM

KINGSPORT—Freshman Cooper Johnson made back-to-back 3-point goals Thursday night and Sullivan South held on for a 79-76 overtime victory over Daniel Boone in the basketball season opener for both teams.

Down by 19 points early in the fourth quarter, Boone put together an improbable rally to tie the game and eventually take the lead on a 27-4 run.

The ’Blazers trailed 59-40 with seven minutes left in the game, but they sliced the lead in half over the next 90 seconds. Although South had the next two scores, the 'Blazers had just begun. They reeled off the next 18 points to take a 67-63 lead.

South rallied to tie before Boone pulled ahead 69-67 when Chad Heglar was fouled on a put-back attempt with 39 seconds left. The Rebels’ Cam Necessary scored on a layup with three seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, in which the freshman stepped up with the two shots behind the arc to win the game.

"Being new, I was kind of nervous, but I had to step up in the big moments," Johnson said. "Cam stepped up big, and I had to shoot with confidence and make my shots. We needed this win as a team."

South coach Michael McMeans smiled when he commented after the game how the game was won by a football player who  had been in the gym less than a week and a freshman.

Ben Diamond led South with 29 points, which ironically forced Boone to install a diamond trap late in the game to slow him down. Cole Layne had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Gannon Chase added another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

It offset a 30-point effort by Heglar, who made four shots behind the 3-point line — but missed a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer. Heglar also had nine rebounds and three blocks, while Cade Norris finished with 13 points and Jared Adkins ended with 11.

Boone coach Chris Brown didn't call a timeout when the 'Blazers got down big. It was a test of his team's mettle.

"I wanted to see what they were made of from a toughness standpoint," Brown said. "I don't think we responded early, but I was pleased once we got down. I wanted to see how my team was going to handle adversity. They did a good job, showing that fight. You've got to compete. I can live with some bad shots, some defensive breakdowns, but first and foremost, you have to compete and we showed that tonight."

Boone took a 16-12 at the end of one quarter as Adkins hit a shot at the buzzer. The Rebels fought back to tie at 16 and after battling back and forth took a 29-27 lead into the half.

It was all South in the third quarter, racing out to a 56-38 lead heading into the final period.

McMeans didn't like seeing his team lose the lead in the fourth quarter, but he definitely was pleased with the end result.

"We kept preaching that somebody had to step up and make a play," McMeans said. "We had five or six step up tonight. Ben Diamond was great, and Gannon, Cole …. then Necessary comes in after three days of practice and gets a huge bucket at the end of overtime. Then Cooper comes in and seals it in overtime. What huge plays for a freshman. That was good for us for a first game."


Daniel Boone 43, Sullivan South 33

Leading 33-31 in the fourth quarter, the Lady 'Blazers reeled off 10 straight points to defeat the Lady Rebels in the head coaching debut of former South boys star Beau Hauldren.

Bayleigh Carmichel led Daniel Boone with 15 points and Jaycie Jenkins finished with 10. Kayla Gibson added seven.

The Lady 'Blazers led 10-7 at the end of one quarter and pushed the lead out to 22-15 at the half with a 3-point shot by Gibson at the buzzer.

"That shot at the buzzer by Kayla Gibson was huge, probably the difference in the game," Hauldren said. "We hit three 3-pointers in a short period, so that was a big run for us. It was fun to be back here and I thought our girls played hard defensively. I've just got to put us in better spots offensively. We'll get better as the year goes on with that."

South, which had Terry Hutson making his head coaching debut, hung tough. The Rebels were down 33-29 after three quarters and cut the lead to just two before Boone pulled away.

Mollie Leslie had 13 points to lead the Lady Rebels, who got seven points apiece from Carissa Comsa and Nicole Troutman.



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