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Fast start propels Crockett to win over Elizabethton

Tanner Cook • Updated Jan 27, 2020 at 9:29 PM

A fast start was all that the David Crockett boys basketball team needed in Monday night’s home non-conference win over Elizabethton.

The Pioneers (15-8) started off the game on fire, scoring the first 15 points of the game in a 65-44 victory. They held Elizabethton’s Nico Ashley in check as the Cyclones star missed his first five shots.

Crockett’s Mack Hensley finished with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Donta Hackler and Dawson Wagner each scored 11.

Ashley finally got Elizabethton on the board with an up-and-under layup with 1:51 left in the first quarter. He led Elizabethton with 14 points.

Monday’s game started with a 24-second moment of silence before the national anthem to honor the life of Los Angeles Lakers all-time great Kobe Bryant.

Two No. 24 jerseys hung in front of the scorers table for the whole game. Pioneers head coach Cody Connell even wore a No. 24 jersey while patrolling the sidelines.

“We came out really well and that went a long ways in helping us win the game,” Connell said. “I’ve been challenging my guys to win that first three minutes of the game and of the third quarter and I thought they did that pretty well tonight. … As many people have posted in the last couple of days about how good (Bryant) was as a basketball player, he had a huge impact on everyone that wasn’t associated with basketball. He was a great father and a role model. Basketball lost a legend for sure, but the thing that I tried to tell my guys is that you never know what is going to happen.”

Elizabethton got as close as 29-20 midway through the second quarter, but Crockett was able to push the lead back out with a quick five-point spurt.

The Cyclones were without point guard Parker Hughes on the evening due to illness, so sophomore Bryce VanHuss filled in. He did not score, but he helped the offense get in a bit of a flow when he was out there, according to Elizabethton coach Lucas Honeycutt.

“A 15-0 run is not the way we wanted to start and it takes you out of the rest of the game,” Honeycutt said. “It makes it tough for the other team when you have a big cushion like that. I thought our guys did not respond at all and I called I don’t know how many timeouts in that span to try to get things going in the right direction. … (Bryce) did a good job when he came in and moved the ball pretty well. Point guards are essential to our team and when you have one, you know it. When you don’t have one, you also know it and that’s something we’ll have to explore.”

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