Resiliency defines Pioneers as more losses pile up
By Chris Shields
For the Pioneers, the manner in which both teams responded after such large losses — the Lady Pioneers lost 104-10, the boys contest was 103-32 — speaks more positively about the team’s character than anything else.
Crockett used a big second quarter to propel themselves over Sullivan Central on Jan. 29 in a 75-61 victory.
The Pioneers opened the contest on their home floor with a fast paced first quarter, but trailed by two points after the first 8 minutes.
The second quarter would be a different story. The Pioneers turned the two-point deficit into a seven-point advantage by the half.
Isaac Mango put together a stellar performance for the Pioneers, scoring 20 points and recording eight rebounds.
The Pioneers continued their dominance in the third quarter, eventually stretching their lead to 18.
While Central found its offense in the fourth, scoring 29 points, the Pioneers matched the effort, putting up 25 points in the quarter to secure the win.
Along with Mango, four Pioneers reached double-figures in scoring. Heath Ricker finished with 13, Isaac Barkley added 12 and Tyler Page chipped in for 10.
The Lady Pioneers preceded the boys’ contest and, despite a strong effort, fell to the Lady Cougars 50-38.
On Feb. 1, the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers traveled to Johnson City for a meeting with the first place Hilltoppers.
After two 32-minute contests, the Pioneers returned to Jonesborough with a combined loss of 207-42.
While arguments of class or the lack thereof often ensue after such great margins of defeat, the Pioneers didn’t have time for any of that.
Due to weather postponements, the Crockett squads had to mentally prepare for their contests the following day against Sullivan South.
And when game time rolled around on Feb. 2, in typical Pioneer fashion, Crockett was ready to play and play hard.
In the girls’ contest, the Lady Pioneers opened with a sluggish first quarter performance, falling behind 17-6.
Showing great resolve, the Lady Pioneers came out attacking in the second, cutting the 11-point deficit to just seven by the half.
While South subdued the hard fighting Pioneers in the second quarter to capture a 66-47 victory, Crockett’s determination to win the contest never subsided.
Chelsea Lyninger led the Pioneers with 12 points and Madison Grindstaff added nine.
In the boys’ contest, despite the Pioneers meeting a Sullivan South team that had knocked off the conference’s second-ranked Indians of Dobyns-Bennett High School a night before, Crockett gave the Rebels everything they could handle.
The Pioneers fell behind by eight to open the contest, but eventually caught and surpassed South midway through the third quarter at 36-34.
While the effort was there for Crockett, the shots stopped falling and South took advantage.
The Rebels outscored the Pioneers 23-8 over the final 8 minutes to win 64-43.
Crockett was led in scoring by Mango, who netted 16 points.
The Pioneers will continue to fight for wins in Gray against county rival Daniel Boone High School on Feb. 5