End of the road for Boone squads at regionals
By Christopher Shieldsnishes at the district tournament, both of the Daniel Boone High School basketball teams’ post-season runs came to an end in the Region 1-AAA quarterfinals Feb. 22-23.
The Lady Blazers were thwarted in Morristown by Morristown West, who defeated the Boone girls 51-38.
The Boone boys lost to Jefferson County on a last second shot, losing 52-50.
Slow start dooms Lady Blazers
On Feb. 18, the Lady Trailblazers completed their district tournament run by knocking off Volunteer 60-52 to capture third place at the Big 8 district tournament.
The win set up a region quarterfinals match against Morristown West on Feb. 22.
Playing on the road for the first time in two weeks, the Lady Blazers struggled out of the gate, relying on defense to stay in the game.
A first quarter tie at seven, gave way to West taking advantage in the second.
Boone was held to just three points in the quarter and the Lady Trojans took advantage, stretching their lead to 11 points by the half.
Boone’s offensive woes continued in the third quarter, as the Blazers failed to reach double figures for the third consecutive stanza.
Heading to the fourth, Boone trailed by 14 points.
Despite a spirited final quarter, where the Lady Blazers offense finally came alive and poured in 20 points, the effort wasn’t enough as Morristown West ended Boone’s season 51-38.
The Lady Blazers were led in scoring by Autumn Bradshaw, who finished with 13 points. She was the only Boone player to reach double figures.
Boone’s season came to a close with a record of 17-13.
Boone loses on final shot:
Other than perhaps Science Hill High School, the Trailblazers have been one of the area’s hottest teams over the past two months.
That trend continued for the senior-laden crew in the third place game at the district tournament against Sullivan South.
The Blazers outlasted the Rebels to capture third place in the district and set themselves up with a first round regional match against Jefferson County.
Entering the Feb. 23 contest at Jefferson County, the Blazers had been on the winning end of 16 of their past 20 games and appeared poised to knock off the Patriots.
However, Jefferson County seemed the superior team, opening the first quarter with a 13-4 advantage.
Boone turned up their intensity in the second quarter, cutting into the Patriot lead, only trailing 23-18 at the half.
The aggressive play continued in the third quarter as Boone pulled the game within one by the end of the quarter.
In the fourth, Boone appeared at times on the verge of pulling away. At one point, they had built a five-point advantage with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
It wouldn’t be enough.
Jefferson County connected on a clutch three-pointer to shrink the Boone lead to just two points with 1 minute remaining. Moments later, a Patriot layup knotted the contest at 50.
After another empty Boone possession, the Patriots capped off the improbable run as Brice Cusick launched a long jumper at the horn. The shot fell and the gym erupted in pandemonium.
For Boone, the season was over.
The Blazers were led in scoring by senior Ryan Gaitor, who finished with 16. Seniors Jacob Littleton and Jordan Stout also reached double-figures, scoring 12 and 10 points respectively.
Along with Gaitor, Littleton and Stout, the game marked the end of a career for three other Boone seniors — Adam Edwards, Josh Cox and Tyler Neal.
The Blazers finished the season with a 21-10 overall record.