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Basketball season returns for Crockett and Boone

David Crockett and Daniel Boone welcomed back basketball to the area last week as the winter sports season tipped off for local high schools.
Much like football, basketball returned for the Crockett boys’ program amid major offseason changes that included the departure of longtime head coach Richard Tarlton and the hiring of new coach and former Science Hill assistant, John Good.
For the Crockett girls’ program, Will Conley enters his second season as head coach. With a year under his belt, the Lady Pioneers are looking for improvement in year two.
The Lady Blazers head coach, Travis Mains, also enters his second season at the helm of Boone basketball, and the small-but-talented Blazers are expected to compete with the conference’s top teams.
With the influx of changes over the past couple of seasons for the Washington County basketball teams, the Boone boys’ team remains unaltered at the top, with longtime Head Coach Ryan Arnold leading the Blazers once again in 2013.
After losing top contributors Ryan Gaitor and Jake Littleton to graduation, Blazer basketball suffered another tough blow at the end of the football season two weeks ago when Ryan Keever was lost for the year, suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Despite the adversity, Arnold has built a career at Daniel Boone with teams that overachieve. Finishing in the top half of the conference will not be out of the question for the Blazers this season.
The regular season got under way last week for the local schools with several out-of-conference contests for the teams.
The Lady Pioneers opened their season with two home games, the first on Nov. 14 against Happy Valley. Crockett dropped the contest 78-61. The Lady Pioneers returned to play on Nov. 16 against Unaka, losing a heartbreaker, 63-62.
The Good era began for the Crockett boys on Nov. 14 against Cherokee with a tough defensive effort that put the Pioneers on top, 51-46.
The Lady Blazers opened their season on Nov. 15 with a 61-37 win over Cherokee and pushed their record to 2-0 a day later with a 58-48 win over Gate City.
The Boone boys opened play on Nov. 13 in Knoxville against one of the state’s best teams, Bearden, falling 80-57. Boone rebounded from the loss on Nov. 15 against Johnson County, pulling away for a decisive 97-65 win.
The basketball schedule will get into full swing this week with the Blazers and Lady Blazers traveling to Morristown West on Nov. 19 before opening conference play at Science Hill on Nov. 22.
The Pioneers and Lady Pioneers will play at Unicoi County on Nov. 19 before opening their conference schedule at Volunteer on Nov. 22.