By TREY WILLIAMS
There was no drama in the girls’ game and Jared Lawson took center stage in the marquee matchup as Daniel Boone’s basketball teams swept David Crockett on Friday at Snyder Gym. Carson-Newman signee Sydney Pearce, a 6-foot-4 senior, scored 14 points while junior wing Bayleigh Carmichel and sophomore forward Jaycee Jenkins each scored 12 in the Lady Trailblazers’ 77-36 victory.
Senior Jared Lawson, a 6-foot-3 transfer from Volunteer, scored 12 of his 22 points while Boone outscored Crockett 19-11 in the third quarter and the ‘Blazers held on for a 59-54 victory.
The Lady ‘Blazers (4-0, 15-4) were business-like in their first game in a week due to postponements. Pearce scored eight points during an 18-2 Boone run in the second quarter that gave coach Travis Mains’ talented, veteran squad a 43-11 halftime lead.
Being a prohibitive favorite didn’t keep the Lady ‘Blazers from playing with passion against their Washington County neighbors. Simply seeing the Crockett colors can ward off any shot at complacency.
“It’s always fun, you know, just beating a rival,” Pearce said. “I like playing in these games.”
Belmont signee Macie Culbertson’s eight-point performance put her 38 points shy of 1,000 for her career. Culbertson missed her freshman season with a knee injury.
Emily Sizemore also scored eight points. She hit two 3-pointers, as did Carmichel, Bailee Dye and Jordyn Keefauver.
“We executed really well offensively,” Mains said. “We shot the ball well, which they’ve done that all year long. … We’ve got a good team and they’re very unselfish kids. It’s fun to coach ‘em.”
Freshman Emma Gouge led Crockett with 17 points. She scores confidently in a number of ways.
“She stands out,” Pearce said. “She’s gonna be a great player.”
Senior left-handed point guard Kassie Lowe scored 12 points for Crockett (0-6, 6-14). Nine of those came from 3-point range.
Due to a postponement, the Lady Trailblazers will play at Science Hill on Friday and host Science Hill on Monday in showdowns for first place in the Big Seven Conference.
The Daniel Boone boys’ back-to-back games with the Hilltoppers should also prove meaningful in the league race.
Coach Chris Brown’s Trailblazers (2-2, 10-8) overcame a spirited defensive effort to defeat David Crockett (3-3, 10-10) for the second time in three meetings this season.
Long-armed and athletic, the versatile Lawson was the difference. He scored in a variety of ways in the third quarter alone.
“We told him he’s gotta go to the basket, he’s gotta be aggressive,” Brown said. “I thought he changed the ballgame.”
Lawson scored in transition, made perimeter jump-shots and driving leaners.
“He’s very athletic,” Crockett coach John Good said, “and coach (Brown) puts him in good positions to score.”
Boone’s Big Three – Lawson, senior 6-foot-1 guard Eric “Doc” Rigsby and junior 6-foot-2 wing Chad Heglar – put significant pressure on defenses. All three are threats from the perimeter as well as with their driving ability. Rigsby scored 13 points and Heglar added 12.
“They (the Trailblazers) are better than we are,” Good said. “They’ve got guys that can put it in the basket and they know who that is and they finish.”
Heglar and Rigsby each made a pair of 3-pointers, and Lawson made Boone’s other one from behind the arc.
“When you’ve got those three guys, at any point one of them can get going,” Brown said. “And they look for each other, which is the good thing. And they’re unselfish.”
David Crockett sophomore McHale Bright, who ended Boone’s season in the regional semifinals last season with a last-second put-back, scored 22 points for the Pioneers (3-3, 10-10). Senior point guard Tee Johnson made three treys en route to 13 points.
John Kollie and Prince Kollie each scored five points for Crockett. Prince made a transition runner look easy to cut Boone’s lead to 46-41 with 4:32 remaining. John made an impressive deflection and then saved the ball while going out of bounds under Crockett’s basket to assist a Johnson basket that got the Pioneers within 51-43 with 2:53 left.
Crockett is scheduled to host Volunteer on Wednesday before paying respective visits to Dobyns-Bennett and Unicoi County on Friday and Saturday.