By Trey Williams
The Daniel Boone boys basketball team appears to be peaking at the right time.
The Trailblazers got 25 points and nine rebounds from 6-foot-4 senior wing Chad Heglar and what coach Chris Brown regarded as a career game from senior point guard Derek Percell in a 62-54 win against Science Hill on Friday at Bobby Snyder Gym.
Emory & Henry College was in attendance to watch Heglar, who also has interest from Milligan College, Montreat and Berea. He didn’t disappoint, making three of Boone’s four 3-pointers and going 13-for-15 at the foul line.
“This helps us a lot, because we know we’re one of the upper teams in this conference and this puts us in third place,” Heglar said. “So this makes us feel good about going into the district. It raises our confidence when we beat this team, because we know it’s always gonna be a battle.”
Heglar plays with a lot of confidence and isn’t opposed to verbal gamesmanship, and his swagger can be infectious.
“When Chad goes, we go,” Percell said. “He likes to get in people’s heads, but it gets him going and it gets us going. We feed off of him.”
Boone coach Chris Brown was happy to be home after a taxing six-game road swing.
“We were dialed in,” Brown said. “We have been playing better and I think that we are gaining confidence. That six-game road trip had some tough games. You’re at Mo (Morristown) East, you’re at Tennessee High and you’re at Gate City.
“I think the Crockett win on the road was huge. We battled Gate City on a back-to-back Saturday night. Had a five-point lead there and battled and things didn’t go our way toward the end.”
Key contributors against Science Hill included Judah Hilton (eight points, five rebounds) and sophomore forward Cade Norris, the latter of whom scored 11 points on 3-for-4 field goal shooting and 5-for-6 foul shooting.
The victory moved Boone (5-4, 10-10) into a third-place tie with the Hilltoppers, who had beaten the Trailblazers by seven points in the teams’ previous meeting in December.
“They got us by seven at their place and we knew we had to come back and fight hard to get this win,” Percell said. “We had the crowd behind us tonight and it was a whole-team effort.”
Percell delivered some flashy finishes and crowd-pleasing assists. The ball-handling whiz scored eight points and led the ‘Blazers with three assists and three steals. He didn’t commit a turnover.
“I thought this was Derek’s best high school basketball game in his career,” Brown said. “Him and Judah, you know, to see their development – those guys have been in the program – as a coach, those are things you love to see with guys that just hang in there till they get their opportunity and take advantage of their opportunity and make plays, and both of those guys did that tonight.”
Boone will visit Big Seven Conference-leading Dobyns-Bennett on Friday.
The Lady ‘Blazers made it interesting late before falling 54-49 to Science Hill. Bayleigh Carmichel scored 20 points and Madi Runnels added 15.
Boone (5-3, 18-8) trailed 53-39 after Daniel Boone transfer Symantha Fugate made a put-back with 2:07 remaining for the Hilltoppers (8-1, 21-3).
But Boone rallied and could’ve cut it to 54-52 with nine seconds left if Kayla Gibson’s pull-up 3-pointer from the left wing had dropped after she grabbed a steal near mid-court.
“We were able to cut it there to five,” Boone coach Beau Hauldren said. “I think that’s gonna help us in the long run as far as end-of-game situations like that and doing certain things when we’re supposed to do it. … I don’t think we played our best, but I thought we played hard.
“Madi played well. She kept us in it in the first half. She was able to get to the basket, had some steals, made some layups. And, of course, Bayleigh ends up getting 20 points for us while getting a lot of attention. She got a lot of those at the free throw line. She did well attacking.”
David Crockett’s boys (3-6, 6-16) won at home against Volunteer (68-54) and lost at Dobyns-Bennett (84-52) last week. Mack Hensley scored 20 points and freshman point guard Dawson Wagner added 13 in the win against Volunteer, which hired David Crockett Hall of Fame coach Mike Poe prior to this season. Poe took Crockett to its first sectional game in 1990.
The Crockett girls also split games with Volunteer and D-B, defeating the Falcons, 54-48, in Jonesborough before falling 67-23 on Friday in Kingsport. Emma Gouge and Emily Trivette scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, in the win against Volunteer.
David Crockett is scheduled to visit Science Hill on Friday.