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Boone, Crockett rivalry highlight of week

Prior to their Jan. 8 meeting, the boys of Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools were tied in the Big 8 Conference, each team holding a 2-3 record.
A week later and the Blazers (13-6, 4-3) hold a two-game lead over the Pioneers (7-12, 2-5), an advantage spurred on by a 68-59 Boone win against the Pioneers on Jan. 8.
Defense was pivotal in the first quarter as each team struggled to put points on the scoreboard.
After the first 8 minutes, Crockett held a 10-7 advantage.
Scoring picked up in the second, with a back-and-forth bout more reflective of past contests between the two rivals.
Heading to halftime, Crockett maintained a 27-22 lead over Boone, appearing on the verge of denying the Blazers their seventh win in the past eight matchups.
At the start of the third quarter, the Blazers quickly took control of the tempo and the game.
After finding himself in foul trouble much of the first half, senior guard Ryan Gaitor battled through the second half as the most instrumental part of the Boone attack, providing the spark for his team. He finished with 28 points.
The Blazers erased the halftime deficit by the end of the third quarter, outscoring the Pioneers 28-20 and grabbing a three-point lead.
Despite adding to their lead in the fourth quarter, Boone only maintained a five-point advantage with under a minute remaining.
The Trailblazers used free throws to finally thwart the Pioneers, 68-59.
Crockett was led in scoring by Tyler Page, who finished with 14 points. Heath Ricker and Noah Leonard added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
While Gaitor stole the show for the Blazers, Aaron Shelton and Dillon Reppart were the next biggest contributors with 14 and 12 points respectively.
The Pioneers and Blazers capped off the week’s action on Jan. 11.
Crockett continued their tough stretch of losses with a 92-35 loss in Jonesborough against Science Hill High School. Josh Saults led the Pioneers with eight points.
Boone returned to Gray to win their eighth contest in nine attempts by defeating Sullivan Central 73-47.
Gaitor once again was tremendous, leading all scorers with 22 points.
Boone shot over 50 percent from the field and forced 23 turnovers in the win.
The Pioneers begin the second half of the conference schedule on Jan. 15 against Dobyns-Bennett. Boone will open their second half schedule on Jan. 15 against Tennessee High.