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Boone moves on to face Science Hill, Crockett’s season over

On Saturday night, the David Crockett Pioneers and Daniel Boone Trailblazers once again shared the spotlight for Washington County.
For two teams often associated with each other, the opening round of the regional tournament marked the end of the postseason for one and a last shot at Science Hill for the other.
Boone was victorious in a 52-44 win at Cherokee, while Crockett fell against Morristown East, 58-44.
After meeting three times in the regular season and again in the district tournament, finding two teams that know one another as well as these two could be near impossible.
With both teams sharing so many similarities, one huge aspect set them apart. While the Pioneers entered their first regional tournament game in six years, the Blazers traveled to Cherokee as no stranger to postseason play.
A year ago, Boone advanced through the regionals to sub-state with almost the same starting lineup back for this season’s run.
“We’ll be lucky to do what we did last year,” Boone Coach Ryan Arnold said. “We got down to 16 teams in the state, to do that you have to have skill and a little luck.”
As the Blazers played in Rogersville against the district runner-up Saturday, the Pioneers met the 2AAA tournament winner Morristown East away from the confines of Jonesborough.
Crockett was tenacious on the defensive side of the ball to start the game, trailing 11-9 after the first eight minutes.
With Crockett’s seven-foot senior leader Zach Garland picking up fouls and held in check for most of the contest, Sam Tarlton stepped up, scoring a team high 15 points, nine of which came from behind the arc. Crockett trailed by only three points at the half.
Late in the third quarter and beginning the fourth, the Bulldog offense led by Casey Smith’s 27 points, began exploiting one of Crockett’s biggest weaknesses, their lack of depth. East turned a seven-point third quarter lead, into a fourth quarter rout, putting an end to one of the best seasons the Pioneers have had in years.
Tarlton was the only Crockett player to reach double-figures. The Pioneers finish the season with a 19-17 record.
Boone entered their contest against Cherokee with confidence on their side. The Blazers had already beaten the Chiefs 79-62 in the Hardees Classic at the season’s start.
“We are in the same position as we were last season,” Arnold said. “We have to take care of business and give ourselves a chance to win late in the game.”
The seasoned Blazers responded to their coach’s call, turning a game locked at 31 heading to the final quarter, into a 9-point victory.
The Blazers began the contest struggling on offense, scoring only nine first quarter points and allowing the Chiefs to grab a five point opening quarter lead.
The second quarter wasn’t any better for the shooters of Boone, but the Blazers made up for their lack of offense with a strong defensive approach.
Arnold has stressed all season that when the offensive- minded Blazers are missing shots, they must do other things to make up for it.
Boone held the Chiefs to only eight points in the second quarter, cutting their lead to four points at the half.
Boone continued their sound defense in the third, tying the game with eight minutes to play.
The offense finally appeared in the fourth, with the Blazers opening the quarter on a 13-4 run in the first three minutes. Cherokee wouldn’t go away, coming back with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the lead to just two points and force Arnold to take a timeout.
Boone responded with back-to-back buckets from Hayden Chandley and Austin Reppart pushing the Blazer lead back to six points. Boone finished the game from the free throw stripe, connecting on all but one attempt.
Two seniors led the Blazers on offense, Reppart scored 18 points and Chandley added 10. Travis Keever and Ryan Gaitor finished with 10 and nine points respectively.
Boone will meet the region’s top team Science Hill in Johnson City on Tuesday, March 1. The Blazers have lost to the Hilltoppers in two earlier games this season.
“The second round moves back to Science Hill,” Arnold said. “We have been in this situation before and I definitely feel like we are capable of winning.”