By TREY WILLIAMS
The Daniel Boone boys and girls basketball teams clinched regional berths during the District 1-AAA tournaments, which was where the David Crockett teams’ seasons ended.
Boone’s boys secured their fourth straight regional appearance under coach Chris Brown with an 86-62 win against Cherokee on Thursday at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.
“As competitive as our league (Big Seven Conference) is, any time you earn a regional berth it’s an accomplishment,” Brown said. “Making it with a group of guys, many of which were playing their first significant varsity minutes this year, is a testament to our players and program. The guys have worked extremely hard, learned their roles and bought into the philosophy of what we expect.”
Judah Hilton scored 21 points and Chad Heglar and Marshall Golden scored 20 apiece against Cherokee. Golden made six of Boone’s eight 3-pointers and Hilton accounted for the other two. Heglar and Hilton each tallied five assists.
“The unselfishness was evident in that win versus Cherokee,” Brown said. “We had 20 assists and had three players score 20-plus points. Ball movement and body movement were efficient and we got positive contributions from a bunch of guys.
“Chad had nine rebounds and five assists to go with his 20. Marshall Golden hit six 3-pointers and Judah Hilton was attacking the rim. Derek Percell continued to give us solid minutes running the point and Cade Norris continues to make plays and get better each time he’s on the floor.”
Boone lost in the semifinals to top-seeded Dobyns-Bennett on Saturday, and must travel to Sevier County or Morristown East this coming Saturday for its first round matchup in the Region 1-AAA tournament.
“We know the road gets tougher,” Brown said. “But we look forward to the challenge ahead as I’m extremely proud of this group.”
The Lady Trailblazers (22-10) finished third in the district tournament. They beat Tennessee High 46-23 on Wednesday to clinch the regional berth before losing 62-58 in an impressive semifinal showing against Science Hill, which went on to win the championship handily against Dobyns-Bennett.
Daniel Boone defeated Cherokee, 56-49, in the third-place game Monday. It will visit Morristown West on Friday at 7 p.m.
Boone’s lackluster showing against Cherokee was understandable. The ‘Blazers, who had won the past two district tournaments, had the ball trailing by two points in the closing seconds but couldn’t score when it most mattered against Science Hill.
“We played so hard and battled,” said Boone coach Beau Hauldren. “Science Hill just won a good game.”
Madi Runnels scored a team-high 18 points against the Hilltoppers. Bayleigh Carmichel and Jaycie Jenkins added 17 and 10, respectively.
The David Crockett boys ended the season with an 8-20 record after a 70-46 district tournament loss at Science Hill on Thursday.
Junior guard Eric Dunbar scored seven of his 12 points in a 1:43 stretch early in the third quarter to help the Pioneers get within eight points twice. But the ‘Toppers wrapped up the third quarter – and essentially the game – on an 11-0 run to take a 53-32 lead.
Junior Donta Hackler scored a team-high 14 points for the Pioneers, who lose seniors John Kollie, Mark Seidler and Atley Scott.
“I’ve known John and Mark since I was in the fifth grade,” said Hackler, who also played football with Kollie and Seidler. “It’s gonna suck without them being out there on the field and on the court, but we’ve gotta move on.”
Good’s sixth year at Crockett produced his most inexperienced roster and his most challenging campaign.
“We started the year with a bunch of kids that’d never scored a high school point, never had a high school rebound or never made an assist,” Good said. “And they came to practice and they competed and they were fun to coach. But we had growing pains and that’s tough. Nobody wants to learn that way. But I thought each and every day they came to practice to (work). It just didn’t show on our record how they were committed to each other and everything.
“Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. That’s just the way it is.”
The Lady Pioneers’ season came to an end with a 42-37 loss at Cherokee in the first round of the district tournament. Sophomores Emma Gouge and MacKenzie Baldwin scored 11 and eight points, respectively.
Crockett won nine games in its first season under Tony Gordon. The four league wins doubled the combined total of the previous three seasons, and the nine victories were the most since 2014-15 when Marty Story advanced the Lady Pioneers to the region for the first time in 18 years thanks, in part, to Gordon’s daughter Kasey, who was a senior that season.
The boys tournament concludes Tuesday night.
2019 District 1-AAA All-Tournament girls team:
MVP – Alasia Smith (Science Hill)
Jeila Greenlee (Science Hill)
Symantha Fugate (Science Hill)
Yana Hill (Science Hill)
Courtney Whitson (Dobyns-Bennett)
Ta-Tianna White (Dobyns-Bennett)
Jaden Potts (Dobyns-Bennett)
Jaycie Jenkins (Daniel Boone)
Bayleigh Carmichel (Daniel Boone)
Harper Russell (Cherokee).