Daniel Boone had to work overtime to win at David Crockett last month but beating the Pioneers in the rematch was a slam dunk for Jamar Livingston and the Trailblazers on Friday night at Freedom Hall.
Livingston scored 29 points, handed out nine assists and slammed three dunks to help celebrate Boone’s Senior Night with a 74-48 Big Five Conference victory.
“It was actually really fun playing on this court,” Livingston said. “When I was a younger kid, I’d go watch the old ETSU people and just wanted to be out here playing.”
Boone made eight 3-pointers, including four from Tim McGonigle, who finished with 16 points. Landon Kirkpatrick (nine points), Griffin Erickson (eight) and Henry Hamlin (seven) helped give Boone a more balanced attack, relatively speaking.
“The ball was moving,” said Boone coach Chris Brown, whose ‘Blazers improved to 3-5 in the league and 10-16 overall. “Jamar has nine assists. Look you can give it up and get it back – you’re still gonna get it back – and he’s starting to do that.
“Tim hit some big shots. Landon Kirkpatrick made a three.”
Livingston set the tone, of course. He scored all nine points during a game-opening 9-2 run and began distributing when the traps and face-guarding defenses began to accumulate.
He found Brayden Nickles in the right corner for a 3-pointer that beat the first quarter’s buzzer. And the rout was on.
Livingston said teammates shooting open shots with confidence has been a focal point.
“We know we can shoot the three, so why not let it fly,” Livingston said. “If you’re open, shoot it. I don’t care if you’re going 2-for-69, keep shooting the ball.”
Crockett’s 48 points was its lowest points total in a conference game this season. The Pioneers (4-3, 13-13) scored two points in the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the first half and two points in the initial 3 1/2 minutes of the second half.
“We focused coming in on the defensive end,” Brown said. “We thought if we could lock in defensively, we could do some things. We thought we could contain ‘em and I thought our defensive performance tonight was great.”
Crockett trailed by as much as 15 points in the first half but was within 11 at halftime. Boone, however, began the third quarter with a 14-2 out- burst which Livingston capped with a transition dunk that charged the large crowd – and gave Boone a staggering 47-24 lead.
“That was very embarrassing,” Pioneers coach Cody Connell said. “We couldn’t get anything going early and they couldn’t miss early – well, they couldn’t miss the whole ballgame. They had guys step up. ...
“Jamar’s a good player. When those other guys are making shots, they’re hard to beat. You can double him, and if he’s passing off and the other guys are making shots, you’ve gotta live with it. And that was kind of our game plan coming in – making someone else beat us.”