By TREY WILLIAMS
Thomas Gouge said he thought the David Crockett girls basketball team could potentially do some special things this season when he took the head coaching job last spring.
His instincts have proven to be correct.
The Pioneers snapped a 34-game losing streak to Dobyns-Bennett with a 46-44 victory on Tuesday, Jan. 5, in Jonesborough. Senior Emma Gouge scored 18 points, including an inside basket that gave Crockett a 46-42 lead with 15 seconds remaining, to lead it to its first victory in the series since December of 2005.
“I think that kind of proved, not only to us, but a lot of other people – we want to be one of the big dogs,” Emma Gouge said. “We want to be at top of the conference. We’ve worked really hard and it just seemed like maybe for the last year or year and a half, it just never really came together for us. I think this season is our chance to really make a lot out of something and I think we’re all really bought in and that win gave us a lot of confidence moving forward.
“D-B is an excellent team. I thoroughly enjoyed playing in the game even though they kept us on our toes. It was just a fun game to be in, one of those where you’ve just gotta keep driving and fighting because you know the other side’s not gonna give up.”
Thomas Gouge, like seemingly every coach around here, respects D-B Coach Bill Francis’ program.
“The win against D-B was huge for this program,” Thomas Gouge said. “They’re a great senior-led team and well-coached. We’ve let two or three games slip away from us this season. It was just a great feeling getting over the hump against one of the better programs in the area … we haven’t beat them since 2005.
“Now we just have to continue to get better daily with hard work and paying attention to details, not get too high with wins or too low with loses. Taking a new job in this year with really no offseason has been tough, so I’m still learning the girls and their trying to adapt to me.”
Post Nora Walters added eight points against the Indians while helping limit Jabrea Johnson to 10 points.
“That was her assignment for the game and she made it really hard to get the ball in,” Emma Gouge said. “And our guards, Halle Scott and Alyssa Suits, put a lot of pressure on the ball. I mean in the end when you take away their bread and butter and pass the ball inside, that was just an all-out team effort. … We definitely wouldn’t have won that game without those three.”
Crockett couldn’t sustain the mojo to beat Science Hill on Friday. The Big Seven Conference-leading Hilltoppers (3-0, 8-9) got 19 points from Jasmin Myers in a 56-41 win at Crockett (1-2, 5-5).
“We were elated to have won against D-B and we were ready for Science Hill,” Emma Gouge said. “I mean before the game I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, and I’m never like that. I was just so excited and wanted to play. And then it was like the game started and we were like, ‘They’re big, they’re long, they’re athletic.’ And we just kept throwing the ball to ‘em.”
Thomas Gouge wasn’t certain his team wasn’t emotionally hungover against the ‘Toppers.
“Their size and athleticism bothered us,” he said.
Mackenzie Baldwin led the Pioneers with 11 points.
The David Crockett boys bounced back from an 80-38 loss to Science Hill during a holiday tournament at Sevier County to make a respectable showing in a 59-47 loss to the Hilltoppers (5-0, 16-2) on Friday.
Crockett, which was within four points early in the fourth quarter, got 15 points from Mason Britton and 11 from Isaiah Lang.
Science Hill’s Kenyan Cutlip scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Britton is averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Pioneers (1-2, 6-8). Ayden Begley is averaging 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Daniel Boone suffered a heartbreaking 67-66 loss to Dobyns-Bennett in Bobby Snyder Gym on Thursday.
Samuel Stroupe was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 0.5 seconds left, and made the first two free throws before missing the one that would’ve forced overtime.
“I was happy with the way we played Thursday night against D-B,” Boone Coach Chris Brown said. “We challenged our guys to be physical defensively and on the glass and I thought we responded to that. It was a tight ball game throughout and unfortunately Dobyns-Bennett made a few more plays down the stretch than we did.”
Breiydon Gilliam led the Trailblazers with 18 points. Stroupe and Caleb Head added 17 and 16, respectively.
“Our guys are beginning to understand what makes us successful through the ebbs and flows of a game,” Brown said, “and players are beginning to embrace the roles we have defined for them.”
The Daniel Boone girls (0-5, 0-11) lost 56-32 to Dobyns-Bennett on Thursday at home.
Camryn Sarvis and Kyleigh Bacon scored 12 and eight points, respectively, for Boone, which is scheduled to host David Crockett on Friday.