By TREY WILLIAMS
Heated rivals David Crockett and Daniel Boone are always a marquee matchup, and the Pioneers’ Isaiah Lang stole the show in a 53-50 win on Friday at Daniel Boone.
Ayden Begley made 1 of 2 free throws with five-plus seconds remaining to push the lead to three. Boone rebounded the second one and called timeout with 4.4 seconds remaining.
“And Isaiah stole the pass and ran the clock out,” Crockett Coach Cody Connell said. “Isaiah had eight points in the fourth quarter and he had two or three and-ones. So he really turned it up in the fourth. Isaiah played really good, had a lot of big steals.”
Mason Britton piled up 20 points and 10 rebounds. Begley scored seven of his 11 points in the third quarter, which was critical after Crockett (3-3, 8-8) had squandered an early eight-point lead to fall behind by eight at intermission.
“Ayden played great in the third quarter,” Connell said. “I was really impressed with our guys, how they played and how they battled.”
Britton had another double-double by halftime the following night in a 75-56 win at Cherokee. Britton finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds and sat the fourth quarter after tallying 18 and 10, respectively, in the first half.
The 6-foot-4 senior averages 18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and he’s getting college interest, including Johnson University in Knoxville.
“He’s a great kid, works hard,” Connell said. “And he’s played three sports his whole career. When he actually focuses on one at the next level he’s gonna jump to a different level. He’s smart, coachable, a leader. He has so much upside. His shot’s incredible. He can guard one through five (in high school).”
Clint Pierce had 15 points against Cherokee. Begley finished with 13 points and six assists, and Lang scored 10 points. Begley is averaging around 16 points and five assists. Lang is averaging 10 points.
Crockett was scheduled to host Cherokee on Tuesday, and will host Volunteer on Friday. The Falcons are coached by former Pioneers coach Mike Poe.
Crockett won 64-56 at Volunteer on Dec. 11.
“Winning down there was big,” Connell said. “They’re good. Every one of them can shoot the three. They’ve got a lot of ball-handlers. They’re smart and they battle hard. It’s gonna be a tough matchup.”
The Pioneers will visit Elizabethton on Saturday and go to Unicoi County on Monday.
Boone (0-5, 7-8) got 14 points from Breiydon Gilliam and 11 from Caleb Head.
The David Crockett girls defeated Boone, 46-30, to improve to 4-2 in the Big Seven Conference while beating the Trailblazers for the first time since Dec. 5, 2014.
Mackenzie Baldwin and Emma Gouge scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Crockett created 22 turnovers. The Pioneers tallied 11 steals, including three from Gouge, who also had 11 rebounds. Baldwin had seven rebounds.
“It was great to get the win,” Crockett first-year coach Thomas Gouge said. “First time anyone in our program had beaten Boone in six or seven years. We did a great job defensively and on the boards, and that was the difference, along with forcing 22 turnovers. I think we held them to 18 points through three quarters and built around a 25-point lead late in the game.
“I’m so proud of these girls. They have fought through so much adversity in their high school basketball careers and continued to work so hard. They’re finally starting to believe they can go out and beat anybody when they execute the game plan and defend at a high level.”
Gouge is averaging 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Baldwin is averaging 10.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. Halle Scott is averaging 6.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals.
Crockett will try to avenge a 48-44 road loss last month when it hosts Volunteer on Friday.