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Crockett, Boone meet in finale of Hardee’s Classic

For the Daniel Boone Trailblazers and David Crockett Pioneers, the holidays brought about more than just turkey and shopping. The Thanksgiving break also marked the annual boy’s basketball Hardees Classic.
For everyone in attendance at the final game of the tournament, Christmas came early as Boone and Crockett met in an intense game from beginning to end, with Crockett eventually propelling over their rival in overtime by a score of 71-67.
Prior to tournament play, Crockett Coach Richard Tarlton said of the eight-team field that any team could win. As it panned out, Crockett was that team.
After the first two rounds, the championship was set, displaying the tournament’s two biggest rivals, matching Tarlton’s Pioneers against their Washington County neighbor Daniel Boone.
Crockett opened tournament play on Nov. 23 against Elizabethton.
Despite seeing their 7-foot go-to-guy Zach Garland draw his second foul early in the contest and make his way to the bench, the Pioneers maintained an advantage.
Crockett was led by sharpshooter Sam Tarlton, who knocked down four 3-pointers leading all scorers with 21 points and helping the Pioneers maintain a 37-24 lead heading to halftime.
After pushing their lead to 15 points in the third quarter, Garland picked up his third foul, opening up the paint for Elizabethton.
“With Zach out, I told our post players that if we can’t hold them out then we would have to front them,” Coach Tarlton said. “We weren’t able to do that.”
Without a big body inside, Crockett watched a 15-point lead diminish to just one point as the third quarter ended.
To start the fourth Garland was back in the game, helping the Pioneers score on four straight possessions and shutting down the inside on the defensive end.
The Pioneers would hold on for the win 63-56.
Garland and Ty Shipley both added 10 points in the Pioneers win.
“We have to keep big Zach out of foul trouble,” Coach Tarlton said after the game. “He struggled to get into the flow of the game and tonight he just didn’t have it. But we live to play another day.”
Crockett met defending Hardees Classic champion Sullivan East on Friday night in the semifinals after the Patriots defeated Unaka 63-35 in the opening round.
With Garland on his game, the Pioneers roared to a 56-46 win, clinching a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
With the inside sealed off for most of the contest, Sullivan East was forced to take 27 attempts behind the arc, converting just nine of them.
Garland led the Pioneers with 15 points and Shipley added 14. Sam Tarlton and Anthony Campbell both contributed eight points while Austin Street finished with seven.
Boone played the final game of the opening round on Tuesday night of the Hardees Classic against Cherokee. The Blazers were decisive in their 79-62 win.
Both teams began the game at a run, scoring quickly and using fast breaks as their major offensive scheme. As the first quarter ended, the Blazers had already racked up 23 points, leading Cherokee by six.
Boone matched that point production in the second quarter, but maintained better defense to build a 46-26 lead at the half.
Boone would turn on cruise control in the second half, making a statement with the win.
Hayden Chandley led the Blazers offensively with 23 points, converting six of those behind the arc. Kevin Connell was a bull inside, adding 21 points. Austin Reppart finished with 15.
Boone advanced to play Unicoi County in the second round, where the Blazers struggled, at times trailing by double-digits.
The poise and experience of the mostly senior lineup helped Boone fight back and regain the lead.
Boone looked during parts of the contest like a team who hadn’t yet got their basketball legs under them, but was able to squeak out a win due to a huge third quarter, where Reppart nailed four 3-pointers on route to a 71-67 win.
Reppart led scoring for Boone with 17 points with Chandley and Ryan Gaitor adding 16 each.
Crockett wins Classic, Garland selected as MVP
After the championship game, everyone in attendance couldn’t help but admit that when Zach Garland is on his game, there is little anyone else can do on the high school level to stop him.
The Crockett post led his team to an impressive victory over county rival Daniel Boone, winning 71-67.
Garland scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. He also brought the home crowd to their feet several times on momentum-changing dunks.
The first half previewed just what everyone expected in a matchup between rivals.
Boone’s Kevin Connell and Garland banged bodies inside, while Boone guards Ryan Gaitor and Travis Keever matched up against Crockett’s Joe Ganger and Sam Tarlton.
The game displayed a postseason feel with both teams showing intensity throughout and fans from both teams packing the gymnasium.
After the first quarter, the game was tied at 14. The second quarter exhibited much of the same feel as neither team could gain an advantage with both scoring 13 points, sending the game to the half at a 27-27 tie.
Boone gained the upper hand in the third when, down by one point, they went to the line after a Crockett foul.
After hitting one of two, Reppart retrieved the offensive rebound and fired a deep three, hitting the shot and giving Boone a 3-point advantage.
The Blazers forced a turnover on the other side and Hayden Chandley built the Boone lead to five on a layup.
After a timeout, it was Garland taking control with a big dunk to cut the Boone lead to three. Another Crockett layup near the end of the third quarter sent the game into the fourth with the Blazers leading, 43-42.
The final quarter of regular play was a battle of wills as an already exciting game picked up in intensity and pace.
A Chandley technical foul helped Crockett gain a five-point lead that didn’t look to be relinquished.
Tarlton was forced to leave the game after a collision, and Boone was able to utilize some fast break opportunities.
Up by five, with less than a minute to play, Crockett appeared to have it won, but a Boone foul against Ganger resulted in a retaliation from the Crockett guard, who picked up a technical in the process.
Ganger hit one of two at the line, followed up by Boone’s Taylor Johnson hitting both free throws to cut the lead to four points.
With 10 seconds left to play, Reppart knocked down a huge three pointer, cutting the Crockett lead to one.
Crockett was fouled on the inbound and hit one of two at the line.
With just a few ticks on the clock, Boone’s sensational sophomore Ryan Gaitor raced down the court hitting a layup to send the game to overtime at 59-59.
But Crockett wasn’t going to let this one slip away with Garland taking over on both sides of the ball.
A dunk put back by Crockett’s big post forced Boone to foul with the clock winding down.
Ganger did it from there, finishing with a good overtime, making up for his costly technical earlier.
Ganger finished with 19 points. Ty Shipley added 14 and Garland chipped in an 18 point effort to lead the Pioneers.
Gaitor led the Blazers with 19 points. Connell and Reppart each added 11.
Garland was named the tournament’s most valuable player with Sam Tarlton, Shipley and Ganger making the all-tournament team.
Boone’s Chandley, Connell and Reppart also were named to the team.