By TREY WILLIAMS
Daniel Boone senior Chad Heglar won an improbable Musket duel, but upstart Mack Hensley and his David Crockett teammates won the war.
Hensley, a junior wing, fired in a career-high 32 points to help offset a 35-point performance from Heglar in the Pioneers’ 69-60 victory Friday at Snyder Gym.
It was the Big Seven Conference opener for Crockett (3-3) and Boone (4-3).
Daniel Boone won the girls’ game 73-38 thanks, in part, to a stat-sheet stuffing performance from junior Jaycie Jenkins.
Hensley’s breakout game was timely. Crockett was playing for the first time since senior John Kollie, junior Donta Hackler and sophomore Prince Kollie – all key contributors – left the team for what is expected to be the remainder of the season.
“After they left we really stepped up in practice the past two days, because everybody’s been doubting us since then,” said Hensley, who was excited to help propel the Pioneers to victory against their archival. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
Hensley made five 3-pointers and 7 of 9 free throws. Judah Hilton’s driving scoop had given Boone a 50-45 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Hensley answered with a pull-up 25-footer from the right wing with 6:58 to go.
The long trey ignited a decisive 18-7 run that Hensley completed with a leaning mid-range bank that he created with a shot fake. Hensley made 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“The only thing he needs is confidence,” Crockett coach John Good said.
“He can put it in. He can shoot it from deep. He can drive it. And he showed it tonight.”
Hensley scored the game’s first points on a drive and hit his first 3-pointer via an assist from Eric Dunbar with 6:11 left in the first quarter. He added two foul shots after hustling for an offensive rebound some three minutes later.
“This morning Coach Good just told me to be in attack mode and show ‘em I’m the better player,” Hensley said. “I took it to heart and came out aggressive.”
Dunbar was an effective penetrator, and freshman Dawson Wagner was the most entertaining player on the floor in stretches.
“Eric Dunbar and Dawson Wagner – they drove and found me when I was open,” Hensley said. “I just knocked down the shots.”
Wagner’s snazzy ball-handling and daring drives helped him tally 14 points and a couple of key assists.
“I thought the freshman was phenomenal,” Trailblazers coach Chris Brown said. “We couldn’t keep him out of the paint.
“That’s a credit to him. I thought he played a whale of a game. The same with four (Hensley). They made plays.”
The 6-foot-4 Heglar made three 3-pointers and grabbed a game-high five steals, one of which led to one of his two dunks in a 14-second span late in the first quarter. The other dunk came when he made a backdoor cut along the baseline for a bounce-pass from Zac Saul.
“Coach Brown is always gonna have his team ready to go and then you’ve got Chad – and he can go big,” Good said. “It’s hard to guard him.”
The victory capped an emotional week for Good, who said he cares deeply for the departed trio of players.
“We wish them the best,” Good said.
“This is our team now, and they bonded and they played together. They work hard all the time and it paid off.”
Jaycie Jenkins’ work paid dividends in seemingly every category in the Trailblazers’ rout. She finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and eight steals.
Senior wing Bayleigh Carmichel added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists for Boone (1-0, 7-1). “We’ve got a lot of players playing right now that have not played a lot,” Boone first-year coach Beau Hauldren said.
“Bayleigh and Jaycie have played a lot. Until we can catch these other girls up, Bayleigh and Jaycie are gonna have to carry us, and they’ve been doing that. They’ve done an outstanding job and have been great leaders for us.”
Sophomore guard McKenna Dietz added 13 points for the ‘Blazers.
“They were excited, obviously, to play Crockett,” Hauldren said. “It’s a rivalry. It was our first home game of the season. It’s the first conference game. They were jacked up. …
“Some of it’s not always pretty, but we always play hard. I think we’ve played hard for eight games. I can’t coach that. That’s their motors, and I’m glad they play for Daniel Boone.”
Sophomore Emma Gouge led David Crockett (1-4) with nine points.
Daniel Boone’s boys and girls teams will host Morristown West on Saturday. Crockett hosts Dobyns-Bennett on Friday.