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Crockett tops regular season with win

Crockett’s John Kollie battles Unicoi’s Brett Lingerfelt at the goal.

Above, Above right, Right, 

From STAFF REPORTS

The third match up this season between the David Crockett Pioneers (13-12, 6-6) and the Unicoi County High School Blue Devils (18-11, 10-2) was a three-point shootout.

The Pioneers previously beat the Blue Devils, 77-66, during the Hardee’s Classic in November 2017. UCHS defeated Crockett in Erwin, 71-64, in January. This time around, it was the Pioneers, led by head coach John Good, who came out on top, winning 70-60 at home on Thursday, Feb. 8. The teams combined to hit 23 three-pointers in the game (Crockett – 15, Unicoi County – 8).

It was Unicoi County that got off to the best start last week. On a three-pointer by Brett Lingerfelt and baskets by Trevor Hensley, Brett Strother and Gavin Casey, the Blue Devils took an early 9-4 lead.

Camara Bradley prepares to make a pass while defended by Unicoi’s Trevor Hensley.
Crockett’s Mchale Bright jumps to put some points on the board for the Pioneers against Unicoi’s Troy Podvin (32) and Trevor Hensley.

Crockett’s Jordan Hensley and Bryan Rodriquez then hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Pioneers a 10-9 lead. Following a three-point play by Blue Devil Troy Podvin, Pioneer Mchale Bright converted a basket and Camara Bradley hit a three-pointer for a 15-12 Crockett advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Four three-pointers in the first half of the second quarter – by Bright, Rodriquez, Tee Johnson and Hensley – lifted Crockett to a 29-20 lead over Unicoi County. However, a three-pointer by Podvin, one by Brock Thompson and a bucket by Danny Lowery contributed to a run by the Blue Devils to cut the Pioneers’ lead to five points, 33-28, at halftime.

Four consecutive points by Hensley brought the Blue Devils within one point, 33-32, in the first minute of the third quarter. Bright then converted two free throws and John Kollie scored to put Crockett up, 37-32. The Blue Devils answered with 5 unanswered points on a three-pointer by Podvin and a bucket by Hensley to tie the game, 37-37.

Just as they did throughout the game, the Pioneers found an answer beyond the arc – this time by Hensley. Podvin scored again for Unicoi County, then Bradley hit a three-pointer for a 43-39 Pioneer advantage.

Hensley and Prince Kollie hit another pair of three-pointers and Crockett led 49-45 with one minute to play in the third quarter. Unicoi County then took a 50-49 lead on a three-pointer by Podvin and a transition basket by Hensley.

Once again, the Pioneers responded. Hensley hit a three-pointer in front of his team’s bench as the buzzer sounded to give Crockett a 52-50 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.

Five points by Thompson and two by Podvin lifted Unicoi County to a 57-54 lead in the fourth quarter before Bradley’s three-pointer tied the game again with five minutes to play. Podvin then hit another three-pointer which gave the Blue Devils their final lead of the game.

Bright immediately responded with a three-pointer of his own, tying the game, 60-60. Bright’s jump shot moments later put his team in the lead for good. Crockett then converted 8-8 free throws in the final minutes to win the game, 70-60.

Crockett’s Bryan Rodriquez acts on defense.

Bradley and Bright each scored 16 points in the win for the Pioneers. J. Hensley scored 15 and Rodriquez scored 8.

Podvin had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Unicoi County. T. Hensley scored 15 points. Thompson scored 8.

***

The Pioneers were scheduled to open the District 1-AAA tournament, which will be played on their home floor, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, against Tennessee High after the press deadline for this issue. Crockett is the fourth seed in the tournament; Tennessee High is the fifth.

With a win on Tuesday, the Pioneers advanced to face the top-seeded Science Hill Hilltoppers on Friday, Feb. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals. A loss on Tuesday ended the season for David Crockett.

A win on Friday will send the Pioneers to the tournament’s championship game, which will be played on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. A loss on Friday will send the Pioneers to the consolation game to be played Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

On the other side of the bracket, sixth seed Cherokee played seventh seed Volunteer in the tournament’s play-in game on Monday. The winner of this game is scheduled to play third seed Daniel Boone on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. The winner of Wednesday’s game will play the second seed Dobyns-Bennett in the semifinal round on Friday at 8:30 p.m. The winner of this game advances to the championship and the loser goes to the consolation game.