By TREY WILLIAMS
Basketball coaches knew playing during the coronavirus pandemic would present challenges that would make them want to receive a technical foul from fate.
The Daniel Boone boys team and the Boone and David Crockett girls teams have each already had to take time off for quarantine.
The Boone boys were the latest to do so with an announced temporary shutdown on Monday. The ‘Blazers were already without coach Chris Brown and point guard Caleb Head due to COVID-19 exposure.
“We knew coming into the season the possibility of some adversity existed because of the virus,” Brown said. “We were quarantined as a team for 10 days leading up to the first day of practice and that was a challenge to initially get everyone back into shape and ready to go. We are now faced with it again but continue to prepare and move forward as best we can.
“It is a unique year in the fact a player or a coach may be here one day and gone (due to COVID-19 quarantines) the next as we have recently seen. I have been out the past two games. Our JV coach, Jordan Stout, has been out. Caleb Head, our point guard, was declared out three hours prior to tip off on Friday (at home against Cherokee). So the uncertainty day to day is real.”
Boone lost 61-58 to Cherokee on Friday despite 26 points from Cherokee transfer Breiydon Gilliam. Justin Humphries is the interim head coach, and didn’t know he’d be without his point guard until a few hours before the game started.
Still, Boone managed to build a 13-point lead in the third quarter.
“Not having his ball-handling definitely affected us a little bit,” Humphries said. “But still, that’s no excuse. We had every opportunity to win. We’re up eight and miss four straight free throws.”
Brown has been pleased with the coaching staff’s work during his absence.
“My coaching staff has been great with Justin Humphries, Ethan Good and Nathaniel Patterson stepping up and running practices and handling games,” Brown said.
“We will continue to work hard and hopefully we can get some consistency moving forward so that we are peaking during the meat of the conference schedule.”
Gilliam is leading Boone (0-2, 5-4) in scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounds (8.2 rpg). Head is leading in assists (4.8) and steals (1.7). Nevada Goodwin is averaging 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. Senior Samuel Stroupe has made a team-high 13 3-pointers.
David Crockett coach Cody Connell had a noteworthy week, recording wins against the only two coaches to take Crockett to sectionals – John Good and Mike Poe.
The Pioneers (1-0, 5-1) defeated Good and Unicoi County, 64-60, on Monday at home and outlasted Poe’s Volunteer Falcons, 64-56, on Friday in Church Hill.
Mason Britton, a 6-foot-4 senior wing, scored 25 at Volunteer after tallying 24 against Unicoi County. Britton is averaging 22 points and nine rebounds.
Senior guard Ayden Begley had 12 points against the Falcons. He’s averaging 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“We played great team basketball on Friday,” Connell said. “We made the extra passes and played great defense. Any time you limit them to three ‘threes’ you have played great.
“I thought we did the little things and that was the key to the game.”
The Daniel Boone girls (0-2, 0-6) lost 46-29 to Cherokee on Friday. Josie Jenkins scored a team-high six points for the Trailblazers, whose schedule reveals the wear of the pandemic.
Boone is scheduled to play Cherokee again on Friday. It also appears Boone will play Science Hill on Dec. 23 and Dec. 29 and Jan. 5. The middle date would be a non-conference game.
David Crockett’s game on Monday, Dec. 14 was postponed or canceled. Also hamstrung by COVID-19 exposure, the Pioneers (3-1) haven’t played since losing to Cocke County in the Hardee’s Classic championship on Nov. 28.
Crockett’s girls are scheduled to play at South Greene on Friday, host Cherokee on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and visit Volunteer on Dec. 29.