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Jaycie Jenkins leads ‘Blazers to substate

Jaycie Jenkins has been a leader for the Trailblazers this season, including against Washington County rival David Crockett as pictured above. Jenkins was an integral part of Boone’s triple-overtime win against Jefferson County in the regional semifinal game on Monday. (Photo by Collin Brooks)

Update: Daniel Boone fell 70-38 to Science Hill on Wednesday in the Region 1-AAA girls basketball championship. The Trailblazers will face Maryville on the road on Saturday.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Second-year Daniel Boone girls basketball coach Beau Hauldren wasn’t kidding when he said in January his team would go as far as Jaycie Jenkins took it.

Jenkins poured in 44 points Monday in a 74-68 triple-overtime win against Jefferson County in Region 1-AAA semifinal. The win secured Boone (20-11) a sectional berth (Sweet 16).

“When you’ve got somebody like Jaycie, who scores 44 tonight – unbelievable,” Hauldren said. “I will probably never get the opportunity in my lifetime to coach another player like her, and here I am in my second year and I’ve gotten to do it.”

Jenkins, an all-conference player in three sports, wasn’t ready to start softball yet.

“I just went in to the game thinking this could be my last basketball game if we lost,” she said, “and I was going to give everything I had to win. The coaches were very encouraging about the game tonight telling us they had no doubt we could win. It’s a great accomplishment to put out a team like Jeff County. They are very athletic.

Jenkins certainly had some help from her friends. Kayla Gibson forced overtime with a 3-pointer which was assisted by Jenkins, and Savannah Jessee’s last-second follow forced a third overtime.

“Every player played a huge role tonight,” Jenkins said, “whether it was shooting a three to send us to the first overtime, putting in a layup to put us in another overtime, hitting big-time shots, and even big-time free throws.

“The whole game coach Hauldren was telling us we were winning this game. In overtime he was telling us to pick our energy up because we weren’t done, we were winning. Winning tonight has sealed us a spot in substate (sectional) which we have made three out of the four years.”

Hauldren thought a zone would bother Jefferson County (24-6) and he thought his players’ all-out effort could prolong their season. That’s what it took to defeat Morristown West, 30-27, in a regional quarterfinal on Friday at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.

“I said it Friday,” Hauldren said, “and I said it tonight, ‘Don’t leave any what-ifs on the court. No matter what happens, play as hard as you can and don’t have a what-if at the end of the night.’

“They’ve really taken that to heart the last two games. They’ve just battled. We had that close game with Dobyns-Bennett in the district tournament and then obviously Friday night. They’re not ready for their season to be over with. You can tell that, man. It’s big shot after big shot, people stepping up.

“It’s fun to sit back and watch. Tonight when Gibson hit that three or Jaycie was going off or Savannah hit that two, you’re kind of standing there with a smile.”

Hauldren credited the offseason work of all his players, and was especially pleased with post Maddie Bunting’s progress this season, particularly since Grayson Stevens got injured four games ago.

“And (frontcourt player) Savannah Jessee didn’t have a great game tonight, but the last month or so she’s done a really good job for us,” Hauldren said. “Maddie Bunting – I was meeting her September till November doing workouts. She showed up every morning. Some mornings were better than others, but she kept coming.

“She’s improved so much. She’s worked so hard. She stopped rushing her shot. She posts up hard. She drop-steps hard. She got some confidence. And she’s really helped us on the defensive end with her height in the middle of that zone.”

Jenkins played in excess of 42 minutes against Jefferson County.

“I’m tired,” Hauldren said. “My girls are tired. I told Jaycie to go home and get 10 bags of ice and put it in the bathtub and take an ice bath. They’re tired, but we’re excited about Wednesday. We’ve just gotta show up and do our best.

The David Crockett boys suffered a season-ending 63-43 loss at South-Doyle in the regional quarterfinals on Saturday.

First-year coach Cody Connell’s Pioneers went 21-10, finished third in the Big Seven Conference thanks to wins against Tennessee High and Dobyns-Bennett, despite not having Prince Kollie the final two-plus months.

The Pioneers got solid senior seasons from Donta Hackler and Mack Hensley.

The Pioneers girls season concluded with a 67-35 loss at Jefferson County in a regional quarterfinal on Friday. Crockett finished the season at 14-19.

The Pioneers, who will return the vast majority of players from the rotation, lost seven of their final eight games after coach Tony Gordon was suspended.