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Lady Blazers’ challenges remain

From time to time this season, the Blazers and Lady Blazers of Daniel Boone have shown glimpses of turning a corner in what has been a mediocre year for both programs.
But each step forward for both teams has too often been met by two steps back as each continues to attempt to gain traction in the 2014-15 basketball season.
Last week both teams continued what has become a trend for them this season, winning once in three tries.
After opening the week on Jan. 6 with a 52-44 conference loss to Tennessee High in Bristol, the Lady Blazers returned home for their second conference matchup of the week, this time against Dobyns-Bennett.
The Lady Indians and Lady Blazers entered the contest having met just over a week before in Gray at the Johnson City Honda Invitational championship game.
Dobyns-Bennett came away with the 51-44 win.
This time around the Lady Blazers outstanding defensive effort in the second half allowed them to claim a 46-34 win over the Lady Indians.
After a close first half, the teams went to the locker room with Dobyns-Bennett holding a 23-19 advantage.
But the second half would be a different game.
Electing to go with a bigger lineup, the Lady Blazers kept the Indian offense not just quiet in the second half, but nearly silent.
Boone held Dobyns-Bennett to all of just three points in the third quarter and only eight in the fourth.
Boone would total 27 points over the final two quarters to capture the decisive and satisfying win.
Taylor Carmichael led the way for the Blazers, finishing with 16 points to lead all scorers.
Unfortunately for the Lady Blazers, they would have to follow up their win a day later by welcoming one of the top teams in the region to Gray, Morristown West.
The Lady Trojans jumped out to a quick start and never trailed in the contest. They held a nine-point advantage after the first quarter and stretched their lead to 14 points by the half.
West opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run on route to a dominant 64-38 win.
Jaclyn Jenkins along with Carmichael accounted for 26 of Boone’s 38 points in the loss. Jenkins led the Blazers with 14 points and Carmichael chipped in for 12.
After a 1-2 week, the Lady Blazers hold a 10-9 record overall with a 3-3 mark in the conference. They are in a four-team tie for third place in the Big 7.
In boys action, the Blazers dropped their first two games of the week, falling 79-30 on Jan. 6 in Bristol to Tennessee High and dropping their second conference contest of the week to Dobyns-Bennett on Jan. 9, 46-34.
Boone would not go winless for the week, however, capturing a 48-47 nail-biting win over Morristown West in Gray on Jan. 10.
After taking an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, Boone allowed the small advantage to slip away in the second with Morristown West scoring the first 12 points of the quarter to eventually control an eight-point lead at the half.
But Boone would cut into the advantage in the third quarter, eventually pulling to within two points heading to the last eight minutes.
The teams would swap out the lead throughout the final quarter, but with just seconds remaining, the Blazers found themselves trailing 47-46.
With just seconds left and in need of a score, Boone found just the right guy for the job, Ryan Keever.
Keever would drive to the basket and draw a foul with just seven seconds remaining. He stepped to the line needing both free throws to put the Blazers ahead and delivered, hitting both to give Boone the one-point victory.
Keever’s final two shots gave him a game-high 22 points in the Boone win.
Despite the thrilling win, the Blazers remain 5-13 overall and 1-5 in the conference where they hold a three-way tie for fifth place.