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Lady Blazers host new annual tournament, Lady Pioneers in attendance

As the boys of Daniel Boone traveled south for a holiday tournament in Florida, the hosting Lady Blazers faced inclement weather that postponed the beginning of their first annual Johnson City Honda/McDonald’s Invitational at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.
With the tournament pushed back a day, 12 teams, including the Lady Pioneers of David Crockett High School, converged at Daniel Boone High School to take part in the five-day event.
On Dec. 28, the Lady Trailblazers competed against Sullivan North, while the Lady Pioneers took on Hampton. On Dec. 29, Boone played St. Joseph, and Crockett competed against local foe University High.
On Dec. 30, Boone lost a nailbiter to Gate City while Crockett defeated Sullivan North.
Daniel Boone 44, Sullivan North 38
The hosting Lady Blazers opened the Invitational against Sullivan North (1-10) and outlasted their opponent in the final quarter for the win.
With the teams locked at a 10-10 tie after the first, Boone used a huge second quarter to leap ahead of the Raiders 28-18 at the half.
The Lady Blazers couldn’t find their offense after halftime, struggling in the third quarter, allowing North back in the game.
Entering the fourth with a five-point lead, Boone was able to match the Raiders offensive output, eventually winning 44-38.
The biggest game changer for the Lady Blazers was their effort behind the arc.
Jordan Bacon hit two of Boone’s five three-pointers finishing with 10 points total. Lauren King led the Blazers in scoring with 12.
David Crockett 36, Hampton 52
Entering the first-round game against Hampton, the Lady Pioneers had not played in over a week.
For a team in the midst of a major rebuilding season, a lengthy layoff can spell disaster, but Crockett came out strong. The Lady Pioneers, who have struggled offensively much of the season, kept pace with their opponent in the first quarter, trailing only 13-10.
Crockett couldn’t keep it up. The Lady Bulldogs took advantage of the inexperienced Pioneers in the second quarter stretching their lead to 11 at the half. The second half began much as the first ended with the Lady Bulldogs scoring easily, while Crockett was forced to work for every point. Despite a better fourth quarter, the Lady Pioneers faltered in the first round, falling 52-36.
A promising sign for Crockett was their ability to spread the ball around. Eight players scored, with point totals fairly even throughout the lineup. Kendra Persinger and Keri Blevins led the Pioneers with eight points.
Daniel Boone 38, St. Joseph 68
One of the surprising teams in attendance for the JC Honda/ McDonald’s Invitational was St. Joseph’s High School out of West Virginia.
The Lady Irish, who won the West Virginia state championship a season ago, met Daniel Boone in the second round of the tournament.
Boone was outmatched from the beginning, eventually falling behind 35-10 at halftime.
Through the first two quarters, the young Blazers couldn’t matchup defensively and struggled to find open looks on offense.
The Lady Irish called off the dogs in the second half, eventually winning 68-38. Boone was led in scoring by Courtney Baskett who finished with nine points. Three St. Joseph players reached double figures.
David Crockett 34, University High 38
Prior to entering tournament play, the Lady Pioneers faced University High on Dec. 17 at Crockett.
In a close game that needed overtime to settle it, the Lady Bucs came away on top, denying Crockett their second win of the season, 47-42.
Just a couple of weeks later, the two met again, this time in tournament action. In another close contest ruled by defense, University High squeaked out a close victory, once again denying Crockett their second win of the season.
Daniel Boone 50, Gate City 51
Boone finished play at the Invitational with a heartbreaking defeat in the final moments against Gate City. Leading up to the final deciding minutes of the fourth quarter, Boone put together one of their best performances of the season against a quality opponent.
After leading by one point at the end of the first quarter, Boone kept the game close in the second despite a strong offensive quarter by their opponent. Trailing 25-22 entering the third, Boone exploded for 18 points, grabbing a five-point lead with eight minutes left to play.
The Lady Blazers undoing, however, was their struggles from the free-throw line. As Gate City charged ahead in the fourth, Boone failed to take advantage at the line, shooting just over 50 percent for the game.
As both teams traded baskets in the final minutes, a Boone turnover resulted in two points for Gate City, giving them the lead at 51-49. A make and then a miss from the free-throw line allowed the Lady Devils to escape with the 51-50 win.
Three Blazers scored in double-figures. Baskett led the team with 13 points, followed by Cassie Millison with 12, and Natalie Sheffey added 10.
David Crockett 48, Sullivan North 33
The Lady Pioneers took a huge step in the right direction Friday afternoon with a big win against Sullivan North, receiving their second win of the season. Crockett’s senior leader Brittany Ward led the Pioneers with 10 points to go along with an excellent defensive effort. Although Crockett controlled the scoreboard for the first two quarters, the Pioneers only led by five points at intermission. A close third quarter allotted Crockett a seven-point advantage preceding the final stanza. With the game on the line, the Pioneers took off in the final quarter, upping the tempo and playing their best ball of the night, going on to turn a highly contested fourth quarter into an outright blowout victory 48-33.
The Lady Pioneers will return to action on Friday, Jan. 7, against Sullivan Central preceding the boy’s contest.
Unbeaten Elizabethton defeated St. Joseph’s 54-49 in the championship game at the tournament.