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Lady Blazers, Pioneers take part in JC Honda Invitational

Sandwiched between Christmas and the New Year, the Johnson City Honda Invitational at Daniel Boone High School renewed for a second straight year this past week in Gray.
The tournament featured 16 teams and is quickly becoming one of the best post-Christmas events for women’s basketball in the area. Teams in attendance included the tournament host Lady Trailblazers of Boone, Washington County rival David Crockett, Big 8 foes Volunteer and Sullivan South, as well as last year’s returning champion Elizabethton.
While both Boone (5-5, 2-2) and Crockett (4-8, 0-3) appeared to be going different directions after completion of the opening round, each finished the four-day event a few steps behind tournament winner Grainger County, who defeated Morristown West in the Championship on Dec. 30.
Boone finished sixth at the invitational and the Lady Pioneers wrapped up their tournament effort against Volunteer in a highly contested double-overtime loss.
Lady Blazers demolish University HIGH, Crockett falls in opening round
The opening round at the Johnson City Honda Invitational couldn’t have gone better for the Lady Trailblazers after defeating University High 72-23.
In the 49-point win, the Lady Blazers were strong from the opening horn to the fourth-quarter buzzer. Boone started the effort with a gargantuan first quarter, finishing with 26 points to the Junior Bucs’ seven. The lead continued to increase through halftime, where Boone led 43-11. The third quarter displayed the dominance of Boone as the Blazers scored 21 more points and increased their lead to 64-21 by quarter’s end.
Three Blazers reached double-figures in points, with Jenny Snyder leading the way with 17. Kathleen Casey added 12 and Allison Sheffey chipped in 10.
Whether they win or lose, resilience accompanies the Lady Pioneers in all facets of their game. This once again was the case in their contest against Hampton to open the Invitational.
After falling behind 16-4 after the first quarter, the contest looked as though it would be tremendously one sided. But as they have done all season, Crockett continued to fight.
The comeback began in the second quarter as the Pioneers outscored the Bulldogs to close within six points at intermission. Both teams were more defensive in the second half.
Midway through the final stanza, the Lady Pioneers appeared on their way to capping off the improbable comeback as they had further cut into the Hampton lead, trailing by just two possessions with plenty of time left.
But the Lady Bulldogs were determined not to let their lead slip away as they turned the tables on Crockett in the final minutes to capture a 44-35 victory.
Crockett was led in scoring by Sara Shipley, who finished with 12 points.
Crockett BEATS Johnson CoUNTY,
Boone falls to GRAINGER CoUNTY
One quarter proved the difference maker in the Lady Pioneers’ opening round game against Hampton on Dec. 27.
A night later, one quarter once again proved the decisive factor, but this time it went the way of Crockett. After two close quarters, the Lady Pioneers trailed by just a point at the half against Johnson County.
The Lady Pioneers exploded coming out of intermission, forcing turnovers in which they converted to points. By the end of the quarter, Crockett had put up 19 points, outscoring their opponent by five and maintained a 39-35 lead with eight minutes of basketball left. Johnson County eventually tied the contest with just over 10 seconds left to play, but Kelsey Persinger wouldn’t allow the game to extend in overtime as she drilled a jumper in the final seconds to preserve the Crockett victory, 52-50.
Three Pioneers reached double-digit scoring — Heather Scalf finished with 15 points, Persinger added 13 and Keri Blevins ended with 10.
After putting together the most dominant win of the tournament, a 49-point margin over University High a night before, the Lady Blazers looked to be the early tournament favorite.
Grainger County had other ideas. The Lady Grizzlies jumped out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in a 66-46 win over Boone.
The Lady Blazers responded well, cutting the Grainger County lead to six points by intermission. A huge Grizzly third quarter put away any chance at a Boone comeback, with a fourth quarter deficit of 19 points.
Snyder led the Lady Blazers in scoring with 12 points and Natalie Sheffey added 10 in the contest. The loss dropped the Lady Blazers out of championship contention.
Lady Blazers shake off deficit for win, big fourth puts Crockett away
A night after losing to the eventual tournament champion due to a terrible opening quarter, the Lady Blazers of Daniel Boone looked as if they were going to repeat the feat against Hampton.
A 19-11 first quarter deficit had the Blazers once again behind the eight ball opening the second quarter. But the team that put together the most dominant performance of the tournament wasn’t going to lie down.
Boone responded in the second quarter outscoring Hampton 21-11, erasing the nine-point quarter deficit and headed to half with a 31-30 lead.
Boone continued its strong play after the break, pushing the lead to three points with just eight minutes left. While the Lady Bulldogs made a run at the Blazers in the fourth, Boone wasn’t going to be upended. Jordan Bacon would see to that.
Bacon scored seven of her team high 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead Boone past the Bulldogs, 59-56. Joining Bacon in double-digits were Snyder with 17 and Sheffey with 16.
In the third round of the invitational, a big fourth quarter slammed the door on any chance the Lady Pioneers had at a comeback against Sullivan East in a 58-44 loss.
Crockett kept the first and third quarters close, but allowed East to add to their advantage in the second and fourth quarters.
After the first, the Lady Pioneers trailed by just a point but a 14-8 second quarter that went in favor of Sullivan East, pushed Crockett in a seven-point hole at the half.
After being outscored 14-13 in the third, the Pioneers still had a chance with the fourth quarter left to play and still only trailing by single digits. But a 16-10 fourth crushed Crockett’s hopes at a comeback as Sullivan East walked away with the win.
Leading the way for Crockett on offense was Scalf with a game high 15 points and Blevins with 10. Persinger and Shipley also contributed with eight and seven points respectively.
Crockett, Boone both lOSE in final day
Dec. 30 marked the final day of action at the Johnson City Honda Invitational and while both Crockett and Boone lost, the Lady Pioneers can enter 2012 with a little momentum despite a loss to conference foe Volunteer.
The contest opened with Crockett once again falling behind early on. The Lady Falcons jumped out to a 23-16 first quarter lead in a stanza that exhibited a ton of offense for both squads. Volunteer continued to add to their lead in the second, pushing the seven-point deficit to eight by intermission.
Coming out of the half, Crockett looked like a different team on defense, holding the Falcons to just eight points while adding 21 for themselves and erasing the eight point deficit. With a five-point advantage with a quarter left, it was Crockett’s turn to allow their chance at the win to slip out of their grasp.
By the end of the fourth quarter, extra time would be needed as the game headed to overtime with the teams knotted up at 55. With several Lady Falcons fouled out, Lindsey Overbey stepped up keeping Volunteer close in the extra period.
After five minutes had ticked off the clock, another overtime would be needed as the teams deadlocked at 64. The second overtime would be the decider as Volunteer raced out to a lead and never looked back, outscoring Crockett in the final period 12-5 to secure the win.
Shipley, Blevins and Scalf each finished with 17 points.
When Boone met Elizabethton for the fifth-place game, it was the tale of two halves as the closely contested first two quarters gave way to a one-sided affair following intermission.
The Blazers controlled a six-point halftime advantage over the tournament’s defending champs, but the second half displayed a Cyclone team desperate for the comeback win.
Elizabethton chipped into the Boone lead in the third quarter to trail by just one with eight minutes remaining. From there, the Lady Cyclones took the lead and pushed the game out of hand outscoring the Lady Blazers 23-6 in the final quarter for a 54-36 win.
Bacon finished with 16 points, the game high. She was the only Lady Blazer to reach double-digits in the evening.