By TREY WILLIAMS
The absences of Culbertson a freshman at Belmont, and Sydney Pearce, a freshman at Carson-Newman, were glaring in a 57-44 loss at Science Hill on Friday. Junior forward Alasia Smith scored 25 points and helped the Hilltoppers hassle the Trailblazers and their new point guards while slamming the brake on the streak.
The ‘Blazers still have two productive players from last season’s state tournament team in senior wing Bayleigh Carmichel and versatile junior forward Jaycie Jenkins, but Science Hill concentrated on making other ‘Blazers beat ‘em.
“They made Bayleigh and Jaycie work awfully hard,” said first-year Boone Coach Beau Hauldren. “Obviously, they had a great game plan. They did a great job executing that game plan. They wanted to take away two of our players and make everybody else beat ‘em. We weren’t able to execute a lot of the time. We had a lot of turnovers, a lot of fumbled passes and a lot of bad passes. And they did a great job.
“I’ve gotta do a better job at preparing us against pressure. For the rest of the year, everybody knows how to guard Daniel Boone High School, and that’s pressure Jaycie and Bayleigh and make everybody else beat us.”
The Trailblazers (2-1, 8-3) last lost a league game when they fell 44-40 at Dobyns-Bennett on Jan. 12, 2016. Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley made certain his players were well aware of the streak.
“Tuesday night,” Smith said, “after (Whaley) told us they had 34 straight wins, it felt like it was time for us to show out and do what we had to do on our home court. … It felt great.”
Jenkins scored a team-high 13 points for Boone, which got a promising performance from Madi Runnels. She scored all 10 of her points in the opening 18-plus minutes and her final basket cut Science Hill’s lead to 27-21 with 5:45 left in the third quarter.
But the ‘Toppers responded with an 11-2 run and its lead was double digits for the closing 12:42.
“She (Runnels) kept us in it in the first half, obviously,” Hauldren said. “She’s still learning, though.”
Culbertson is learning quickly in college. She tallied 11 points and six rebounds in the 67-51 victory at Chattanooga on Monday. She was 4 of 5 from the field, including 2-for-3 shooting from 3-point range. Culbertson also accounted for two of Belmont’s four blocked shots while helping Belmont end a nine-game losing streak to the Mocs.
She will be in Knoxville on Sunday, Dec. 30 when Belmont plays No. 9 Tennessee (1 p.m.).
Daniel Boone 6-foot-4 senior wing Chad Heglar is beginning to generate more college interest. Heglar scored 28 points despite drawing a lot of attention in the Trailblazers’ 71-64 loss at Science Hill on Friday with college coaches in attendance.
“Heglar’s an all-conference player,” said Science Hill forward Drew Morrison, who’s being recruited by Centre College offensive coordinator Ben Fox, a former Daniel Boone quarterback and valedictorian, to play football. “We put Will (Stevens) on him and made him work.”
Boone got 15 and 12 points, respectively, from Jared Adkins and Marshall Golden. The Trailblazers trailed by as many as 18 points, but a late 12-2 run got them within three points with 3:36 to go. The rally included a buzzer-beating drive that sophomore Cade Norris converted to end the third quarter.
“Cade’s got a great skill set,” Brown said. “We need him to be a lot more aggressive, because he’s capable. And I think he’s gonna be a big key for us down the stretch. If we can get him going, he’s another guy that can score for us.”
Daniel Boone (1-2, 5-5) will host Sullivan East on Friday, Dec. 21.
Promising David Crockett freshman point guard Dawson Wagner scored 22 points in the Pioneers’ 62-60 non-conference win against Unicoi County on Friday at Crockett. Sophomore Mason Britton’s trey gave Crockett a 61-59 advantage with 50 seconds left and junior Mack Hensley’s free throw with 10 seconds left concluded the scoring.
Jake Gaffney scored 15 points for the Pioneers (1-2, 5-6).
The Lady Pioneers lost 53-40 to Unicoi County. Sophomore Emma Gouge scored a game-high 19 points.
“Crockett has a good player in Gouge,” said Morristown East coach Michael Potts, whose short-handed Hurricanes lost to Crockett last week.
David Crockett will host Sullivan South on Friday, Dec. 21.