Above, Below left, Boone’s Bayleigh Carmichel came in for the Lady Blazer win while also landed a back-to-back the Most Valuable Player honor.
By TREY WILLIAMS
Bayleigh Carmichel and the Daniel Boone girls basketball team displayed conviction in teamwork, and they became repeat offenders in the district tournament on Saturday.
Carmichel, a junior wing, was named the District 1-AAA Most Valuable Player for the second straight year after helping the Lady Trailblazers win their second consecutive district tournament title. Carmichel scored a game-high 13 points and made three of Boone’s four 3-pointers in a 52-41 defeat of Dobyns-Bennett in the championship game at David Crockett on Saturday.
“Bayleigh is clutch,” said Daniel Boone coach Travis Mains, whose team improved to 26-4 on the season. “She wants to take and make big shots. She really stepped it up again in that championship just like she did against Science Hill the year before. Huge ‘three’ at the end of the half to go along with a big one-dribble jump shot that kind of stopped a Tribe run. Kid plays hard and is so competitive.”
Boone also got 10 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots from senior 6-foot-4 Carson-Newman signee Sydney Pearce and nine points and six rebounds apiece from fellow seniors Macie Culbertson (Belmont) and Emily Sizemore. Culbertson also had five steals and sophomore Jaycee Jenkins had a team-high three steals a day after tallying team highs in points (22) and rebounds (12) in a rout of Cherokee in the semifinals.
Daniel Boone has won 33 straight regular season Big Seven Conference games, three straight Big Seven titles and advanced to the sectional last season. Mains and his players won’t be satisfied with anything less than a state tournament berth this year, and Jenkins’ maturation is a key reason that appears likely.
“Jaycie Jenkins’ development has really taken this team to a new level, along with increased confidence of all our girls,” Mains said.
“Our defense and rebounding have really picked up its intensity. They want it so bad and play so together. There really is never a time that you look out there and say, ‘man that was a selfish play.’ They care for each other on and off the court and it shows. They don’t care about stats and they don’t really care about awards. They want to win.”
Pearce, the daughter of Daniel Boone great Tammy Larkey Pearce, blocked seven shots against Cherokee. She is on pace to finish her career with more than 500 blocked shots.
“Only two other girls in the state have ever crossed that territory,” Mains said. “Not even her momma (has 500 blocked shots).”
Culbertson tallied 13 points and six steals in the semifinal win. Carmichel had 10 points and five rebounds, and Ali Kosinski had a team-high five assists and five rebounds.
Boone will host Sevier County in a regional quarterfinal matchup on Friday at 7 p.m. The Bearettes (14-15) have lost nine of their last 10, but Mains cautions that anything can happen in tournament time, particularly when you have a solid player like Savannah Fox.
“Sevier County has a tough and physical team that is well coached,” Mains said. “They have a really good player in the Fox girl and some young talented guards to go along with some good size. We will have to play fast and physical to get to the next one for sure.”
Dobyns-Bennett got 10 points from Lily Griffith, nine from Jaden Fullen and eight from East Tennessee State commitment Courtney Whitson in the district championship game.
In the boys’ district tournament, Daniel Boone and David Crockett advanced to regionals with respective third- and fourth-place finishes. Boone rallied to beat Crockett, 57-55, in the consolation game after trailing by double digits in the second quarter.
Eric “Doc” Rigsby led Boone (15-13) with 16 points. Chad Heglar and Taylor Johnson added 10 apiece.
Mcale Bright (12) and John Kollie (11) scored in double figures for Crockett (14-16), which has lost three of four against the Trailblazers this season.
Boone and Crockett will play in the regional quarterfinals on the road Saturday at 7 p.m.
District Tournament Honors
District 1-AAA Girls All-Tournament Team:
MVP: Bayleigh Carmichel (Daniel Boone)
Sydney Pearce (Daniel Boone)
Macie Culbertson (Daniel Boone)
Jaycie Jenkins (Daniel Boone)
Dezol Love (Science Hill)
Symantha Fugate (Science Hill)
Lily Griffith (D-B)
Ta-Tionna White (D-B)
Courtney Whitson (D-B
Harper Russell (Cherokee)
District 1-AAA Boys All-Tournament Team:
MVP: Marae Foreman (D-B)
Chad Heglar (Daniel Boone)
Eric Rigsby (Daniel Boone)
McHale Bright (David Crockett)
Jerriah Love (Science Hill)
David Bryant (Science Hill)
Junior Danso (Science Hill)
Riamello Wadsworth (D-B)
Charlie Browder (D-B)
Abiah Releford (D-B)