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Pioneers knocked out of first place

After holding the conference’s top spot for most of the 2014-15 season, a Pioneer loss to Science Hill earlier this month gave way to a three-way tie atop the Big 7 standings. Now Crockett finds itself in a second-place tie looking up at Dobyns-Bennett after the Indians 78-71 victory over the Pioneers in Kingsport on Jan. 23.
Prior to the matchup between first-place contenders, the Pioneers opened the week in Jonesborough with their hands full against Tennessee High (10-13, 3-5) on Jan. 20.
Crockett appeared on its way to another big win at the half after building a 37-24 advantage over the first two quarters. However, the lead and momentum the team established in the first half dissipated over the final two quarters.
The Vikings trimmed the Pioneer advantage to just eight points by the end of third quarter and cut into it even more in the fourth, but the Pioneers never relinquished the lead and escaped with a 63-58 win.
Nine Pioneers tallied baskets in the win, with Dustin Day leading the way with 13 points. Patrick Good had a relatively quiet night scoring just 10.
Crockett improved its overall record to 18-4 on the season with an 8-1 mark in the conference setting up the end of week matchup between first-place teams in Kingsport.
In the Friday bout, a slow start by the Pioneer offense coupled with a steady scoring approach by the Indians pushed Dobyns-Bennett to a big first half advantage.
Crockett held a 10-9 advantage at the four-minute mark of the first quarter, but it would be the last time the Pioneers led for the rest of the contest.
Dobyns-Bennett’s next basket would not only give the Indians the lead for good, but ignite the Tribe’s offense led by Makale Foreman.
The Indians would close out the game’s opening stanza on an 11-0 run to end the first quarter in front, 20-10.
Foreman poured in 16 first-half points, helping Dobyns-Bennett to a 15-point, first-half lead.
Trailing 42-27 to open the second half, Crockett never really made a strong run at the Indians until it was too late.
The Pioneers wouldn’t stage a comeback until the final minutes of the contest, when missed free-throw opportunities allowed Crockett to finally cut into the large lead.
They would pull the contest to within eight points with just over 30 seconds to play, but D-B would hit 1-of-2 from the line and Crockett would score just once more for the final tally.
Good led all scorers with 27 points, and Noah Leonard added 11.
Although the Pioneers beat the Indians in their first meeting in Jonesborough on Dec. 9, 80-66, the teams have been trending in opposite directions since Crockett’s 14-0 start, with Pioneers losing five of their last nine, including their first-conference loss of the season against Science Hill earlier this month.
D-B has lost only once in league play and maintains sole possession of first place in the Big 7.