By MARINA WATERS
David Crockett High School might be the home of the Pioneers, but next week, it’ll also be the home of the 2018 Big Seven Conference District 1-AAA Basketball Tournament.
The postseason tournament starts on Monday, Feb. 12 and will end in the district championship game on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Jonesborough.
Though the David Crockett High School Lady Pioneers dropped off the bracket in their first district game against the Volunteer High School Lady Falcons on Monday night, the David Crockett Pioneers, along with both Daniel Boone High School’s basketball teams, are ready to compete in the win-or-go-home tournament match ups.
Daniel Boone High School Trailblazers — no. 5 (11-10, 5-6)
For the teams preparing for the district tournament, sights have been set the postseason. However, for the Boone ‘Blazers, one last conference game last Friday against Tennessee High was the main priority; the game, which ended in a 59-53 victory for the Trailblazers determined Boone would become third in the tournament while Tennessee High slipped into fifth.
And just when they thought the pressure ceased, ‘Blazer Head Coach Chris Brown realizes high-pressure basketball is on the horizon for his team.
“When you get into the tournament, it’s win or go home,” Brown said. “So we’re just trying to dial in and, in terms of practice, and continue doing what we’ve been doing all year. We’re just trying to make sure we’re at our finest coming into the tournament and show up and play. You’ve gotta compete and execute in a tournament. Pressure basketball is about execution, I think. So that’s what we’re looking for.”
Injuries have been a recent battle for Boone, however, senior guard Chad Heglar returned this week from an injury while senior forward Gunnar Norris will be out for the season with a torn ACL. But, Brown said, there might be an upside to that where his younger players are concerned.
“We’ve got our primary scorers, Eric Rigsby, Jared Lawson and Chad Heglar coming back. They’ve kind of been caring us for the year, but I like that in the past three weeks, we were able to get some depth in some of our younger guys when we had the injuries,” Brown said. “I think those guys could come in and contribute, especially in the playoffs because they’ve gained some good experience here the last couple of weeks.”
Boone will face the Cherokee on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
David Crockett High School Pioneers — no. 4 (13-12, 6-6)
David Crockett Basketball Head Coach John Good’s Pioneers will have the home advantage in districts, but Good is hoping to take it one home game at a time in Jonesborough this week.
“The mindset is just to compete and try to play unselfish and together,” Good said. “And try to advance. Don’t worry about anything else but the one game that you play on Tuesday.
The Pioneers might be in the middle of the rankings, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t given conference foes such as Science Hill, who took an 62-50 on the road victory against the Pioneers earlier this month. And there’s a chance the Pioneers could see The Hilltoppers once again, should Good’s team advance this week to Friday’s semi-final game against the Johnson City team.
No matter who they’re battling or what day of the week it is, Good said he’s just looking to see his team compete.
“I think our kids are starting to score the basketball. We played Cherokee Tuesday and we were able to score and we were playing unselfish,” Good said. “It just depends on if we’re able to get our lay ups and free throws. That’s what it’s coming down to.
“I think our kids, they compete. That’s the thing. Sometimes we don’t. We’re not shooting well, we turn it over too much, but our teams compete.”
Daniel Boone Lady Trailblazers — no. 1 (24-4, 10-0)
If there’s one team that’s ready to continue a regular season streak in the district tournament, it’s the Daniel Boone Lady Trailblazers.
The Lady ‘Blazers have gone undefeated in district play and sit at the top of the conference. With team leaders like Belmont University signee Macie Culbertson who recently scored her 1000th point during Boone’s 51-49 win against Science Hill and sophomore Jaycie Jenkins who helped clinch that same victory against the Lady Hilltoppers.
“They are determined and focused,” Lady ‘Blazers Head Coach Travis Mains said. “They have, like others, put in a lot of hard work and have had many ups and downs. But I believe they are truly one team with one goal. I’m excited to watch them compete over the next two weeks.”
The ‘Blazers will face the winner of this week’s Tennessee High School and Cherokee High School matchup. The Lady ‘Blazers will enter the tournament on Friday at 4 p.m. at Crockett. If they are to advance, they will enter the championship game on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.