By TREY WILLIAMS
The David Crockett boys basketball team fell to 10-5 on the season after losing two of three in the Bobcat Classic last week in Bluffton, South Carolina, but first-year coach Cody Connell said the tournament served its purpose.
“It was a great weekend for us,” Connell said. “We did what we needed to do to prepare for conference play.”
The Pioneers lost their opener on Thursday by four points to Dawson County (Georgia), a veteran team that advanced to the state tournament last season.
“I think they made it to the semifinals of the state tournament last year and returned a lot of players,” Connell said. “They’re a really good team. We played really good for 28 minutes and we had about a four-minute stretch where we couldn’t do anything right. … In my opinion, it was the championship game. We were the top two teams down there, for sure. We were up nine late in the third. They went on like a 17-0 run. … It was like a two-point game with maybe 30 seconds to go and we just couldn’t make a shot and had to foul again.”
Sophomore point guard Dawson Wagner had 21 points and seven assists. Senior forward Donta Hackler added 16 points, and junior Mason Britton tallied 12 points and six assists.
Crockett routed Charleston Collegiate on Friday in its second game after building a 17-point lead in the first quarter.
Wagner led the way with 17 points and senior Mack Hensley had 16. Britton scored seven points and grabbed 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were a career high.
“He had 12 in the first half,” Connell said. “It was impressive.”
Crockett lost to St. James (Murrells Inlet, South Carolina) in its final game on Saturday. The low-key Connell rarely raises his voice during or after a game and most have probably never heard him say a discouraging word, but he was less than impressed with the officiating in the Pioneers’ Bluffton finale.
“I don’t ever blame referees, but when there are 27 straight points only off of free throws and the game lasts two hours, there’s something wrong,” Connell said.
Miniature golf and ice cream on Hilton Head Island helped offset the consolation round buzzkill.
“We didn’t play very good and they weren’t very good,” Connell said. “It was learning process for us.”
Hensley led the way with 22 points against St. James. Wagner added 15 and senior guard Avery Letcher and Britton each scored nine points. Letcher’s all came from 3-point range.
The Pioneers will host Sullivan South on Friday in a non-conference rubber match.
“We should have each other memorized by now,” Connell said.
The Daniel Boone girls improved to 9-5 on the season by defeating host Sevier County on Friday and Trinity Christian (Georgia) on Saturday to advance to Monday night’s Winterfest Shootout semifinals.
Senior forward Jaycie Jenkins scored 22 points against Trinity Christian. She was 9-for-9 at the foul line.
Senior Madi Runnels scored 20 points. She scored 11 in the third quarter and 15 after intermission, helping Boone overcome a four-point third quarter deficit.
Jenkins scored 20 points in the Trailblazers’ 44-39 win against Sevier County. Jenkins outscored the Smoky Bears, 18-17, in the first half while helping Boone build a 14-point halftime lead. Jenkins scored 14 points in the second quarter.
Runnels and McKenna Dietz added nine and seven points, respectively.
David Crockett’s girls dropped its first two games in the Pensacola Beach Classic in Gulf Breeze, Florida on Friday and Saturday. Casey County (Kentucky) defeated the Pioneers, 55-29, in the opening round. Crockett lost 55-45 to Woodmont (South Carolina) on Saturday, dropping its season record to 9-6 heading into Monday’s game with South Forsyth, Georgia.
Crockett’s girls have battled the flu. A number of players have missed games, and coach Tony Gordon missed a loss to Knox Catholic (Dec. 21) and a win against Jellico (Dec. 20).
Crockett’s boys and girls will host Sullivan South on Friday.
Boone’s girls will host Science Hill on Tuesday, January 7. It could potentially be their second straight meeting, as each was playing in the Sevier County tournament semifinals on Monday night.
The Daniel Boone boys were off last week. They will play Memphis Fairley in the Under Armour Classic in Cleveland on Thursday.