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Smothering defense spurs 'Blazers past young Falcons

Johnny Wilson • Dec 7, 2019 at 1:31 AM

GRAY — Daniel Boone’s boys basketball team overcame a ragged first half Friday night at Bobby Snyder Gym with a much-better performance after intermission, eventually nabbing an 80-57 Big 7 Conference win over Volunteer.

The Trailblazers, who played terrific trapping defense from the get-go and forced a whopping 11 turnovers in the first quarter, emerged from a 30-20 edge at intermission with a pair of 25-point quarters in the second half.

Volunteer (5-5, 0-1) never really threatened the homestanding Trailblazers (5-3, 1-1), but Boone head coach Chris Brown wasn't overly pleased afterward.

“We're turning it over way too much,” Brown said. "And we’re trying to work on it, but sometimes we’re trying to make those cute passes and trying to thread the needle when we just need to make a simple basketball play.

“We've got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. That stuff will get you beat.”


Fortunately for Brown, his full-court zone pressure was more than the youthful Falcons could swallow.

“Our defense has been solid all year, for the most part,” Brown said. “We're playing hard and getting after it.”

Volunteer coach Mike Poe wasn't shocked that his youthful club struggled against the full-court pressure of Boone, committing nearly 30 turnovers.

“Boone has a lot of experienced players and they do a good job in the run-and-jump (defense),” Poe said. "I'm starting two freshmen and there are going to be times when we make mistakes with it. It's just part of the growing process.

“We've just got to keep plugging along because we're going to see more pressure than that when we play Kingsport and Johnson City, and we'll have to learn how to handle those situations. You can't simulate that in practice.”


Six-foot-four senior Colby Backus led the Trailblazers offensively with 18 points, including 12 in the third quarter as Boone began to pull away.

Jared Atkins and Cade Norris scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for Boone, while teammates Ayden Begley and Nevada Goodwin equally split.

“We don't have anyone who's going to get us 30 every night,” Brown said. “But we do have three or four kids who can step up and get 30 on a given night.”

Volunteer was led by the 16-point game of Andrew Knittel and the 10-point outing of fellow freshman Bradin Minton.


Boone's girls stayed unbeaten in the conference, pulling out of a tight game at intermission and posting a comfortable 63-43 decision over Volunteer.

Down after one quarter, the Trailblazers (4-3, 2-0) managed a 33-28 advantage at intermission before dominating the second half.

Senior leader Jaycie Jenkins paved the way for Boone with 20 points. Madi Runnels made three 3s and scored 15 for the ’Blazers, while teammate Camryn Sarvis contributed 10 points.

Volunteer (3-5, 0-1) was led by the 19-point game of Alyiah Crawley. Kennedy Knittel hit three 3-pointers for the Falcons and scored 11 points.