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Pioneers use second-half push to get past Falcons

By PAT KENNEY, Sports Correspondent • Dec 13, 2019 at 11:56 PM

JONESBOROUGH — Down 37-36 early in the third quarter, David Crockett found a second gear. The Pioneers went on an 18-0 run over the final 5:13 of the period and that ultimately led to an impressive 67-47 Big 7 Conference boys basketball win over visiting Volunteer on Friday.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, Crockett (8-2, 2-0) had outscored the Falcons 31-10 during the last 13-plus minutes. It was quite a reversal of fortune for the youthful Falcons (5-7, 0-2), who raced out to a 20-12 lead in the first quarter.

By halftime, Crockett had knotted the score at 34. The Falcons, who start two sophomores and two freshmen, edged in front 37-36 at the start of the second half before the bottom fell out.

“I think our guys walked in here tonight thinking we’d win by 40,” said Crockett coach Cody Connell. “Volunteer has a great coach and very good players. In the second half we challenged them to start guarding somebody.”

That stellar second-half defensive effort limited Volunteer to just four baskets and 13 total points after the break.

“I don’t know if we’re so young we don’t have the stamina to play 32 minutes,” said Falcons coach Mike Poe. “But when other teams turn up the motor, we’ve got to answer the bell. We’ve got to learn to make plays in tough games.”

Mack Hensley led Crockett with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Donta Hackler, Mason Britton and Dawson Wagner had 10 points apiece.

Bradin Minton scored 12 points for Volunteer.

BALANCE KEY FOR LADY PIONEERS

The Lady Pioneers put 10 players in the scoring column and seven finished with at least five points in their 51-28 Big 7 win. Crockett also got 20 points from its bench in this romp over the Lady Falcons (4-7, 0-2).

While Crockett (8-2, 2-0) was scoring at will in the first half, Volunteer could not find the range and trailed 30-9 going into the third quarter.

The Lady Falcons about broke even over the final two periods, but the damage had been done.

“We have a lot of people who can score and that makes us hard to defend,” said Crockett coach Tony Gordon. “The girls really share the ball well, so that gives us lots of options.”

Emma Gouge had eight points for the Lady Pioneers. Mackenzie Baldwin, Zoe Sanders and Carlie Wilson added seven each.

Aliyah Crawley led Volunteer with a game-high 10 points.