BY COLLIN BROOKS
Unicoi County will try to tie David Crockett with their fifth Hardee’s Classic title when the Blue Devils link up with Morristown East on Saturday night at 8:30. But it wasn’t an easy road for either team on Friday night.
Daniel Boone and Unicoi County combined to miss eight free throws in the final 57 seconds of their contest, but the Blue Devils’ Dylan Putnam was able to make his final attempt with under six seconds remaining to give his team the 60-59 win.
“We both missed a bunch of free throws,” Unicoi County coach Michael Smith said. “Both of us should have probably put the other away a long time before that last minute, but missing easy shots and free throws…I’m just glad that we were able to make that last one at the end.”
The Trailblazers held a 15-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Blue Devils were able to scrap back. It was that same scrappiness that allowed them to steal the Trailblazers inbounds pass with just seven seconds remaining in the contest that set up Putnam’s game-winning free throw.
“At the end of close games you have to be able to make winning plays, toughness plays — making a free throw, getting a rebound, making a stop and not turning the ball over. And we did all the above at crucial times,” Daniel Boone coach Chris Brown said. “…And I was disappointed in that.”
Unicoi County was led by Trevor Hensley, who finished the night with 27 points, That puts the junior just 19 points away from 1,000 career points.
“He works really hard at his game and he is one of the kids that will meet me at 6:30 in the morning to get up extra shots,” Smith said.
Now the Trailblazers will link up with Crockett for the consolation matchup.
Daniel Boone 8 19 21 11 — 59
Unicoi County 3 17 18 22 — 60
Daniel Boone (59)
Chad Heglar 17, Evan Scanlan 13, Gunnar Norris 8, Eric Rigsby 8, Jayden Stevens 5, Justin Turner 4, Chris Brooks 4.
Unicoi County (60)
Trevor Hensley 27, Chase McNabb 12, Clay Simpson 8, Dylan Putnam 6, Jacob Smith 4, Troy P. 3.
3-pointers — Daniel Boone 7 (Chad Heglar 3, Evan Scanlan 2, Jayden Stevens, Gunnar Norris), Unicoi County 7 (Trevor Hensley 3, Chase McNabb 3, Troy P.)
Crockett suffers setback with loss to Morristown East
Poetic justice reared it’s head for a brief moment during Morristown East’s 67-63 win over David Crockett on Friday night during the semi-finals of the Hardee’s Classic.
The Hurricanes’ Dylan Noe delivered the dagger with a game winning 3-pointer after being on the receiving end of heckling. So much so, that after the contest, he and his coach were all smiles after mentioning the jawing.
“I tell you what Dylan Noe is as tough a competitor as I have ever coached,” Morristown East coach Ryan Collins said. “When you need a game-winning play, Dylan Noe is going to show up. And it was cool for him to get to make the big play tonight in this kind of hostile environment.
“He may not show-up big time in the stat sheets, but winning plays, he makes them. And I have the utmost confidence in him.”
It wasn’t Noe that led the stat sheet for the Hurricanes, he merely had 14. Instead, it was Hunter Blanken (21) and Keegan Glenn (15) that scored the points.
David Crockett was led by Josh Releford with 26 points, but he wasn’t smiling after the contest. Instead, he shouldered the loss for his team after missing the front end of a one-and-one opportunity when the contest was tied at 63 in the closing seconds of the contest.
“It started off with me missing the one-and-one when it was tied up and that hurt,” Releford said with his head down. “We just didn’t get stops, they did and we didn’t.”
The Pioneers held a 63-59 lead after a Cole Ricker lay-up with 1:08 remaining in the contest, but a foul on Noe allowed them to inch closer 63-61, before East’s Andrew Carpenter hit a lay-up to tie the contest.
“They were just relentless,” David Crockett coach John Good said about the opponent. “They kept coming at us and we have to be stronger with the basketball and execute, and not just succumb to the pressure.”
The Pioneers will play Daniel Boone in the consolation contest of the Hardee’s Classic on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Morristown East 13 14 25 15 — 67
David Crockett 8 21 19 15 — 63
Morristown East (67)
Hunter Blanken 21, Keegan Glenn 15, Dylan Noe 14, Connor Jordan 10, Andrew Carpenter 4, Cameron Rymer 3.
David Crockett (63)
Josh Releford 26, Ethan Burger 9, Donta Hackler 9, Cole Ricker 6, Will Stevens 4, McHale Bright 2,Tee Johnson 2.
3-pointers — Morristown East 12 (Keegan Glen 5, Dylan Noe 4, Hunter Blanken 2, Cameron Rymer), David Crockett 8 (Josh Releford 5, Ethan Burger 3).