BY COLLIN BROOKS
Christ School’s Matt Halvorsen had a big smile on his face when he walked into Viking Hall and he walked out with a similar grin. The Kingsport native netted 25 points in Christ’s 80-54 win over David Crockett, including 17 in the first quarter, to help Christ advance in the Arby’s Classic opening contest.
“I thought there were no deadly weapons allowed in Viking Hall and then he gets in here with his 3-point barrage,” said David Crockett coach John Good through a smile. “He is a great kid and he works hard…and kids that get in the gym and work, it’s funny how they step up in the big games.”
Halvorsen — a Western Carolina signee — said that he felt great being back home, but he credited his teammates for helping him.
“Once I hit one, they know that I am feeling it and they start to look for me,” he said.
His coach, Scott Willard set that Halvorsen set the tone earlier and his teammates followed his lead.
“He bought the energy and we just tried to match it,” Willard said. “Once he got hot, there wasn’t much you could do past half-court on him and he was aggressive, like he should be, but that is what you get with a Division-I player whose skill is shooting.”
The Pioneers were led by Josh Releford with 21 points, while Abe Strunk — a transfer from Florida — contributed 10 points in his second game of the season for Crockett. The Pioneers also got nine points from McHale Bright and six points from Paul Arrowood.
It was the first game for the Greenies in two weeks, but it didn’t take them long to get going. The Pioneers started the contest with a 5-0 lead, but they would go on to be outscored 29-6 behind the the hot hand of Christ’s Matt Halvorsen who finished the first quarter with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. That helped the Greenies take a 29-11 lead after the first quarter.
David Crockett was able to inch closer in the second quarter as they fought back from 20 points with a 9-3 run to make the score 22-36, but the Greenies were able to pull out again and finish the half with a 45-26 lead.
Christ 29 16 20 15 — 80
Crockett 11 15 11 17 — 54
Matt Halvorsen 25, William Fleming 10, Justin Rhode 7, Justice Ajogbor 6, Giir Ring 6, Brad Halvorsen 6, Keyvaun Cobb 6, Morgan McKay 5, Kojack Thompson 3, Seth Scott 2.
David Crockett (54)
Josh Releford 21, Abe Strunk 10, McHale Bright 9, Paul Arrowood 6, Ethan Burger 3, Ronquille Joyner 3, John Kollie 2.
3-pointers — Christ 7 (Matt Halvorsen 5, Brad Halvorsen, Morgan McKay), David Crockett 5 (Josh Releford 2, Abe Strunk, McHale Bright, Ethan Burger)