By Collin Brooks
David Crockett’s Josh Releford carried his team to the finish line, but it was freshman McHale Bright that broke the tape, as a put-back by Bright as time expired gave the Pioneers the 77-75 over Daniel Boone. With the win, the Pioneers will return to the Region 1-AAA Championship for the second-straight year and set up a rematch with Science Hill.
With 8.5 seconds remaining on the clock, Releford — who finished with 35 points — was able to receive the inbound pass and go the length of the floor, tossing a left handed shot over two defenders. The lay-up rimmed in-and-out and Bright was there to grab the rebound and hit a turnaround lay-up as time expired. He was greeted being at the bottom of a dog-pile for his effort.
“McHale is a freshman, he probably didn’t even know what he did,” David Crockett coach John Good joked after the contest. “We will have to tell him when we get back (to the locker room). But it was big time.”
“It was awesome, it was a dream come true and it is something that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” McHale said.
Camara Bradley contributed 14 points for the Pioneers, while Ethan Burger had nine points and Bright finished with seven.
Daniel Boone was led by Evan Scanlan whose aggressiveness on the boards helped him finish the night with 16 points and double-digit rebounds.
“I know he had a double-double, I mean it was obvious, he gets every rebound that he wants,” Good said. “He is a great player. I hope that goes and tries to play basketball somewhere, because he has so much ability.”
Eric “Doc” Rigsby also poured in 16 points, while Chad Heglar connected for 15 and Jayden Stevens added 10.
Daniel Boone played most of the second half without their head coach Chris Brown as he was ejected from the game in the middle of the third period.
The contest was tied at 44 when the referees missed that David Crockett had six players on the floor. A Pioneer quickly escaped, but Brown coupled that with his opinion on a play and he received two quick technicals.
Releford would connect on 3-of-4 free throws, then connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Pioneers the 53-44 lead with 3:05 remaining in the third period.
The Blazers would storm back and take a lead in the fourth quarter, but in the end it was only the final play that mattered.
Releford said that he is happy that this team is proving some of their doubters wrong.
“As a player from last year and I know what we are capable of doing, I was just waiting for this time in November. I was just saying wait and see. Coach Good and the coaching staff were going to have us ready and we were going to open some eyes.”