Crockett’s boys appeared on the way to an easy victory after heading into the final quarter with a 57-42 advantage. The Falcons kept coming, however, and thanks to a 23-15 fourth quarter they trimmed the visitors’ lead to only two points, 66-64, on a Mason Reeves 3-pointer.
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But Mchale Bright and Camara Bradley stepped up to score the Pioneers’ final six points to seal the victory.
Bright, who led Crockett with 14 points, said the Pioneers’ troubles came when they started rushing their shots, which allowed the Falcons to stay close.
“We started taking quick shots and did not play defense very good,” he said. “We just try to play hard, get stops and steals, and score. Conference game are always tough.”
Crockett coach John Good credited Volunteer counterpart Greg Barnett for “having his kids really playing hard.”
“They just continued to battle,” Good noted. “They are not going to give up. We’ve told our kids we’re not good enough to put it in cruise control.”
Tee Johnson and Camara Bradley added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Pioneers (6-2, 2-0).
Volunteer’s Jacob Deal was the game’s leading scorer with 21 points. Chance Johnson added 15 and Grayson Hurd had 14 for the Falcons (1-6, 0-2).
Barnett said the Falcons just couldn’t get over the hump after digging themselves into a hole.
“In our timeouts we kept talking about playing hard, but we just finally ran out of gas,” he said.
In the girls’ contest, Volunteer (1-7, 1-1) led 20-11 at the first rest stop only to see the Lady Pioneers (1-7, 0-2) battle back within one, 39-38, on Emily Whitson’s 3-point basket.
Allie Parsons answered with a pair of free throws to push the Lady Falcons’ advantage to three points at the end of the third quarter, and Volunteer scored its final seven points at the foul line.
Freshman point guard Atlee Dean knocked down five free throws and Chloe Salyer had the other two to seal the win.