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D-B manhandles Elizabethton

Douglas Fritz • Feb 3, 2019 at 2:03 AM

KINGSPORT — A few nights before the showdown for the Big 7 Conference boys basketball title, Dobyns-Bennett looked like a team that is ready for such a challenge.

The Indians crushed Elizabethton 72-46 on Saturday night at the Buck Van Huss Dome in a battle between teams at the top of their respective leagues.

NOT LOOKING AHEAD

The Indians (23-3) have a home showdown Tuesday against Tennessee High that will basically decide the Big 7 championship. The Vikings clipped the Indians 61-60 in their first meeting in Bristol.

View the photo gallery from Saturday’s games

“They did beat us by one last time, so we’re ready to get them back,” said Jared Strickland, who led the Tribe with 13 points against the Cyclones. “We want to make sure we get that first spot.”

FINDING BALANCE

The Indians had six players with at least seven points.

D-B coach Chris Poore checked a lot of boxes on the good side of things.

“I was pleased with our effort and energy,” Poore said. “Three games in three nights with a late Saturday night game with somewhat less of a crowd than we’ve been having. ... You never know what is going to happen.

“Elizabethton is not a bad team, and the score wasn’t representative of who they are. But I thought it had a lot to do with our guys. We pushed it, we were aggressive, we were physical, and we gave them nothing early. I was really pleased with the guys’ focus coming in to this game.”

LEADING THE BALANCE

Strickland, aka Wildcat, was at the head of a balanced group of scorers.

“It was very good teamwork,” he said. “We were very unselfish with the ball and played really well together.”

Abiah Releford added 12 points and Charlie Browder totaled 10. Marae Foreman added nine, Riamello Wadsworth eight and Chase Jenkins seven.

PULLING AWAY

The Indians jumped ahead 21-8 at the end of the first quarter. They stretched their lead to 29-10 and appeared headed for a big-time blowout.

The Three Rivers Conference-leading Cyclones (18-5) closed to within 12 as the game neared halftime, but D-B finished with a 9-2 run for a 40-21 locker room edge.

Elizabethton coach Lucas Honeycutt said his team didn’t compete well.

“D-B played really well and they are probably the best team in Northeast Tennessee,” Honeycutt said. “But we didn’t show up to play. I don’t know what it is. It’s not been who we are.

“It’s the first time I’ve been really disappointed with what this team has done,” he added. “Even in other losses, we competed hard. There were times we laid down tonight.”

ELIZABETHTON STANDOUTS

Freshman Jake Roberts was sensational. He knocked down a trio of treys and finished with 17 points to lead the Cyclones.

Eric Wilson was his usual steady self, working hard for a 15-point night.

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