KINGSPORT — In the final minutes of Tuesday night’s Big 9 Conference basketball opener, the Dobyns-Bennett boys held a double-digit lead over Volunteer.
While one coach smiled and pumped his fist, the counterpart sat stone-faced with his arms crossed — and the latter was at the helm of the winning team.
The Falcons rallied from a 20-point deficit to make it a five-point game before the Indians got some breathing room en route to a 66-51 victory that completed a D-B varsity sweep.
“It’s sort of disappointing,” said Charlie Morgan, whose Indians emerged unbeaten from the Hoopfeast tournament held Thanksgiving weekend in Knoxville. “We played so well in Knoxville because the competition was a little bit more. That’s what concerned me tonight, that we would take them lightly.
“With a senior club, you wouldn’t expect them to do a few of the things they did out there.” The Tribe (4-0, 1-0) started strong, opening the game on a 12-0 run and holding Volunteer scoreless for the first 4:58. D-B held a 52-32 advantage late in the third period, but the Falcons embarked on a 17-2 tear that bridged the quarter break and made it a 54-49 ballgame with 4:50 to go. “We got a chance,” Volunteer coach Todd Whittemore said of his mind-set at that juncture. “We said we wanted to play like men and we said we wanted to show heart. We wanted to prove that we’re not the eighth-best team in this league.”
After a 3-pointer by Aaron Bennett made it a five-point game, D-B scored a quick six points on buckets by Ashlon Adams, Mark Halvorsen and Jordan Edwards. The Tribe went into a stall with two minutes remaining, forcing Volunteer to foul.
Edwards paced D-B with a double-double, 15 points and 12 rebounds. Adams, a transfer from Science Hill, had 14 points and eight boards. Dustin McConnell added 13 points.
Cody Moore led Volunteer (2-3, 0-1) with 19 points — 15 of them on 3-pointers. Bennett and Christian Green added 10 points apiece, though the latter brought an extra element to the table with his fearless point guard play despite being an undersized sophomore.
“He does things that I don’t teach,” said Whittemore, a post during his playing days. “He’s a point guard and he might end up being one of the best ones that I’ve coached.
“He’s got braces and his lips are constantly bleeding in practice, in games. He just doesn’t care.” Cameron Trent blocked six shots for the Falcons.
Strong frontcourt play and a withering press provided a winning combination for the D-B girls, who eased past Volunteer by a 63-43 margin.
The Lady Indians (4-0, 1-0) led 19-2 after one quarter and Volunteer never got back within single digits.
“We didn’t score when we did break the press,” Lady Falcons coach Jerry Myers said. “That kind of allows the other team to press you for free if you don’t make them pay when you break it. That allows them to press the whole game.”
Three Tribe posts combined for 46 points: Blaine Frohlich had 18, Megan Devine 16 and Juli Osborne 12. Holly France added 11 points from the perimeter.
“I thought first half we were real aggressive, played a lot of people, played with a lot of excitement. We played like we’re capable of playing,” D-B coach Roger France said. “Second half I think we relaxed a little bit and they played better, to their credit.”
Shanque Price led Volunteer (1-4, 0-1) with 12 points.