BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan Central apparently pays little attention to the polls. It has always been difficult for the pundits to draw a bead on its basketball teams.
The Cougars gunned down previously undefeated Dobyns-Bennett on Tuesday night 55-51, laying claim to the Big 9 Conference’s first major upset of the season.
Central (5-2, 2-1) took the battle to the preseason title favorite. After losing the lead in the second half, Tony Vaughn’s Cougars got fired up again in the final minutes and answered a 12-0 D-B run by outscoring the Indians 14-1 at one stretch.
D-B (6-1, 2-1) led for the last time at 49-47. Central made its timely move, with Tyler Devault tying the score on a creative layup and Nathan Vannoy springing open for a fast-break basket.
Vannoy followed with two free throws 50 seconds from the finish. Carl Roberts’ two free throws capped the victory with six seconds to go.
“This is an awesome feeling,’’ Vannoy said backstage. “We have a good year ahead of us.’’
Vannoy’s layup with 1:45 remaining was the back-breaker.
“I deflected a pass into the hands of Roberts,’’ he said. “He got the ball to me as I ran downcourt.’’
The Cougars (5-2, 2-1) were without one of their top players, Patrick Albright, who’s recovering from a broken hand. He has been released to play but will not see action until Friday night against Sullivan East.
“We played a solid 26 or 28 minutes,’’ Vaughn said. “We started
The girls’ game was just as exciting. D-B won 71-63.
Megan Devine blazed in 30 points — just a few shy of Josh Mills’ school record — to lead the Lady Indians (5-2, 3-0).
“We brought a lot of intensity,’’ Devine said. “I didn’t realize how many points I had. That didn’t matter. We have other people who can score.’’
Devine scored 19 in the first half as D-B ran up a 45-33 lead. She buried the Lady Cougars with free throws in the late going.
Central’s defenders ganged up on the Tribe’s 6-foot-1 Blaine Frohlich, giving teammates many scoring opportunities.
“Everybody guards Frohlich and it opens up things for others,’’ throwing the ball inside and running our offense after letting up a bit in the third quarter.
“Vannoy was outstanding on defense, Roberts hit some big treys and Mickey Brown ran the offense well. We want our program to be up there with D-B’s and Science Hill’s.’’
For D-B it was Jordan Edwards scoring early and Justin Sylvester doing it late. Edwards had the Tribe’s first seven points. Sylvester got the bulk of his game-high 17 in a 3½-minute span, propelling D-B from a three-point deficit to a nine-point lead.
“We didn’t come out ready to play. I could see it in the dressing room,’’ D-B coach Charlie Morgan said. “It wasn’t a very good perfor- D-B coach Roger France said. “She does things out there you don’t see. Central’s defense was set up to stop her. She got 14 rebounds.’’
Both squads shot extremely well in the first 16 minutes.
“I don’t think either team could have played any better in that first half,’’ France said.
Alex Clark scored 13 and Juli Osborne 10 for the Lady Indians.
D-B limited Whitney Moody to just 12 points. “We kept fresh people on Moody,’’ France said.
Meanwhile, Erika Blizard set the Central pace with 20 points. Teammate Brittany Fields, who sank a 40-footer at the close of the third quarter, finished with 14. mance all the way around.
“You play like you practice and I think these players learned a lesson from this. We missed some easy baskets. After we got the lead, we didn’t play like a mature team. We failed to execute offensively. It’s disappointing. A loss can get you focused, though.
“Central played an excellent game.’’
Roberts led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points and Devault hit 14.
Edwards, who blocked three shots and grabbed nine rebounds, scored 12 for D-B. Ashlon Adams hit 11.