Monday night at the Buck Van Huss Dome, the Indians had 32 minutes to do something about it.
Center Jordan Edwards scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds as D-B outgunned Tennessee High 56-40 in Big 9 Conference action.
The Lady Indians didn’t fare quite so well in Monday’s opener, falling 50-45 to the unbeaten Lady Vikings.
Edwards, who was held to 12 points at Central, was an impressive 10-of-12 from the field, blocked four shots and basically terrorized the Vikings (6-4, 3-1) in the paint on the defensive end.
“He’s a big, strong guy and it’s hard to teach kids not to fade away from that,” said Tennessee High coach Roby Witcher.
“He doesn’t even have to jump sometimes. He just gets in there and gets his arms up. He’s a very good post player, very skilled and very experienced.”
After getting humbled at Blountville, Edwards was in a very assertive mood.
“We just didn’t have the right mind-set coming into the last game. Tonight we were totally focused,” said Edwards, whose crowd-pleasing dunk off a Todd Halvorsen feed with 4:19 left in the second quarter initiated an eight-point run that had the Indians leading 28-13 at intermission.
“It’s not about who’s better. It’s about how bad you want it. I really wanted it tonight. I wanted a whole lot of redemption for our team.”
“I didn’t give a whole lot of leadership in the last loss and I was just trying to come out and give us some tonight,” added the 6-foot-7 senior.
Ashlon Adams added 10 points down low for the Indians (7-1, 3-1), grabbing five boards. Halvorsen scored nine points, distributing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. Dustin McConnell dished out five assists, also collecting five rebounds. Justin Sylvester had three assists and six rebounds.
“We’ve told our perimeter guys, you knock down a few shots and that’s going to take a bit of heat off our post guys,” said D-B coach Charlie Morgan. “Last year we had four post guys we could rotate in there. This year we have two. That does add a bit more pressure.”
Morgan was at least 75 percent pleased with his squad’s performance. Tennessee High outscored D-B 18-16 in the third quarter — the Vikings’ only double-figure frame. A perimeter spree by Tre Webb and Corey Young helped whittle the lead to 44-31 headed into the final stanza.
“I can’t say we played for 32 minutes because we had that little lull in the third quarter. I think it’s because we didn’t get down and get after it like we want,” Morgan said. “When you get a team down, you’ve got to keep applying the pressure, and we sort’ve backed off a little bit there.”
Young finished with 13 points for Tennessee High.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Vikings managed to outmuscle the Lady Indians in the backcourt as well as in the posts.
“That’s typical. Our guards play really hard all the time and our post players really stepped up,” said Tennessee High coach Barry Wade, whose squad led 25-19 at the half. “We challenged them to come down here and challenge their big kids. I thought we did a good job doing that.”
Blakely Burleson and Danielle Montgomery scored 12 points apiece for the Lady Vikings (8-0, 4-0). Kimberly Wood put up 10.
D-B (5-3, 3-1) trailed by 13 headed into the fourth quarter. A Holly France 3 ignited a seven-point Kingsport surge with six minutes remaining, but it was the Lady Indians’ final comeback bid. Back- to-back trifectas by Burleson put the dagger in them.
“I thought they gave us chances to get back in the game and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity,” said Lady Indians coach Roger France, who got 17 points from Megan Devine.