no avatar

Tribe, Vikings advance in district tournament

Bill Lane • Feb 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High, the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, warded off upset bids Thursday night to advance in the District 1-AAA boys basketball tournament.

D-B shot a blazing 60 percent from the field and got double-figure performances from four players in defeating Daniel Boone 64-44.

Tennessee High continually fought back Sullivan Central to win 59-55 on eight free throws in the last 2½ minutes.

D-B will go against Tennessee High at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals. Science Hill, the top seed, will face Sullivan South at 6. All four teams have qualified for the Region 1 tourney.

D-B (23-5) was led by hot-shooting Dustin McConnell’s 18 points. McConnell, who hit four treys, had 14 points before he missed a field goal attempt.

“Usually when I make that first outside shot, I get hot,’’ McConnell said. “When I hit it tonight, I thought I was going to have a good night.

“In tournament play, you can’t take anybody for granted. We came out a little flat but worked the ball inside and got the shots we needed.’’

D-B coach Charlie Morgan, disappointed in his team’s first-half play, was pleased to have another well-rounded attack. Joining McConnell in double figures were Justin Sylvester and Ashlon Adams with 12 points each and Todd Halvorsen with 11.

“Our guys were tighter than a banjo string in the opening half,’’ Morgan said. “We made 10 turnovers and eight were unforced. Boone had us playing a slow style. We stood around too much in our offense.

“We got it going in the second half. We executed better. Two quick steals gave us a little lift.’’

Cody Connell was Boone’s leading scorer with 14 points, followed by Jordan Gray with 11 and Nick Jones with 10.

D-B jumped to a 7-2 lead only to see Gray and Jones rally the Trailblazers (12-16). That’s when McConnell flipped the switch, sinking three straight 3-pointers.

Connell, Jones and Gray collaborated on the next five baskets and had Boone in strong contention until Sylvester and Halvorsen stretched D-B’s lead to eight by halftime.

At the start of the third quarter, the Indians outscored Boone 7-2. Sylvester closed the quarter with three consecutive layups.

Tennessee High (21-9) jumped on Central early but faded.

Taylor Winchell’s basket tied the game 20-20 with 3:15 showing in the first half, only to see the Vikings pull away for a while.

When Nathan Vannoy, Tyler DeVault, Winchell and Patrick Albright got on the same page, the Cougars gave the Bristolians a run for their money.

DeVault closed the gap to 51-50 with a 3-pointer at 3:22 in the fourth quarter. He then put Central in front 52-51 on a pair of free throws 24 seconds later. However, a string of free throws eventually dashed the Cougars’ hopes of winning.

Central (16-13) got within one point when Albright converted a three-point play with 19 seconds remaining. Tyler Place, son of former East Tennessee State star Scott Place, sealed the victory by hitting three throws in the final 18 seconds.

“It was a game of runs,’’ THS coach Roby Witcher said. “Tournaments make kids do funny things. Everybody hangs on to avoid being eliminated. Fortunately, we came out on top.’’

Central coach Tony Vaughn said turnovers hurt his team throughout.

“We got no points after making three straight stops on Tennessee High in the third quarter, and that hurt,” Vaughn said. “Austin Box played good defense on Corey Young, and Albright and Tyler DeVault scored in the clutch.’’

Tre’ Webb led THS with 17 points.

“We have been in situations like this before and were determined that it wasn’t going to be our last game,’’ Webb said.

Recommended for You

    Kingsport Times News Videos