KINGSPORT - Sullivan South played some quality basketball early, but Tennessee High's quantity of players eventually took its toll on the short-handed Rebels.
South managed to stay even with the Vikings for two quarters, but Tennessee High's depth and defensive intensity helped the Vikings earn a 54-41 Big 9 Conference road win on Friday.
With injured starters Reid Powell and Matthew Crowe looking on from the bench, South got off to a hot start, hitting six 3-pointers against Tennessee High's 2-3 zone in the first half.
Henry Ringley led the charge, opening the contest with a four-point play after being fouled in the process of knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing.
With a nine-man rotation at his disposal, Tennessee High coach Roby Witcher decided to make a couple of adjustments for the second half.
The first move was to make the Vikings' patented zone more active in an effort to force South's shooters two steps behind the 3-point arc.
The second move was to pick up the pace.
"We pushed the tempo to get their legs tired, and they stopped making those shots," Witcher said.
As Tennessee High (14-6, 6-3) threw a wave of maroon jerseys at its undermanned opponent, South (6-11, 3-6) struggled to find any offensive rhythm over the final two quarters.
After scoring 27 points in the first half, the Rebels could muster only five field goals and 14 points in the second half - which included a five-minute scoring drought near the end of the fourth quarter.
"The kids played extremely hard," South coach Mark Pendleton said. "The difference in the game was defensive rebounds. We got killed on the boards."
While Tennessee High's depth wore down South, the Vikings' starters packed most of the scoring punch, combining for all but six of their 54 points.
Thomas Turnbull led Tennessee High with 13 points while Corey Young added 12.
Ringley hit five 3-pointers, scoring a game-high 17 points to lead South. Aaron Ringley pitched in with 13 points.
Pendleton said his team sorely missed Powell's offensive presence in the paint as it would have forced the Vikings to keep their zone packed in.
Powell sat out with chronic back pain that was aggravated in Tuesday's game against David Crockett, but Pendleton expects to have his big man back in time for Tuesday's matchup with Daniel Boone.
Depth was also a factor in the girls' game. The Lady Vikings used their deep bench to pull away from the Lady Rebels and pick up a 54-39 victory.
Although South started the game on an 11-1 run, Tennessee High worked its way back into it, using a 13-3 run of its own at the end of the second quarter to grab a 25-21 lead at the break.
South led 29-27 on a Natalie Pickwell layup midway through the third quarter, but a subsequent 12-2 Tennessee High run proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back.
Lady Vikings coach Kim Bright said her team did a good job of using pressure to wear down the Lady Rebels and take away any easy scoring opportunities.
"We pressed them to slow them down in transition," Bright said.
South coach Josh Tate said the his team got caught up in Tennessee High's fast pace early and it cost the Lady Rebels.
"We were trying to (slow it down)," Tate said. "We had a good game going, but we got in foul trouble and started taking quick shots."
Tennessee High's guard tandem of Danielle Montgomery and Nakita Jones did plenty of damage. Montgomery finished up with 20 points while Jones added 14.
Ashton Kaylor took care of things inside for the Lady Vikings (17-3, 8-1), scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 boards to record a double-double.
Pickwell and Grace Collins led the way for South (9-7, 4-5) with 13 points each.
Bright said with the end of the regular season fast approaching, the goal is for her team to continue to effectively utilize its bench.
"We're trying to involve everybody and develop depth by tournament time," she said. "The margin of victory is not as important right now as developing depth."