BLUFF CITY - When the going got tough, Dobyns-Bennett went small to pick up a big win on the road Tuesday.
The Indians used a four-guard offense to find the gaps in Sullivan East's zone and roared to a 70-50 Big 9 Conference victory.
After falling behind 20-16 early in the second quarter, D-B coach Charlie Morgan inserted Coty Sensabaugh, Brad Blackwell, Josef Throp, Justin Sylvester and fleet-footed post Logan Williamson back into the contest.
The unit got into the passing lanes on defense and sliced through East's zone on offense, spurring a 23-9 run that gave the Indians a 10-point halftime advantage.
Sensabaugh was a force for the Tribe (17-7, 10-3), scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, dishing out four assists and grabbing three steals.
Although the smaller unit had started the game, Morgan said the lineup didn't pay off until re-entering in the second period.
"The defensive intensity picked up midway through the second quarter," Morgan said. "I wasn't happy with our defense in the first quarter. We were trading baskets with them."
The result of D-B's lackluster defensive effort in the first quarter was a tie game, and East (11-16, 5-9) seemed to have plenty of momentum heading into the second period.
But fatigue combined with a couple of players battling illness and injury took its toll on the Patriots before halftime.
"The last two minutes of the second quarter were key," East coach John Dyer said. "They're a very good basketball team, and you can't let a great team get on a run like that."
The Indians picked up right where they left off after halftime, knocking down a couple easy baskets and outscoring the Patriots 17-7 in the third quarter to build a 20-point lead.
With one starter playing through injury and another through illness, Dyer said his team showed him a lot of effort.
"Our guys played their hearts out tonight," he said. "I'm proud of them."
The Indians now have three conference road games standing between them and the district tournament, including a showdown at Science Hill next Tuesday.
"Playing on the road doesn't bother our guys," Morgan said. "The bottom line is that we have to get better as a team."
Williamson had a solid night for D-B, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbing nine boards while Justin Sylvester added 11 points. Throp had seven points and seven assists for the Tribe.
Kyle Barnes scored 21 points for the Patriots while Austin Faver added 11.
In girls action, Dobyns-Bennett was looking to make a statement after a poor performance in a loss to Tennessee High on Friday.
After leading 8-4 early, the Lady Indians scored 30 of the next 33 points and cruised to a 62-37 win.
The 30-3 run started in the first quarter and ended when Kelsey Trivett knocked down a jumper for East with 6:20 to go in the third.
The dominating performance was a result of tenacious defensive pressure that forced plenty of turnovers and easy baskets.
"We were disappointed at the Tennessee High game," D-B coach Roger France said. "But we had a good day of practice yesterday, came in with intensity in the first half and got out with a victory."
D-B led by as many as 33 points before letting the foot of the gas midway through the third quarter.
Blaine Frohlich led the Tribe (17-8, 9-4) with 13 points and nine boards while Tori Head added eight points and six assists.
Trivett paced East (8-18, 4-10) with six points.