BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan Central and Volunteer boys basketball teams were polar opposites Tuesday night.
Central could do little wrong. Volunteer did little right.
The Cougars averaged nearly three points a minute over the first three quarters in an 82-70 Big 9 Conference win over the Falcons.
Four starters — Patrick Albright (14 points), Carl Roberts (13), Tyler DeVault (12) and Jason Rock (11) — scored in double figures for the hot-shooting Cougars, who made 57 percent of their field goal attempts. They hit 7 of 17 shots outside the 3-point arc.
After barely outscoring the Falcons 23-22 in the first quarter, the Cougars continued to flourish while Volunteer’s offense wilted.
“Our kids have grown up some,’’ Central coach Tony Vaughn said. “They’ve had their minds focused on basketball. They’ve been shooting a lot in practice. We really played well tonight and shot the ball better than we have all season.’’
Central’s game plan was to allow Volunteer one shot per trip down the floor. That’s about the way it turned out.
The Cougars (8-9, 4-4) led by 19 points before applying a stall in the late going. From the word go, they were on the move with their fast-break attack. Many of their inside shots were hardly contested.
Volunteer’s Keith Cradic managed 19 points but got only five after halftime as Rock and Roberts took turns chasing him. Aaron Bennett had 13 points but the rest of the Falcons’ scoring was scattered in single digits.
A rash of turnovers prevented them from having any offensive consistency.
But it was defensively that the Falcons (6-9, 4-4) were seemingly listless. So said their coach, Todd Whittemore.
“Our defense was horrible,’’ Whittemore insisted. “Our actions showed that we don’t have the want-to. We’re not a team. It’s embarrassing, it’s frustrating.
“That first half was the worst defense I’ve ever been associated with — either as a coach or a player,” he added.
“I have no idea what happened tonight. I wish I did. If I had a knife, I’d probably be under suicide watch right now.’’
With a vital game forthcoming against Dobyns-Bennett — the state’s fifth-ranked Class AAA team in The Associated Press poll — Whittemore indicated it’s time for an attitude adjustment.
Whitney Moody fired in 23 points and Erika Blizzard gave a clinic in defense as Central won over 54-34 over Volunteer in the girls’ game.
Laken Gilliam kept it from being humiliating. She stood out for the Lady Falcons (2-10, 1-7) with a double-double — 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Central (8-9, 3-5) gradually pulled away from an early 11-10 lead. During a seven-minute stretch of the first half, Moody scored 10 points. Again in the late going, she had a hot hand.
Volunteer’s shooting went south. The Lady Falcons sank just 23 percent of their field goal attempts.