KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett has one of the state’s tallest teams and coach Charlie Morgan knows how to utilize the height.
Conceivably, he could put a lineup on the floor standing 6-10, 6-6, 6-6, 6-5 and 6-3. However, he chooses to mix and match against opponents.
The Indians, after winning by only two points at Sullivan East early in the season, towered over these same Patriots Tuesday night 83-50 to move one step closer to the Big 9 Conference championship.
D-B (20-2, 13-0) played an incredible second half after leading only 24-20 at intermission. The Tribe outscored East 30-10 in the third quarter.
“That was as good a third quarter as we’ve ever had played against us,’’ East coach John Dyer said. “(The Indians) just took the ball inside and killed us.’’
There was a reason for the second-half uprising. D-B, it seemed, had played in slow motion in the first two quarters.
Morgan, disappointed with those first 16 minutes, delivered a ear-stinging halftime sermon his players didn’t care to hear again.
“We didn’t come ready to play,’’ Morgan said. “Our halftime wasn’t very pleasant. That’s the first time we’ve had to do that this year. The players responded. We got a lot of layups in the second half.’’
The Tribe averaged 3.7 points a minute in the second half.
D-B placed five players in double figures. Bronson Flack scored 15, Jordan Edwards 13 and Justin Sylvester, Marshall Hardy and Darren Riggs 10 each.
The 6-foot-10 Flack scored 11 points after being charged with his fourth personal foul. He also pulled down 10 rebounds for a double double.
Edwards, who grabbed nine rebounds, had 11 points in the second half.
Twenty of D-B’s 39 rebounds came on the offensive end. East had a total of just 18 boards.
The Indians outshot East from the field 49-37 percent.
D-B was also more efficient with the ball, committing just 10 turnovers to East’s 22.
Playmaker Jamel Williams distributed seven assists.
East’s Isaac Snapp managed only six points. He came in with an average of 16. Instead, freshman Jordan Cross led the Patriots with 18.
“(The Indians) put the defense on you,’’ Dyer said. “They’re big and strong. We played so hard in the first half and had a tremendous defense, but D-B’s rebound strength got us in the second half.
“What team in our conference hasn’t been discouraged by them?’’
East (19-7, 11-3) had to put its 20th victory on hold. “We’re having a great year,’’ Dyer said. “This was just another speed bump. We’ll take some time off, regroup and start getting ready for the district tournament.’’
D-B had difficulty getting inside in the early minutes as East collapsed three defenders on the 6-6 Edwards. Once the Indians began hitting outside shots, everything opened up.
It was a night of celebration. D-B observed its Homecoming. Adrian Sensabaugh was selected King and Jacqueline Gaynor was crowned Queen.
The Lady Indians (16-6, 10-3) also relied on an impressive second half to win big 66-35.
Makenzie Lilley and Megan Devine each tossed in 15 points and Holly France added 11 for D-B.
The home team surged to an early 11-point lead only to watch the Lady Patriots pull within four twice.
Leading just 25-20 at the half, D-B shifted gears and outscored the visitors 41-15 after the break.
“We played a lot of people and East became tired,’’ D-B coach Roger France said. “In the third quarter, we got after them. Makenzie picked it up and had a good game.’’
D-B had to battle sickness. Alex Clark sat out because of the flu. Devine, France and Tori Head weren’t feeling well.
“Depth has been a key to our success,’’ France, the coach, said. “We’ve done well since returning from a Chattanooga tournament. I liked the first six minutes of the third quarter tonight — it was a great effort. This is an unselfish team.’’