BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Big 8 Conference Jamboree’s new format introduced Thursday night at Viking Hall was a hit with coaches and fans alike.
For the first time, the boys and girls basketball events were played together. In fact, the scores from each school were combined to determine game winners.
Girls played the first two quarters and their score was picked up by the boys, who were on the court for the last two periods.
The jamboree unofficially ushered in the high school season in Northeast Tennessee.
In overall scoring, Tennessee High defeated Volunteer 44-36, Dobyns-Bennett beat Sullivan Central 59-41, Sullivan South won over David Crockett 33-30, and Science Hill toppled Daniel Boone 58-39.
Girls wins went to Tennessee High over Volunteer 22-15, to D-B over Central 32-23, to South 20-10 over Crockett and to Science Hill 19-10 over Boone.
In boys action, Tennessee High slipped past Volunteer 22-21, D-B turned back Central 27-18, Crockett surprised South 20-13 and Science Hill outdid Boone 39-29.
“I like this format,’’ D-B girls coach Roger France said. “It’s a good way to have it. The jamboree is a showcase that enables everybody to see the boys and girls play.
“From what I saw tonight, I think our race is going to be pretty even. Our kids played hard and had a good time.’’
Tennessee High’s girls have won the last five conference championships. The Lady Vikings’ coach, Barry Wade, had graduation exercises take away a majority of his players. He was relieved by what he saw.
“At times we looked like dynamite,’’ he said. “At other times we looked like we really are. We’re so young. This was the first time a lot of the girls had worn a varsity uniform. It was better for that to happen here tonight than when it will actually count.’’
Mark Pendleton, the South boys coach, concurred: “It was kind of a dress rehearsal. The kids got a chance to put on their uniforms and play before a crowd.
“This is my eighth year at South and the way we’ve played in other jamborees was never an indicator of how we would compete during the season. I noticed that some teams that finished in the middle of the pack in years past have improved. There are some big players in the league.’’
South may have lost its veteran point guard, Bailee Dick, for a while. He suffered an ankle injury.
Volunteer coach Todd Whittemore also liked having the boys and girls teams at the same site. “The format is good except for not starting the score over, but these were just exhibitions. I was impressed with our intensity and the way we switched on defense. I feel pretty good about the way our boys played.’’
In 96 minutes of competition, there was only one dunk shot. Jaylen Allen of Science Hill slipped around Boone’s defense for a slam just three minutes into their game.
Three-point contest winners were Haley Hensley with 15 treys and Will Carter with 16. Both play for Science Hill.
Three of the schools — Tennessee High, South and Boone — were without athletes who are still competing in the TSSAA football playoffs.