KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett’s basketball team couldn’t sustain a smooth offensive flow on Friday night inside the Buck Van Huss Dome.
But what the Indians lacked in offense, they made up for with hustle and grit. That was enough to carry the Tribe to a 52-37 victory over Sullivan South in a spirited Big 8 Conference clash between the neighboring schools.
D-B broke open the game with an 11-0 run to start the second quarter and maintained its edge the rest of the way despite an off night by Connor Mitchell.
“I told the guys in order to get the job done tonight, they were going to have to give that extra effort to beat South,” D-B coach Charlie Morgan said. “They’ve got a good ballclub, and if we didn’t come out there and take care of business early, we could be in for a dogfight.”
South certainly held up its end of the bargain for the first eight minutes, leading 13-12 at the end of one quarter. But once the second quarter started, Thomas Palmer swung the game in the Tribe’s favor.
The senior guard came up with a quick five points to put D-B ahead. The Tribe proceeded to ramp up the defensive intensity, which allowed D-B to hold South scoreless for the first 4:35 of the second period.
“Palmer is a senior, and that is what we expect of him, to bring the whole game to the court,” Morgan said. “When we get consistent play out of him, that will really help us on the perimeter.”
D-B ended up outscoring South 19-6 in the quarter to take a 12-point lead into the half. It was a frustrating period for the Rebels, and South coach Mark Pendleton said offensive execution was the culprit for his team’s uneven play.
“You’ve got to have execution, and not have four guys running the play and one guy not knowing what the play is,” Pendleton said. “That’s what it boiled down to, about three possessions in the first half, and that was critical in the second quarter because you’re not getting shots up — you’re turning the ball over.”
Despite their troubles, the Rebels managed to stay within striking distance for most of the game. Palmer led the Tribe with 14 points, but South kept the rest of D-B’s roster out of double figures in the scoring column.
That included Mitchell, who has been a handful for everyone in the league so far. Mitchell finished with only eight points on Friday, however, and Pendleton was pleased that his team kept him in check.
“The biggest thing we wanted to do was not give him easy scores,” Pendleton said. “Make him score over you, make him try to come over your back to rebound. I thought our guys did a good enough job of playing strong inside.”
Evan Headrick led South (10-9, 5-2) with 11 points and Michael Harr added nine.
A.J. Anderson also had eight points for D-B (12-4, 6-1).
Unfortunately for South, the girls’ contest followed a similar script.
The Lady Rebels jumped out to an 11-6 lead at the end of the first quarter only to be outscored 13-0 by the Lady Indians once the second quarter got under way.
Once ahead, the Tribe held on for a 47-37 victory after keeping South scoreless for the first 5:43 of the second period.
Kayla Tipton was the bright spot for South (13-6, 4-3), scoring a game-high 15 points.
Sisters Sasha and Cydnee Morrisette each scored 14 points to pace the Lady Indians (12-5, 4-3), who played much better defense than they did in a loss at Tennessee High on Tuesday.
“We did a pretty good job, especially in the second quarter,” D-B coach Roger France said. “It was better, but it still wasn’t good as we want it to be.”