KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett got all it wanted from a tenacious Daniel Boone squad on Tuesday night inside the Buck Van Huss Dome.
Luckily for the Indians, they did everything they needed to down the stretch to escape with a crucial Big 8 Conference victory.
The Tribe got some breathing room thanks to a 22-point outburst in the third quarter and made just enough plays down the stretch to claim a 60-54 boys basketball victory over a hard-nosed Trailblazer squad that refused to fade away.
“I knew that Boone is a seasoned club, and they’ve been playing really good basketball,” D-B coach Charlie Morgan said. “We had to come out here tonight and really compete. We weren’t going to get anything easy tonight, so we had to be sure we got our heads up and executed.”
After mustering just 24 points in the first half, the Tribe took a two-point lead into the locker room. When the Indians emerged, they found a few ways to gash Boone’s defense.
John Fulkerson came alive in the third frame, dishing out some nice interior passes to open up the offense. Fulkerson also scored eight of his 10 points in the period to help the Tribe open up a 46-37 lead.
Morgan saw the third quarter as the difference in the game.
“What was really nice about that quarter was that John Fulkerson made some nice interior passes and got us some easy baskets,” he said.
For the Trailblazers, the third quarter put them in a hole they couldn’t manage to climb out of over the final eight minutes.
“I thought our defensive intensity in the first half was phenomenal,” said Boone coach Ryan Arnold. “In the second half, we probably got a little tired and helped up a few times.
“We just missed some assignments. (We were) almost trying to play too hard, and we got out of position.”
Fulkerson, Thomas Palmer and Makale Foreman each scored 10 points to pace a balanced attack for D-B (15-4, 7-1).
On the other side, Ryan Gaitor got in early foul trouble, forcing Jacob Littleton to bear much of the scoring burden for Boone (15-7, 5-4).
Gaitor recovered to score 12 points while Littleton led the way with a game-high 21 for the Trailblazers, who despite the loss have won 10 of their last 12 games.
In the girls’ contest, a comeback bid by the Lady Trailblazers also came up just short. The Lady Indians squandered a 15-point lead but recovered in time to preserve a key 68-64 win.
Boone rallied from 15 down in the second quarter to briefly take a one-point lead near the end of the third period. With 3:30 remaining in the contest, the Tribe was clinging to a 63-62 lead before outscoring the Lady ’Blazers 5-2 the rest of the way.
“I thought we came out after halftime and took control of the game again, but they’re not going to go away and they play hard,” D-B coach Roger France said of Boone. “You’ve just got to find a way to win the basketball game. We found a way to get ahead right there at the end and win the game.”
Sasha Morrisette led the Lady Indians (15-5, 5-3) with 24 points. Courtney Depew and Cydnee Morrisette added 16 each.
Allison Sheffey and Taylor Carmichael paced Boone (11-10, 3-6) with 13 points each.