BLOUNTVILLE — Daniel Boone girls basketball coach Travis Mains gave his team an early Valentine on Friday night.
It was special-delivery “tough love.”
After his team’s sluggish start at Sullivan Central, Mains expressed his disappointment in no uncertain terms.
Duly chastened, his squad hastened to convert an 8-3 first-quarter deficit into a 49-36 Big 8 Conference win over the Lady Cougars at the Dickie Warren Dome.
“Oh yes. He’s all about us giving effort. And when we don’t, he gets really mad at us,” said Lady Trailblazers post Jenny Snyder, who finished with 16 points after being held scoreless in the opening period.
Central (5-20, 2-9) came out in a 2-3 zone that collapsed effectively to deny inside shots not only to Snyder, but also to fellow post player Kathleen Casey.
Allison Littleton’s 3-pointer that initiated scoring with 6:53 to play in the first was the only scoring Boone got while trifectas from Heather Norris and Sydney Norwood staked the Lady Cougars to the early lead.
Between quarters, Mains was livid as he loudly denounced his team’s “sorry effort.”
“We weren’t playing hard and we weren’t playing together. We were getting out-positioned and weren’t playing as a team,” he said.
The Lady ’Blazers knew he wasn’t kidding. They responded in the second quarter, cutting Central’s lead to 14-13 when Snyder created something for herself in the paint. She added a transition layup and two putback buckets before Boone went into intermission trailing 20-19.
“Snyder does a good job. She picked up a loose one and made a 6-foot bank shot. She put that thing right on the glass where it needed to be, nice rotation. She’s got some skill,” Central coach Gary Surcey observed.
After halftime, rejuvenated Boone saw to it that hope turned to ashes in Central’s mouth.
At the opening of the third period, the Lady ’Blazers (14-11, 6-7) took command of the game by scoring 11 unanswered points off forced turnovers in the backcourt.
The first time Central advanced the ball past the timeline in the third, Norwood was called for a charge. The Lady Cougars didn’t get their first bucket of the half until Norris scored with 1:54 left in the quarter.
By then, Boone led 37-22 and was in full control.
Mains had taken a cue from assistant coach Jeremy Jenkins, who coaches the Boone football team.
“If their girl caught the ball, they were coming out of the game,” Mains said. “So it made it real simple: If they wanted to play, they were going to have to deny them the ball. And that strategy works.”
Taylor Campbell added nine points for Boone. Norwood led Central with 12.
In the boys’ game, Ryan Gaitor scored 22 points and the Trailblazers rolled to a 74-51 win.
Dillon Reppart knocked down three of Boone’s seven trifectas en route to 13 points. Adam Edwards added eight points for the Trailblazers (18-8, 8-5).
“(Reppart) has a nice, nice shot. He’s got to get a little better attacking the basket. He’s starting to get a little more aggressive and that’s going to develop his game even more,” said Boone coach Ryan Arnold.
Adam Church scored 12 points to lead Central (4-23, 1-10). Lucas Parker had 11 and Luke Nussman chipped in eight.
“They just shot it well. We’re shooting 30 percent and it’s hard for us to play catch-up,” said Cougars coach Tony Vaughn.