JONESBOROUGH — Following an emotional win against archrival Dobyns-Bennett on Thursday night, Sullivan South coach Mark Pendleton was concerned about a possible letdown Saturday against David Crockett.
Those fears turned out to be short-lived.
On the strength of a 23-point fourth quarter, South (13-13, 7-5) improved to .500 on the season with a 64-43 Big 8 Conference win at Crockett.
Early in the contest, the Rebels showed no signs of emotional malaise. Senior guard Michael Harr scored eight points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer that helped South build a 17-9 lead.
Trailing by 10 at the start of the third quarter, Crockett (8-16, 3-9) responded with an impressive 13-2 run. The Pioneers grabbed a 35-34 lead after senior guard Josh Saults sank a 12-foot jump shot.
“We were able to get the lead in the third quarter because we quit letting South crash the boards, getting those second and third shots and we kept them from getting those drives down the paint,” said Crockett coach Richard Tarlton.
“In the third quarter, We made them earn it.”
Crockett’s momentum quickly vanished when South’s Will Blair completed a three-point play from the foul line to retake the lead by one.
South’s offensive onslaught carried into the final quarter. The Rebels connected on 10 field goals in the quarter, outscoring Crockett 23-8.
“After the big win at D-B the other night, to be able to finish at the end (of the season) is really good,” Pendleton said. “We’ve got a little more work to do, but we’re heading in the right direction.”
Harr and Blair each ended the night with 17 points.
Tarlton praised his team’s resilience following its 103-32 loss to Science Hill on Friday night.
“I thought our guys gave great effort in the third quarter,” Tarlton said. “Even as bad as we played in the first half, we were in the game up until the last quarter.
“It just seemed like we ran out of gas at the end.”
South and Crockett currently hold the third- and sixth-place spots in the Big 8. With both teams unlikely to advance in the seeding for the district tournament, they could face each other in the opening rounds.
“I think our teams match up well against each other,” Tarlton said. “If tonight’s game accomplished nothing else, I think it showed us that we have the ability to play well against South.”
In the girls’ game, the Lady Rebels (16-9, 7-6) defeated the Lady Pioneers (1-22, 0-12) 66-47.
Senior post Courtney McKenzie led South with 20 points. Junior post Kaylie Tipton added 19 and was 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Coming off a 104-10 loss to Science Hill on Friday night, Crockett coach Will Conley said his players showed maturity beyond their years.
“Our record does not give an adequate picture of who we are. This team doesn’t quit. Even losing the way we did to Science Hill last night, we didn’t quit,” Conley said. “We’re a very young team and we’ve had three head coaches in the last three years. This is a rebuilding year, but we’re getting closer to where we need to be.”