Crockett, which beat the Rebels on Saturday in the championship game of the Hardee’s Classic in Jonesborough, fell behind hot-shooting South 15-1 on Tuesday night and the Rebels never trailed in taking a 66-56 win.
“When we come out so well and we’re hitting everything and passing the ball, the fact that we almost blew an 18-point lead makes it frustrating,” South coach Michael McMeans said. “It’s tough to guard us when we start out like that. However, we have some mental lapses and we get too comfortable. They’re too good of a team to not come back on us.”
The Pioneers shot just 3-for-27 from 3-point range and couldn’t hit anything early on. After switching defenses to a zone in the second quarter, however, the Pioneers got back into the game and trailed by just 32-28 at halftime.
“We got down 18 at one point early in the second quarter and my guys battled,” Crockett coach Cody Connell said. “I came in excited at halftime, but you have to hand it to South. They’re a good basketball team.”
Gannon Chase had a game-high 19 points for the Rebels. Cole Layne had 14 and Cam Necessary had 10.
Dawson Wagner led the Pioneers with 15 points and Donta Hackler had 14. Prince Kollie chipped in 13 and Mack Hensley finished with 11. That was it for Crockett’s offense, which had only one point off the bench.
The Rebels shot abysmal 3-for-10 from the field in the second quarter, which saw them score seven points and commit eight turnovers. Most of the mistakes came from trying to make an unnecessary extra pass or simply throwing the ball to the wrong person.
“It’s frustrating sometimes, but it’s a good win,” McMeans said.
The Pioneers did a good job of taking care of the ball, committing nine turnovers while forcing South into 19.
South played most of the night without senior leader and point guard Ben Diamond, who found foul trouble early in the first half. Diamond finished with nine points — most on free throws — and the Rebels played far better in the second half when he was in the game.
“It’s an encouraging thing to do that,” McMeans said. “We grew up some when that happened and you never know because foul trouble could play a factor down the road.”
LADY REBELS ROLL
In the girls’ matchup, McKenzie Littleton poured in 22 points and made all four of her 3-point attempts to lead the Lady Rebels to the 64-47 victory.
Alex Harris and Chloe Nelson each pitched in 10 for South.
The Lady Pioneers got off to a horrible start, mustering just four points and committing six turnovers in the opening period.
Emily Trivette led Crockett with 16 points, Halle Scott had 12 and Mackenzie Baldwin totaled 11.
Despite committing 19 turnovers themselves, the Lady Pioneers frustrated South and got back in the game by forcing the Lady Rebels into 21 turnovers.