Wallace set the tone early, scoring Dobyns-Bennett’s first five points. Megan Ayers came through with another nine points, while Doran produced throughout the game.
“There must be something about Tennessee High. Olivia played really well when we played them up in Bristol,” Dobyns-Bennett coach Bill Francis said. “I thought all the kids gave a good effort tonight.”
The game stayed close most of the first half with Dobyns-Bennett (22-9) leading 21-10 at the break. The Lady Indians extended the lead in the third quarter after taking their head coach’s advice.
“We were a little tight at the start. It was the first time in a while we’ve been in a district elimination game,” Francis said. “We talked at halftime that we needed to slow down and run our stuff. We did that well in spots.”
Dobyns-Bennett, the No. 3 seed, will face No. 2 seed Daniel Boone on Friday at 7 p.m. in the semifinal round.
Riley Fritts had 10 points in the season-ending loss for Tennessee High (8-23). Kenzie Nickels, Tori Ryan and Kendall Cross all scored six points.
David Crockett 77, Volunteer 55
Donta Hackler was expected to be a force inside for David Crockett, but it was his outside shooting that ultimately sank Volunteer’s hopes for an upset.
Hackler hit five shots from 3-point range and led four Crockett players with 23 points in the Pioneers’ victory.
Scoring all of Crockett’s points in a 12-2 run at the end of the first half and start of the second, Hackler pushed the Pioneers out to a 41-27 lead. It was smooth sailing from that point on for the boys from Jonesborough (19-9), who will play Dobyns-Bennett on Friday night.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes for my team to be successful. I guess tonight it was shooting,” Hackler said. “When you get hot like that, the basket gets bigger. My teammates believed in me and got me the ball.”
David Crockett coach Cody Connell started to question Hackler firing up the 3-point shots on transition baskets. That was, until the shots started to drop.
“We had transition, and I hate shots on transition,” Connell said. “I’m like, ‘We should lay it in every time.’ I was like, ‘What is he doing?’ Then it goes in and I’m like, ‘We will take it.’ He did it like three more times.”
The rest of the Crockett lineup was productive as well.
Eric Dunbar totaled 19 points, while Dawson Wagner and Mack Hensley each scored 15. Hensley also grabbed 13 rebounds, while the Pioneers had 35 rebounds overall. On the defensive side, Crockett forced 23 turnovers.
“When you have a night with four guys in double figures, it’s tough to lose,” Connell said. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to do and I’m proud of them. They played a great game tonight.”
Andrew Knittel scored 14 points to lead the Falcons, who ended their season 9-22. Dakota Hicks had 10 points, including an 80-foot heave for a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer. Garrison Barrett added eight points.
Down by just four near the end of the first half, the Falcons did the best they could to match up against the athletic Pioneers team, which left Wagner able to find Hackler open for the long-range shots.
“We had to give up something. We were trying to take Britton and No. 4 (Hensley) away,” Volunteer coach Mike Poe said. “We chased them off the 3-point line, and we did a good job of that. But the Wagner kid is a really good guard and he controls the tempo of the game.”
Poe reflected on a season in which the Falcons surpassed the win total from the previous year and showed marked improvement.
“I’m here in my second year, and our four seniors have laid a foundation of what to expect from a work-ethic standpoint, coming to practice every day and being responsible,” Poe said. “I think we have a bright future. I think we will be a more competitive next year and even better the year after that.”