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Indians, Watauga Valley set for key slate of games

Douglas Fritz • Jan 7, 2019 at 11:13 PM

Basketball gets serious this week for Dobyns-Bennett while the Watauga Valley Conference title chase should take on a defined shape.

Overall, it’s a key slate of games in Northeast Tennessee.


Sitting in first place in the Big 7 Conference boys race, Dobyns-Bennett has taken care of all pressing needs to this point in the season. The Indians are 12-0 against in-state competition.

But this is a big-step week for D-B, which travels to face Daniel Boone on Tuesday before visiting Viking Hall on Friday. The game against the Trailblazers should be a challenge because Boone features Chad Heglar, one of the area’s best scorers with an average of 22 points per game. Heglar gives Boone a chance to stay in the game even against a solid overall squad like D-B.

Then on Friday, the Indians face the team expected to challenge them hard for the league title. Tennessee High appears to have enough overall ability to be a legitimate threat to the Tribe.


It gets real as Hampton hits the road to meet University High on Tuesday. Both boys teams are 2-0 in league play and have that title-type sparkle in their eyes.

University High is coming off an important road win against rival Unaka while Hampton was lights-out rocking the gym in Saturday’s blowout of Happy Valley. Whoever wins will have an important step up on the rest of the league.

However, Friday’s schedule provides ample challenges for both of these teams. University High hosts Cloudland and Hampton visits North Greene.

Late Friday night, the conference picture should be more focused.

Boys Basketball Games of the Week


Sullivan East at Sullivan South

Hampton at University High


Science Hill at Elizabethton

Dobyns-Bennett at Tennessee High

Johnson County at Sullivan East

Cloudland at University High

Hampton at North Greene

Sullivan East backed itself into a corner with a pair of early losses in the Three Rivers Conference. Currently sitting in a fourth-place tie with Sullivan South, the Patriots can’t afford another league setback.

But the Rebels have been playing tough all season, and are coming off a tough loss against first-place Elizabethton. It was a game South had in hand with an 18-point third-quarter lead, but the Rebels were unable to close the deal.

After the South task, the Patriots get a home encounter with a tough Johnson County team. It’s a big week for Sullivan East.

Boys basketball rankings

Sullivan East edges past Daniel Boone into the No. 6 spot in this week’s boys basketball top 10.

Team (W-L) — Prv

1. Dobyns-Bennett (14-2) — 1

2. Elizabethton (10-3) — 2

3. Tennessee High (13-5) — 3

4. Science Hill (9-9) — 4

5. Johnson County (11-5) — 5

6. Sullivan East (13-7) — 7

7. Daniel Boone (6-6) — 6

8. Sullivan South (13-6) — 8

9. University High (11-3) — 9

10. Hampton (12-6) — 10

Girls Basketball Games of the Week


Dobyns-Bennett at Daniel Boone

Johnson County at Happy Valley

Unaka at Cloudland


Sullivan Central at Unicoi County


Jefferson County at Dobyns-Bennett

It’s still early in the Big 7 Conference title chase, but Tuesday is a crucial game for Daniel Boone. The Lady Trailblazers are at home and could tie the Lady Indians for first place. A loss means Boone would be two games down and still facing a road game against D-B. …

Johnson County’s double-overtime loss to Sullivan Central showed the Lady Longhorns mean business this year. But Tuesday provides an interesting road test for Johnson County against a team that has won six of its last seven games. …

Unaka and Cloudland both have eyes on North Greene, and their head-to-head encounter is very important in keeping pace with the Lady Huskies.

Girls basketball rankings

The top 10 teams in this week’s girls basketball rankings remained unchanged.

Team (W-L) — Prv

1. Dobyns-Bennett (14-3) — 1

2. Science Hill (15-2) — 2

3. Daniel Boone (9-6) — 3

4. Sullivan Central (11-9) — 4

5. Johnson County (6-6) — 5

6. Cherokee (12-5) — 6

7. Unicoi County (8-4) — 7

8. Cloudland (9-5) — 8

9. Happy Valley (10-5) — 9

10. Sullivan South (10-8) — 10

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