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59 and counting
Jan 17, 2007 12:00 am
MT. JULIET — Not only did No. 4 Wilson Central have to take on No. 3 Mt. Juliet on Friday, they did so on the Lady Bears' homecourt.
Officially dubbed Tommy Martin Gym, it's had the unofficial moniker of "The Cave" for a few years now.
And it's been a cave for 59 straight opponents dating to a Jan. 2002 victory by Beech.
Wilson Central fared no better Friday night as the Lady Wildcats suffered their sixth loss in the building, all during the current streak, succumbing to the Lady Bears 76-70 before a packed house.
"The atmosphere and the crowd, that's going to make kids play with a lot of excitement and just the idea of playing on our homecourt and defending the winning streak made our kids come out and give great effort," Fryer said of Friday's win and the five-year-old streak. "I'm awfully proud of not only this team, but the teams before this when they were able to keep that streak alive. We take a lot of pride in playing on this gym floor and it's important to win our home games, especially in the district, and I think that's led to a lot of our success the last few years."
K.C. VanAtta gave the Lady Bears a first-quarter lead with three 3-pointers. She finished with five triples and a game-high 24 points as Mt. Juliet moved to 18-1. Ironically, her dad, Gary, gave the gym that moniker in his one season as boy's coach before taking over as Trevecca's women's coach. Gary VanAtta's Trevecca women will take on Cumberland in a battle of nationally-ranked NAIA teams at 2 p.m. today at CU's Dallas Floyd Center.
Bud Brandon has never won in The Cave in six seasons with the Lady Wildcats. But he loves playing there anyway.
"It's a great atmosphere," Brandon said. "I wish we could play every game down here all year long. It'd be good for our team."
The boy's game which followed didn't feature two ranked teams. But even with a FEW less spectators, it was even closer than the girl's as the Wildcats came from behind in the fourth quarter to prevail 52-51.
"It's been a great rivalry," Wildcat coach Troy Bond said. "These games could go either way every night probably we play. There might be a few times where one of us would win big."
Mt. Juliet led most of the second half after trailing the majority of the first half.
"Both teams fought and if you can't fight in that game, then you shouldn't be playing basketball," Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen said.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.