MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet’s girls tried to fight tooth-and-nail with Riverdale’s powerhouse. But the combination of the Lady Warriors’ pressure and a combined 39 points from two BCS-level signees sent the visitors back to Murfreesboro with a 57-40 victory.
The final score wasn’t indicative of how close the game was played as the Lady Warriors’ largest lead was 19 at 57-38.
But Riverdale led from start to finish. Tennessee-signee Alexis Middleton drained 20 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and Clemson-bound Shelbie Davenport dropped in 19, including three triples and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line as the Lady Warriors, winners of two straight state championships and 3 of the last four, improved to 6-1 while handing the Lady Bears their first loss following five opening wins.
“We went through a stretch in the game when we went through a bad spot and couldn’t catch back up,” Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer said. “We were playing catch-up.
“I was proud of my kids for hanging in there and battled back. We cut the score several times in the game, but then we had one stretch we just couldn’t cut the deficit down again.”
Mt. Juliet turned the ball over five times before the Lady Bears got off their first shot. But Riverdale led just 4-0.
Middleton quickly heated up with 13 first-period points, capped by a steal and layup just before the buzzer to open an 18-8 lead.
“I had on my board five seniors starting for Riverdale tonight,” Fryer said. “They have an experienced bunch. They generate points through turnovers and your mistakes.”
Mt. Juliet scored the first nine points of the second quarter to close within 18-17 on Ron DeGray’s putback. But Riverdale scored six straight free throws to stop the run.
Center Sally McCabe scored seven of her 15 points in the second period as Mt. Juliet trailed 30-24 at halftime.
Two free throws by McCabe drew the Lady Bears within 34-31 before Riverdale widened the margin back to 46-36 going into the fourth.
“There were times we played really well and there’s a lot we can learn from this game,” Fryer said.
Forward Ron DeGray supported McCabe with 12 points while twin sister Rae DeGray finished with five, Tyia Waller and Skye Riggan a three-pointer apiece and Karlymarie Dyer two.
Mt. Juliet will open District 9-AAA play at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
“We got a stretch of three district games and they’re more important than this game,” Fryer said. “This is a learning experience for us to see how we match up with one of the best teams in the state. At times, I thought we matched up pretty well, but we have a long way to go.”
Lebanon loses leading scorer, wins over LaVergne
LAVERGNE — Playing its first game after its leading scorer transferred out, Lebanon jumped to an early lead and pulled away to a 75-46 road win over LaVergne on Tuesday night.
The Devilettes lost Abby Wright, who broke 20 points in each of Lebanon’s first four games, including as recently as Saturday. The junior has transferred to Smyrna’s Lancaster Christian, a non-TSSAA school not bound by the state association’s eligibility rules on transfers.
On this night, Lebanon didn’t miss Wright as the Devilettes seldom missed from the floor, hitting 62 percent of their shots while holding LaVergne to 38 percent. They fired out to a 22-8 first-quarter lead and were up 34-20 at halftime. It was 55-34 going into the fourth before returning home 2-3 for the season.
Madison Sloan scored 17 points, Kelsey Yarbrough 14 and Morgan Bruce 13, including a pair of three-pointers, for Lebanon. Kristen Dedman drilled three triples for her nine while Ireland Elie scored six, Kendra Brown and Jemeka Dowell five each, Bailey Sells four and Jordyne Denney two.
Latoya Darby dropped in 21 points and Jasmine Smith 16 for LaVergne.
Lebanon will return home to open District 9-AAA play against Mt. Juliet at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
Central suffers first loss
COOKEVILLE — Cookeville handed Wilson Central its first loss of the season 50-35 Tuesday night.
The Lady Cavaliers used a 16-5 second quarter to turn a 12-10 deficit [Central opened the game with a 10-4 lead] into a 26-17 halftime lead. They widened the margin further to 42-26 going into the fourth as Central slipped to 2-1.
“They’re well coached, hard nosed,” Lady Wildcat coach Bud Brandon said of the Lady Cavaliers. “They are a physical team.
“We’re having some mental inconsistencies.”
Karagan Turner tossed in 18 pints and Zoe Sims 11 for Cookeville.
Hannah Brewer hit three 3-pointers in leading the Lady Wildcats with 14 points while Kayla Jackson and Kendall Spray [was injured at the end of the first quarter] each threw in three and Addison Byrd two.
Central will travel to Hendersonville on Friday for the District 9-AAA opener at 6:30 p.m.
Tigerettes caged at Jackson County
GAINESBORO — Defending Class A state champion Jackson County jumped to a first-quarter lead over Watertown and never relinquished it in a 63-39 victory Tuesday night.
The Lady Devils led 14-9 following the first quarter, 27-18 at halftime and 44-29 going into the fourth as they climbed to 6-0.
Kentucky-signee Jaycee Coe tossed in 23 points for Jackson County while Kassidy Allen scored 16 and Katie Hall 13, including three 3-pointers.
Center Bobbi Staats scored 12 points for Watertown while Mya Huddleston had seven, Katie Dalton five; Bay Cole, Alicia Jennings and Mya Gaines four each and Shelby Mofield a three-pointer.
Watertown will play host to Westmoreland at 6 p.m. Saturday in a makeup game.
Friendship falls at MTCS
MURFREESBORO — Middle Tennessee Christian collected a 55-28 triumph over visiting Friendship Christian on Tuesday night.
The Lady Cougars led 12-8 following the first quarter, 28-14 at halftime and 38-18 through three as Friendship fell to 0-4.
Ashlynd Wilkerson tossed in 21 points for Middle Tennessee Christian while Jordan Faulkner flipped in 10, including a pair of three-pointers.
Abby Hinton led the Lady Commanders with 10 points while Ashlyn Pittman pu tin nine and Taylor Patterson and Rebecca Pettross four each.
Friendship will return home to play host to Donelson Christian at 6 p.m. Friday at the Bay Family Sportsplex.
Orr’s 18 leads Lady Saints to road win
MURFREESBORO — Mt. Juliet Christian won a low-scoring 39-29 contest at Providence Christian on Tuesday night.
The Lady Saints led 11-7 following the first quarter, 15-13 at halftime and 26-15 going into the fourth as Mt. Juliet Christian climbed to 7-2.
Meridith Orr sank a pair of three-pointers in leading the Lady Saints with 18 points. Caroline Scott, Amanda Wall and Lauren Wankel each finished with five, Carly Hummel four and Abi Hildabrand two.
Emma Christiansen’s 12 points led the Lady Lions.
Mt. Juliet Christian will travel to Eagleville at 4 p.m. Saturday in a game which was moved back from Friday due to a drama production at MJCA.