Jacob Williams is Wilson Central’s career scoring leader. But it was his defense which set up the Wildcats’ 54-52 double-overtime win at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court before a packed bi-partisan house Friday night.
With every eye in the building focused on the floor, Williams’ steal at midcourt set up Jon Rosshirt’s short jumper in the lane to break a 52-52 tie with 1.5 seconds left.
The decision came after Lebanon guard KeShawn Abston forced overtime with a running one-hander for a 43-43 tie and almost gave the Blue Devils a victory with a driving layup with 29 ticks left in the first overtime. Matthew Hall’s free throw pulled Central into a 50-50 tie.
DaShawn McMurry scored for Lebanon and Wilson Central’s Ben Palmer countered with a putback for a 52-52 tie midway through the second overtime before the Blue Devils held the ball until well inside 30 seconds. Williams almost got a steal, but the ball went out of bounds back to the Blue Devils. He didn’t miss on his second try.
“It was one of those great rivalry games as it’s always been,” said Wildcats cooch Troy Bond, a 1987 LHS graduate. “We did a great job of following through with our game plan. It was a dogfight from the get-go.
“It was a fun game. People got their money’s worth.”
“They were kind of sitting back,” Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said of the sequence where the Blue Devils held the ball. “When they didn’t pressure us, we were deciding what we were going to do offensively. They changed looks a lot. It seemed we were in a good situation.
“We had a play we were going to run when it got to 12-15. We were in the right positions, but when they didn’t come with the pressure, I didn’t do a good job of calling timeout.
“You got to give Central credit for making the play and credit Rosshirt for making the shot. You second-guess yourself. You put this one on me by not calling timeout.”
Central led most of the way, though never by much, using its tempo to slow Lebanon’s fullcourt attack, but at the same time attacking the basket when the opportunity presented itself. Rosshirt’s eight first-period points helped the Wildcats to a 10-7 lead.
“We wanted to control tempo and play to our strengths, and we did that for the most part,” Bond said. “We weren’t trying to stall the ball by any means. We were trying to get what we wanted.”
Eight second-period points by McMurry, who led Lebanon with 12, kept the Blue Devils within 21-19 by halftime.
“Early on, to make sure we had our matchups right, we pulled back on the press,” McDowell said. “We tweaked some things in the second half that gave them some problems and allowed us to come back.”
Central led 33-28 going into the fourth quarter before Mickell Taylor came off the Blue Devil bench to drop in three 3-pointers to key Lebanon’s rally.
Ben Palmer put in 14 points to pace Central while Rosshirt racked up 12. Hall had 11 in what Bond called his best game since coming back from a seven-game absence caused by a high ankle sprain. Backup point guard Deante Miller came in and scored 11, including six in the first overtime as the Wildcats opened a 49-45 lead. Williams was held top four points and A.J. Franklin a pair of free throws as the visitors improved to 15-5 for the season and a league-leading 7-2 in District 9-AAA.
Abston’s three got Lebanon back in the game before his layup put the Devils briefly in front. He finished with 11 points. Taylor, Eddie McDaniels [who held Williams in check on defense] and Corvell Huddleston each had nine and Kadarian Garnett two as the Blue Devils dropped to 13-6, 5-4 going into tonight’s makeup trip to Gallatin, which also played an overtime game last night, beating Beech 50-46.
Central will travel to Hendersonville on Monday night, also in a makeup game.
Ward leads MJCA past St. Andrew’s
MT. JULIET — Newman Ward's 23 points carried a strong effort for Mt. Juliet Christian as the Saints pulled away in the second half to beat visiting St. Andrew's-Sewanee, 60-51, Friday night.
Zack Jones added 17 points for the Saints (10-11), who held slim leads of 11-9 after one quarter and 27-25 at halftime. But MJCA outscored their guests 20-10 in the third period to open a double-digit lead and held on for the win.
Justus Willis added eight points while Wyatt Oberg and Alex Graves had four points apiece and Landon Boyd and Nathan Green had two each.
James Bensley had 13 points for St. Andrews.
MJCA will host The Webb School Monday night.
Balance key for Bears
PORTLAND — James Womack had 13 points to lead a balanced attack for Mt. Juliet Friday night. The Bears had four players score in double figured as they rolled to a 56-36 victory over host Portland.
Reagan Johnson added 12 points while Nolan Chowbay and John Mark Bell had 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Mt. Juliet (14-8, 7-3 in District 9-AAA).
The Bears took control of the game early, grabbing a 14-9 lead after one period and extending it to 30-16 by halftime. The margin grew to 48-26 by the end of the third period.
Caelum Utley led Portland with 13 points (3-17, 1-8).
Mt. Juliet will visit Beech on Tuesday night.
Watertown loses narrowly to Monterey
WATERTOWN — The Purple Tigers fell to visiting Monterey, 44-41, as in a game that was close the entire night.
Monterey opened a 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Watertown's defense shut down the visitors for much of the next two quarters. The Purple Tigers closed to within 26-24 by halftime and had the game tied at 32 going to the last quarter.
Ty Jobe and Dylan Speck had nine points apiece for Watertown (9-9) while Seth Price added eight. Hunter Warren, Brandon George and Zach Edwards had four points apiece and Ty Love had three points.
Brett Hastings had 16 points for Monterey (17-6).
Ezell knocks off Friendship
ANTIOCH — Andrew Wood had 14 points, but it wasn't enough as Friendship Christian lost 68-45 to Ezell-Harding in Nashville.
The Eagles outscored FCS (1-14) in every quarter, although the first half was close. FCS trailed only 20-14 after one period and 34-26 at the half. But a six-point third quarter saw Ezell extend the lead to double digits.
"We took the lead at one point, 21-20, but then they made a run," FCS coach Ben Johnson said. "Our kids gave a championship effort, but we just came up short."
Zach Blair and Hayden White both added seven points while Mackey Bentley, Gregory Elliott and Colton Gaines had four points apiece. Joseph McNamee had three points and Michael Hawks had two.
Al Batson's 19 points led Ezell-Harding (6-16). Batson was dealing with tragedy -- earlier on Friday, investigators believe carbon monoxide poisoning killed a his father, a carpet cleaner, while working inside a Hermitage home.
"It was good to see everybody come together and pray over him after the game," Johnson said. "That'a what it's all about."
FCS hosts King's Academy today and Donelson Christian on Monday. At halftime tonight, Friendship will recognize the school’s Wall of Fame athletes whose posters hang on the wall of the Sportsplex.
MCA falls on road
PORTLAND —McClain Christian’s boys lost a 56-47 decision to Christian Community on Friday night in Portland.
Jon Whitener had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead MCA (1-12). Eli Shouse had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Evan Tubb added seven points.
McClain trailed 21-16 after one period and 37-29 at halftime. It was 46-35 at the end of three quarters and although McClain got closer in the final period, it never could close the gap.
MCA will return to action Tuesday, playing at the Western Kentucky Trailblazers in Bowling Green.