GLADEVILLE — Late-arriving fans were shut out of Wilson Central's gym. But if they hurried home, they had a chance to see the Wildcats hustle out a 57-51 win over rival Mt. Juliet in front of an overflow crowd Friday night.
With the MyTV30 cameras rolling, the rivals went back and forth until Central enjoyed the final surge with an 11-0 run to take a 55-48 lead.
"It was a great atmosphere tonight for sure," Central coach Troy Bond said after his Wildcats finished the District 9-AAA schedule No. 1 at 12-2 and the regular season at 20-5. "Everybody got their money's worth out of that ballgame."
Central led early before Mt. Juliet rallied to go up 14-11 at first-quarter's end despite nine points from the Wildcats' Jacob Williams.
A 14-0 Central spurt put the Wildcats up 25-16 before Mt. Juliet reeled off the final six points of the half and eight overall to draw within 25-24.
The teams went back and forth with Mt. Juliet exiting the third quarter with a 38-33 lead.
"Nobody seized control of the game," Bond said. "It was a great game, hard-played. Mt. Juliet was good with the ball. We finally got some stops and transitioned the ball well and got some scoring off turnovers.
"We had to use our speed against their size and we did a pretty good job of that."
Wilson Central's final flurry was set up by its press with backup guard Deante Miller often the catalyst. He scored all eight of his points in the second half, including seven in the fourth quarter. His hustle to a loose ball in front of the scorer's table led to his go-ahead three-point play with 1:31 left.
"Deante Miller was good in transition tonight for us," Bond said.
But it was Williams who was spot on offensively for three of the four quarters. After a 15-point first-half and a cold third period, Williams finished his 27-point night with nine in the fourth as he and Miller led Central's perfect-10-of-10 from the free-throw line.
"[Williams] is just a big-time player," Bond said. "Big-time players show up and he did tonight."
Point guard Jon Rosshirt racked up 11 points, including a pair of threes. Ben Palmer also put in eight while Matthew Hall had two and A.J. Franklin a free throw. Preston Reed came in to spell Palmer and, though he didn't score, got some good hustle stats with at least three rebounds and a blocked shot.
Reagan Johnson led Mt. Juliet with 13 points while Nolan Chowbay added 11 and Daniel Schroder 10. John Mark Bell sank a pair of threes as he and James Womack each scored six, Zac Anderson an off-balanced three to break the late 11-0 run and Austin Brown two as the Golden Bears finished 15-11, 8-6.
While top-seeded Central will face Portland on Friday at Beech, the Bears fell to fourth and will have to face the host Buccaneers on their floor.
As good a show as the teams put on, they missed one by their student bodies at halftime as, with the music playing, Central's students, and then Mt. Juliet's, swarmed onto the playing floor and started dancing, staying on their side of the midcourt stripe, in a flash mob scene which often makes YouTube clips in airports and city streets.
The students, who often trash talk across the floor at each other, were having a blast on the floor before returning to the bleachers in time for the teams to return. But they left some debris which caused a slight delay to the start of the second half as WCHS staffers swept the floor.
The 2,300-seat gym was full to the point school officials and the fire marshal ordered the doors closed during the second quarter of the girls' game. WCHS athletic director Chip Bevis said that although paid attendance could be counted, there was no way to know how many people were in the building as players, coaches, officials, student dance teams, support personnel, cheerleaders, media and school staffers and family members were in the building free.
Blue Devils win
PORTLAND — Kadarian Garnett led the offense and the entire Lebanon boys team was stingy on defense in the District 9-AAA finale Friday night.
Garnett had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Blue Devils held host Portland to 33 points in a 53-33 victory.
Lebanon (14-10, 6-8) led 11-5 after one period and 24-13 at the half, then extended its margin to 39-23 by the end of the third quarter. It was enough to snap a five-game losing streak and give them a first-round matchup in the district tournament against Gallatin next Friday at Beech.
DaShawn McMurry had eight points while Eddie McDaniels and Drake Allen each added six, Paul Tribble had five, KeShawn Abston and Dawson Hamilton had three apiece and Tay Jackson had two.
McDaniels also had six assists for the Blue Devils, who will visit White County on Monday.
Purple Tigers close strong at Trousdale
HARTSVILLE — Watertown's boys got 20 points from Dylan Speck and 14 from Seth Price as the Purple Tigers pulled away in the second half to end their regular season with a 63-38 win at Trousdale County.
The Purple Tigers led only 25-19 at the half, but built the margin to 43-29 by the end of the third period and went on to get the victory.
"In the first half, we missed some point-blank shots, but we did a better job of scoring around the rim in the second half," Watertown coach Matt Bradshaw said. "We also wanted to get back to playing good defense."
Ty Jobe added six points while Devin High added five, Cameron Jennings and Colin Jennings had four apiece, Hunter Warren had three and Kyle Oakley had two.
Watertown (12-13, 7-3) is the No. 3 seed and will play Trousdale County again on Thursday in the first round of the district tournament on Thursday at WHS.
McClain falls late
McClain Christian's boys held an eight-point lead at the end of three periods but couldn't hold on against visiting Christian Community on Friday night, falling 55-50 at Immanuel Baptist Church.
The Bulldogs (1-17) held a 20-18 at halftime and led 34-26 going to the fourth quarter before the Colts exploded for 29 points in the final period.
Eli Shouse led McClain with 16 points while Will Norton had 15 points and eight rebounds. John Whitener had 11 rebounds to go with four points.
McClain will visit South Haven Baptist on Tuesday in Springfield.