HENDERSONVILLE — Mt. Juliet’s girls completed a wire-to-wire domination of District 9-AAA competition Tuesday night, but Beech made the final act a bit dicey for the Lady Bears as the host Lady Buccaneers fell 48-45 in the league championship game.
The Lady Bears’ normally dominant inside game was held in check, but the guards came through from outside to send Mt. Juliet to another district championship.
“It was definitely a nail-biter,” Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer said. “It could have gone either way.
“We didn’t play our best game, but we won and at this time of year, that’s the main thing.”
Beech bolted to an 11-4 lead before Mt. Juliet scored the last seven of the first quarter to tie the score. The Lady Bears led 24-21 at halftime and 36-32 going into the fourth as they improved to 25-1 and picked up a Region 5-AAA home game at 7 p.m. Friday against Clarksville.
Beech, coached by former Cumberland player Kari Maddox Douglas, dropped to 20-11 and will play host to West Creek. The winner will face the Lebanon-Rossview survivor next week at Rossview.
Tyia Waller threw in three 3-pointers on her way to 14 points to lead the Lady Bears while Ashley Roby also racked up three triples and finished with 12. Center Sally McCabe was held to nine points while forward Ronjanae DeGray scored six, guard Savannah Sanders five and forward Raeyana DeGray two.
“We missed some shots and they really packed it in,” Fryer said. “As the game progressed, we finally got into a groove.
“We rotated some different people. Waller made some of the key shots. She also pulled some rebounds and stuck them back in. McCabe hit some free throws down the stretch and played really good defense. She blocked some shots.”
Falon Baker was on fire for Beech, sinking seven triples on her way to 27 points. But no other Lady Buc cracked double figures.
“We held a lead, but we couldn’t extend it because Baker kept hitting shots from long range,” Fryer said. “At one point, she hit five threes in a row.”
Three-point dagger helps keep MJ boys from first title
HENDERSONVILLE — After battling back from a scoreless second quarter to take the lead, Mt. Juliet’s boys got a bad roll and a loose-ball dagger to the chest as Station Camp captured the District 9-AAA championship 47-42 at Beech on Tuesday night.
John Mark Bell’s three-pointer with about 2:30 left put Mt. Juliet in front by a point.
The Bears got a stop on the other end. But the rebound was knocked out of their hands and the ball rolled to Thomas Zazzaro, who knocked down a triple to put the Bison ahead to stay as Mt. Juliet’s district-championship drought continued.
But the Bears will take a 17-12 mark into Saturday’s 7 p.m. Region 5-AAA opener at Mt. Juliet against West Creek while Station Camp [23-8] will welcome Springfield. Wilson Central will have to travel to Henry County while Gallatin visits Kenwood. All Saturday winners will advance to the semifinals at Rossview next week.
Station Camp led 14-1 following the first quarter before pitching an 8-0 shutout in the second to go up 22-11 at halftime.
“They force you to shoot jump shots,” Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen said of the Bison defense. “We got some good shots, they just weren’t going down for us.
“We figured some things out and started attacking them with dribble handoff and getting dribble penetration. We started pressing them and turned them over a few times. That’s how we got back in it.”
The Bears battled to within 44-38 going into the fourth.
Kyle Anderton’s 14 points paced Station Camp while Bo Hodges had 11.
Reagan Johnson finished with 15 points to lead Mt. Juliet while James Womack notched nine. Bell and Nolan Chowbay each knocked down a pair of threes as they and Daniel Schroder scored six points apiece.
Purple Tigers take third place in 8-A, will play again at home Saturday
By Andy Reed
WATERTOWN — Watertown’s boys sent their 31-year-old home out in grand style with a 75-63 victory over Merrol Hyde in the District 8-A consolation contest Tuesday night.
Then the Purple Tigers found out it wasn’t their final game on West Main Street after all.
The Tigers led from start to finish, generally in the 10-point range, as they pulled even at 14-14 for the season.
Junior post Dylan Speck scored 24 points in the post. Senior guard Ty Jobe, one of the few big-time contributors from last year’s record-setting Tiger team which became the first to advance to the state tournament, sank 6 of 8 free throws on his way to 16 points. Freshman point guard Seth Price, who figures to inherit a mantle of leadership next year, also scored 16, sinking three 3-pointers along the way.
“We’ve had an up-and-down season,” Watertown coach Matt Bradshaw said. “When you graduate eight seniors, I don’t care what classification or what school you’re at, you’re going to go through some rebuilding of some sort. But these kids have persevered through the year. We’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on.
“Our offense did a great job of sharing the basketball better. Our shot distribution was a lot better than what it’s been, including in the games we’ve won.”
While Jobe and Price, who also happen to be the Tigers’ two quarterbacks, have been steady since Day 1 of the season, Speck has gotten more productive as the year has gone on.
“He’s really come on since after Christmas,” Bradshaw said of Speck. “We’ve really, and Dylan has really, put in a lot of time and effort and work into it to get better as a true five man. We spent a lot of time last year playing him at the four. He’s gotten a ton better.
“We did a better job tonight getting him the ball in position to score. He got 14 shots up tonight and he got to the free-throw line.”
Zach Edwards added two triples on his way to eight points while Hunter Warren had five, Brandon George three and Devin High a free throw.
Patrick Carr drove in a pair of threes as he scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lead Merrol Hyde. Braxton Lang had 13 of his 17 in the first half while Jacob Stinson stroked a couple of triples on his way to 15 as the Hawks slipped to 10-11.
“We got to clean up our defense with some of the things that happened tonight,” Bradshaw said. “The bad thing is we’d played good defense the last four ballgames. It’s there. It’s just cleaning up some of those things before Saturday night.”
Watertown will play host to Pickett County in the Region 4-A opener at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Purple Tigers were due to go on the road. But Pickett County, which needed a successful appeal to TSSAA to even play in the postseason following an incident at a game with York Institute [whose boys have been banned from this year’s tournament] isn’t allowed to host a tournament game the next three years, meaning the Bobcats will come to Watertown after losing to Clarkrange 55-47 in the 7-A final Tuesday night.
The Tigers could also play at home in the sectional if they can repeat as region champions. The region will be played at Livingston Academy following the first round.
Watertown’s girls will also play host to Pickett County at 7 p.m. Friday in the region opener.