- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Wildcats cool off hot Bears
Feb 19, 2013 4:00 pm
Central faces Station Camp for 9-AAA title
By Andy Reed
GALLATIN — Mt. Juliet's boys started Saturday's District 9-AAA semifinal playing like a team riding a seven-game winning streak.
But Wilson Central slowly climbed back into the game and by night's end, it was the Wildcats who had a 60-55 victory at Station Camp.
Thomas Sharpe sank three straight three-pointers to open a 9-0 Mt. Juliet lead. He finished the game with six triples and 20 points.
But the Wildcats caught and passed the Golden Bears when A.J. Franklin got the bounce on a three-pointer to put Central in front 24-22 3:13 before halftime. It was part of a 10-1 WCHS run which put the 'Cats up 26-22.
"We really wanted to pressure more," Wildcat coach Troy Bond said after his team's first win over Mt. Juliet in three tries this year. "The first two ballgames, we didn't do a very good job of that. One of our goals tonight was to really make it an uptempo game and really get after them.
"Them coming out and knocking down shots, it's hard to get in the press, it's hard to do anything when they're making shots like that. And we were cold. But then, we gathered our composure and our kids showed a lot of heart to stick in there. Considering the last two outcomes, we could have rolled over and said 'to heck with it'."
"[Sharpe] made three 3s to start the game, but it sort of set us up to maybe take some bad shots in the first quarter and we let them get back in it," said Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen, whose Bears had won nine of their previous 10 games. "We shot too many threes. We have to make some threes to be successful, but we didn't try to get the ball inside enough early and then they stretched their defense on us and we had a hard time with it the entire game."
The teams settled into a typical Central-Mt. Juliet slugfest with numerous ties and a couple of lead changes.
But Mt. Juliet's final lead was 48-47 on two Sharpe free throws with 2:39 to play.
Ben Palmer swung the lead back to Central with a layup at 2:18. Blake Huffman's driving layup was converted into a three-point play to put the Wildcats up by four and they sank 6 of 8 free throws the rest of the way to move into tonight's 8 p.m. championship game against host Station Camp, which scored at the buzzer to knock off top-seed Hendersonville 51-50 in Saturday's other semifinal.
"We gave 110 percent the whole game," Bond said after his Wildcats climbed to 21-8.
"We've hung our hat on getting stops and being good defensively," Allen said. "They did some things tonight that hurt us and we really didn't get the stops. We scored enough points to win. When we score 50 points, we've been pretty successful. Credit to what they were doing to us offensively."
The Bears will bring a 17-11 record into tonight's 6:30 p.m. consolation contest with the Commandos and go on the road for Saturday's 7 p.m. Region 5-AAA game while Central plays at home.
Jacob Williams led a balanced Central offense with 17 points while Huffman fired in 15 and Palmer 10. Franklin and Deante Miller each finished with five points and Jon Rosshirt and Matthew Hall four apiece.
Hunter Gilbert added 11 points from Mt. Juliet's backcourt while Nolan Chowbay chipped in a pair of threes on his way to eight. John Mark Bell and Reagan Johnson each finished with five, Daniel Schroder four and James Womack two. This was Schroder's second game back after missing the previous 10 contests with a broken finger.